As reported by Vice, Internet company Comcast urges US lawmakers to go against Google's plans to encrypt DNS (domain name system) data on Chrome. DNS data includes browsing history or the websites users visit and other details about it. This means that if the encryption is implemented, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast can no longer have access to users' browsing data. This encryption would make it hard for ISPs to take advantage of DNS data for certain business activities like targeted marketing and advertising. Also, this encryption can block the censorship being implemented by authoritarian governments and institutions.
The Comcast stand on encryption was revealed through a leaked presentation that pushes one idea: Google centralizes DNS to create a monopoly over data and security. The presentation implies that Google will essentially alter the decentralized nature of the Internet's architecture, putting power on Google alone. But experts interviewed on a report published on Vice say that Comcast's statements are inaccurate because Google is not forcing its users to use Google's DNS service.
"Congress should demand that Google pause and answer key questions," a part of the presentation states. "Why is Google in such a rush?"
Mozilla, the company behind web browser Firefox, is also planning to implement this kind of encryption. "We are trying to essentially shift the power to collect and monetize peoples' data away from ISPs and providing users with control and a set of default protections," says Marshall Erwin, senior director of trust and safety at Mozilla.
Ellen Canale, corporate communications director at Mozilla, says that the Comcast deck is a part of the aggressive movements ISPs undertake to protect its interests on data tracking opportunities and its benefits.
For Comcast's side, its corporate communications published a post detailing how the company deals with data privacy. The post, written by Christin Mcmeley, Chief Privacy Officer at Comcast, states that the company does not track the websites its customers visit or the apps used while connected to Comcast's broadband. Because the data is not tracked, the company says that they are not building user-profiles and that they have never sold information to anyone. They also say that the company deletes DNS queries they have every 24 hours.
Google has announced that it will soon start implementing DNS over HTTPS, or DoH, as part of the company's commitment to "making the web safer to use." This process means that it would be a lot harder for anyone to intercept with browsing data, whether it is an ISP, a hacker that uses the same WiFi network, or governments and institutions that use wiretapping.
Other organizations have also expressed their stand on the issue. Through a letter, some ISP-related trade groups urge US lawmakers to call upon Google and stand against the encryption implementation. In response to this, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other organizations also sent a letter to Congress urging them to support the new DoH protocol or DNS encryption for a more secure Internet.