The Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group was formed in the fall of 2014 to help library technologists improve how well our tools protect patron privacy. As the first in a series of posts on technical matters concerning patron privacy, please enjoy this guest post by Alison Macrina.
When using the web for activities like banking or shopping, you’ve likely seen a small lock symbol appear at the beginning of the URL and noticed the “HTTP” in the site’s address switch to “HTTPS”. You might even know that the “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure”, and that all of this means that the website you’ve accessed is using the TLS/SSL protocol. But what you might not know is that TLS/SSL is one of the most important yet most underutilized internet protocols, and that all websites, not just those transmitting “sensitive” information, should be using HTTPS by default.