Mozilla is moving ahead with its controversial DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) feature that has been lobbied against by many across both the United States and the United Kingdom. DoH creates an additional layer of encryption to your internet traffic, making it more difficult for ISPs to snoop and gather information on your browsing data.
When you put a web address into your browser, the browser queries a dedicated server to process the human-readable domain name into an IP address to find where that website is located. This process, called DNS Lookup, is the first step that a browser takes to load the website you are trying to visit. However, this process is not encrypted, making it easy for internet carriers to access this information and track the websites that you have visited.
DoH developed by Mozilla and Cloudflare, puts an end to that by masking the entire DNS Lookup process and encrypting all the information that is exchanged between the browser and server. By encrypting this, ISPs are not able to monitor your usage.
Mozilla will roll out a DoH switch to all of users in the upcoming weeks. It will be enabled by default for users in the United States. For other regions, users will have to manually go into their settings and turn this feature on.
Although this may seem like a good thing, DoH has gotten a lot of pushback from ISP groups and even some governments. This pushback has been especially apparent in the United Kingdom where Mozilla was branded an “internet villain” by an association of ISPs along with child advocacy groups claim that DoH will cause issues with the country’s nationwide firewall system that is designed to limit access to child abuse and copyright infringement domains. This pushback has resulted in Mozilla abandoning its plan to enable DoH by default in the United Kingdom. In addition, Firefox will not enable DoH if parental controls and enterprise configurations are detected.
Although this may seem like a huge step in helping to protect user data, some privacy experts argue that DoH will have very little impact on ISPs data collection practices because of the numerous other points where user privacy can be compromised.
Whether or not DoH does make an impact on ISPs ability to collect data, it has been embraced by many as a step in the right direction.
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