SAN FRANCISCO — On the morning of Jan. 1, 2016, anyone with a cell phone more than five years old will be unable to access the encrypted web — which includes sites likeFacebook, Google, and Twitter — according to a new plan to upgrade the way those sites are verified.
It might not be a big deal in New York or San Francisco, where a 5-year-old phone is treated as an antique, but in some parts of the developing world, up to 7% of internet users could find themselves suddenly cut off from the world’s most popular sites, according to research recently published by Facebook and CloudFlare.
A full country list, showing the percentage of people who will be cut off, is on CloudFlare’s blog, but some of the most affected countries will be Yemen (5.25% of browsers), Egypt (4.8%), and China, with over 6% of the country no longer being able to safely access encrypted sites. It might not seem like a lot, but Prince says over 37 million people could be affected.
These are some of the numbers published by CloudFlare. According to cybersecurity experts, Facebook’s numbers of estimated people affected are even higher.