Enhancing Security and Privacy of Free Basics

Internet infrastructure in many parts of the world is not set up for security. Networks are more constrained, devices are generally older, and modern security protocols sometimes aren’t supported at all. While we’re coming up with solutions to bring more people online, we also need to think about how to connect them securely.

With Free Basics, Internet.org is making it safer for people to connect to the websites and services they care about by encrypting information wherever possible. For example, when you use the Free Basics Android app, the traffic is encrypted end-to-end to protect your privacy unless a developer chooses to only support HTTP for their service.

Similarly, when you access the Free Basics website in a mobile browser, we use a “dual certificate” security model. The first certificate is used for traffic encrypted between your device and our servers in both directions. For services offered through Free Basics that support HTTPS, a second certificate will be used for traffic encrypted between our servers and the developer’s. We care about the security of your information, so even if the service you’re accessing only runs over HTTP, where possible we are going to encrypt that information between our servers and any device that supports HTTPS. This change provides meaningfully more security than is available today, particularly for people who may not fully trust their internet connection.

When you use the Free Basics mobile website, information is temporarily decrypted on our secure servers to ensure proper functionality of the services you use and to help you avoid any unexpected charges. We preserve the privacy of that information while it’s decrypted by only storing the domain name of the service you visit and the amount of data being used—the same information that would be visible using end-to-end encryption—as well as cookies that are stored in an encrypted and unreadable format.

We believe these upgrades to our security and privacy practices for Free Basics make Internet.org safer and a better choice for people coming online. You can read our Privacy on Free Basics page for more.

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