Google DNS encryption could change the net

DNS encryption

You might call it the ‘war of the browsers.’

Tech media is abuzz today about Google’s plans to use domain name system  (DNS) encryption to lock down data moving through its Chrome browser.

As reported in at CNET, professionals are calling the standard “DNS over HTTPS,” and Google suggests it’s going to cut down on certain kinds of practices like website spoofing.

Regulators, though, are worried about the extension of these practices by a company that fairly dominates Internet search, and is quickly taking over ground with Chrome in terms of user browsing.

The idea is that since DNS walls off user data from outside observation, ISPs are calling foul, saying they won’t have access to web tracking data that they need.

Another interesting wrinkle is Mozilla’s move toward a similar service on their browser, which starts to show the lines of demarcation – if every browser starts to encrypt user data this way, it’s going to come down to what end users decide to access the web on.

Meanwhile, lawmakers want some assurance that the DNS encryption isn’t just a power play by Google, where the resulting information is going to be used for competitive advantage.

House investigators are worried this would give the internet giant an unfair advantage by denying access to users’ data,” writes John Fingas at Engadget. “The House sent a letter on September 13th asking if Google would use data handled through the process for commercial purposes. Google has maintained that its Chrome tweaks would give users control over who shares their info, and that it won’t force people to switch to encrypted DNS.”

All of this news comes at a time when regulators are in keenly focused on antitrust issues with nearly all of the big five tech stocks in what’s known as the FAANG group – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Facebook is facing its own problems, partially due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other Russian bot activity, while Apple critics are looking at that company’s device dominance. Amazon, meanwhile, draws a lot of fire from politicians and journalists and citizens for its amazing conglomeration of wealth and power on an individual retail platform.

Keep an eye on Google’s moves to understand what’s driving controversy in the digital world.