The percentage of websites protected with HTTPS secure encryption --indicated by the lock icon in the address bar of most browsers--has jumped from just over 40% in 2016 to 80% today.

That's largely due to the efforts of Let's Encrypt, a nonprofit certificate authority co-founded in 2013 by J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan professor of computer science and engineering.

They hope it serves as a model for streamlining other aspects of the internet infrastructure we all rely on every day.

It provides integrity by preventing malicious networks from changing the data.

Then the certificate authority issues the site a digitally signed certificate, which works like a driver's license to let browsers confirm its identity.

Edward Snowden showed us that governments were surveilling traffic on a global scale.

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