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White House pushing federal agencies to adopt HTTPS encryption

About one-third of all federal websites offer HTTPS, but the White House said that's not enough.

(Image: stock photo)

The White House has mandated all federal websites to adopt HTTPS encryption by the end of 2016.

On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued an order that all publicly accessible federal websites and web services must be provided with encryption.

US chief information officer Tony Scott said in a blog post that the actions will "deliver that same protection to users of Federal websites and services" that many private-sector companies already offer.

The aim is to protect data flowing between a user's computer and the federal agency's website better.

"With this new requirement, the federal web community seeks to drive faster internet-wide adoption of HTTPS and promote better privacy standards for the entire browsing public," Scott said.

The move is interesting, however. As the White House pushes for better encryption across the board for its federal websites, the government is also pushing for adding backdoors in existing encryption standards to make surveillance easier.

An amendment offered by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY, 4th), however, aims to prevent federal agencies from working together to weaken common standards, following news that the National Security Agency had worked to have an backdoor-included encryption standard approved federally.