Google starts encrypting searches in China
Google will encrypt users' searches to protect against hackers and government surveillance, starting in China.REUTERS

Google is upping its efforts to improve security in the wake of last year's widespread government surveillance revelations by adding encryption to its search engine.

Chinese users are already benefitting from the privacy technology, which is expected to roll out globally in the near future.

The security measures will mean that searching for terms in China like "Dalai Lama" and "Tiananmen Square" will no longer attract the attention of the strict government censors monitoring the internet through the country's infamous Great Firewall.

A recent report from the Washington Post revealed that Google will in future encrypt all searches by default, meaning intelligence agencies like the US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) will be met with indecipherable code when monitoring the search engine.

"The revelations of this past summer underscored our need to strengthen our networks," Google spokesperson Nikki Christoff told the Post. "Among the many improvements we've made in recent months is to encrypt Google Search by default around the world.

"This builds on our work over the past few years to increase the number of our services that are encrypted by default and encourage the industry to adopt stronger security standards."

Google has previously denied disclosing its data to the US government through a back door into its systems, stating: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data".

Last December Google joined seven other leading tech companies to demand widespread reforms to government surveillance. In an open letter to Washington, the Reform Government Surveillance coalition criticised the practices of intelligence agencies around the world.

"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens," the letter read. "(But) the balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual. It's time for a change."