HTTP Versus HTTPS

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The difference between the two web protocols HTTP and HTTPS became much clearer to me this past week because it got personal.

In 2014, Google recommended that sites switch to HTTPS. The “S” stands for secure. The sites that switched over to HTTPS were mostly e-commerce sites. Google said HTTPS sites would get a bit of a rankings bump, or you could say that HTTP sites would get punished.

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol which is all about the transfer of data from a web server to a browser. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

What’s wrong with the old HTTP?¬† Information passing from server to browser is not encrypted. That means it could be stolen. HTTPS protocols use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to create a secure encrypted connection.

When you found this site you may have used the URL https://ronkowitz.wordpress.com which is where the server that hosts the site is located. But you could also have clicked or followed a link to https://ronkowitzllc.com which is a domain that WordPress gave me with my account and it redirects to the true server location. You could also find this site by putting in the URL http://ronkowitz.com. But notice that that last address doesn’t have the magic “S.” So, if you try that URL, when it jumps to the main site you will get a warning (or even be blocked) that it is not secure.

All three domains worked fine a few weeks ago, but browsers like Google’s Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have tightened the screws.

To add an SSL to the “insecure” site (and I have other domains with the same issue) will cost additional money. Security costs and we no longer have a choice.

 

When That App Recognizes Your Face

When The Washington Post ran a headline saying that a Google app that matches your face to artwork is wildly popular – and that it is also raising privacy concerns – that’s not a good thing for branding.

The Google Art & Culture app is supposed to match selfies against celebrated portraits pulled from more than 1,200 museums in more than 70 countries.

The app appeared last December and got a lot of shares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the holidays.

The suspicions grew out of concern about turning over your facial recognition data to Google. Of course, there were also those said  that Google and others already have hat data via the photos of you tagged online.

Google says that the selfies are not being used to train machine learning programs. They are not going into a database of faces.

But our current climate of privacy concerns has a lot of people questioning those kinds of promises – though for hose who used the app, perhaps a bit too late.

It’s not just Google. Also in December, Facebook began flagging users that appeared on the social network without being tagged in order to “enhance users’ privacy and control.” Apple’s Face ID, introduced last fall in the iPhone X was controversial for using a person’s face to unlock the device and enable applications, including mobile payments.