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US Senate secures its web pages

All Senate pages now use encryption by default. The House is still working on it.

The US Senate has embraced HTTPS.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

Anyone now visiting a US senator's website will see something new: a little green lock in the browser's address bar.

Last week, the Senate quietly began serving its entire domain, including each of the 100 senators' websites, over an encrypted HTTPS channel by default.

HTTPS isn't just reserved for banks and login pages anymore and hasn't been for a long time. It's now seen as a measure for sites taking their own security and the privacy of their visitors seriously. The government has been on its own encryption binge for the past few years, trying to secure every page on every domain it has to ensure a standard level of security.

The logic is simple enough: Serving up each page through a secure and private connection ensures that every Senate page hasn't been intercepted or impersonated (which is easy to do) and modified by hackers -- or even intelligence agencies. It also protects the web address past the domain, in most cases preventing internet providers from knowing which individual pages a person has visited.

In pushing ahead with its HTTPS project, the Senate leapfrogged the House. Every House lawmaker's website supports HTTPS, but only a little over half support HTTPS by default.

This story originally posted as "Good news! The entire Senate just embraced web encryption" on ZDNet.