Congressional Investigators Probe Google's Plan To Add DNS Encryption To Chrome
This entry was posted on September 30, 2019.
A report that surfaced over the weekend claims the House Judiciary Committee is investigating Google's plan to add DNS over TLS to the Chrome browser. DNS is the service that takes an easier to remember and type a domain name, such as Google.com, and translates that into a site's physical IP addresses. TLS, in turn, refers to transportation layer security.
DNS information is currently mostly unencrypted, and this allows service providers to see which websites a user visits and then monetize those traffic records. Google is reportedly considering integrating TLS into DNS in Chrome. There are some upsides to using DNS over TLS as it would help to protect Chrome users from spoofing attacks or unauthorized snooping into web traffic.
However, the downside is that the change by Google would prevent service providers that don't support the new standard from observing user behavior when gathering data. Opponents to Google's plan have also pointed out that the company currently owns 64% of the global browser market and operates its own DNS service. Opponents note that Google could flip a switch and transfer Chrome users away from their service provider managed DNS to its Google Public DNS service.
The opponents claim that would give Google an unfair advantage over user behavior data that is used for advertising purposes. House committee investigators sent Google a letter on September 13 that asked why it was promoting DNS over TLS and if any of the data it collects or processes will be used for profit. Google has denied that it has any plans to become "the centralized DNS provider" and that any claim it had that intention was inaccurate.
In the same vein, Google is currently the target of a DOJ antitrust probe.