This New Web Tool Can Massively Limit Government Snooping on Your Android Device
You don’t have to be paranoid to be concerned with privacy these days. Thankfully, digital civil-rights organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been following the NSA spying saga pretty closely — and it’s just issued a new tool to make your smartphone a bit more secure. Those of you with Android phones, at least.
First, some background: HTTPS Everywhere is an ongoing project from the EFF and online anonymity provider Tor that lets people take control of their own data encryption. Essentially the service extends browser-based coverage of the HTTPS secure protocol, so when you’re surfing, sending emails and IMs, that information can’t be collected by government agencies, networks or other shady types.
The concern for such privacy only increases as we utilize open WiFi networks. Until now, however, HTTPS Everywhere hasn’t quite lived up to its name, offering up such security only through the desktop version of Firefox. This week, however, the EFF is taking a step toward delivering on its “everywhere” promise. The service has just been extended to the Android version of Firefox, bringing that privacy to your smartphone or tablet.
You can download the plug-in directly from the EFF. Once installed, you’ll see a lock icon in Firefox’s address field. You can click that icon, should you want to shut off the auto-encryption. As the EFF points out, however, the service is good only for sites that actually support HTTPS in the first place. Thankfully, many prominent services, like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and, yes, Yahoo, already do.
The other big downside: You can’t get the app for iOS. And it will likely be awhile until that changes — if, in fact, it ever does. Since Apple won’t let Firefox into its ecosystem, there’s not a lot that organizations like the EFF can do. If you’re looking to do some secure browsing on your iPhone, however, you can always give this Tor-based app a look.
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