The US House Judiciary Committee is investigating Google’s plan to implement a new internet protocol that could give the company a competitive advantage, reports The Wall Street Journal. The new internet protocol will make it difficult for other technology companies to access consumer data. The investigators have also asked that whether the data collected or processed using the new protocol will be used by Google for any commercial purposes.
How does the new protocol work? The new protocol, DNS-over-HTTPS, modernises the domain name system or DNS. This software takes a user’s electronic request for a website and provides a series of internet protocol address numbers used by computers.
Testing and rollout: Google plans to begin testing DNS-over-HTTPS — that aims to stop hackers to target websites — with Chrome users next month. It will first roll-out the feature to 1% of its user base.
ISPs, wireless carriers raise concerns: Giving Google an unfair advantage in user data is not the only concern being raised by Internet service providers. They also contend that the new protocol could harm security by bypassing parental controls and filters that have been developed under the current protocol system. They have urged the lawmakers to call on Google not to impose the new standard as a default standard in Chrome and Android.
EFF says it could diminish decentralised nature of internet: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights watchdog group said it was very excited by the new standard’s potential to improve internet privacy. But it’s worried that the new standard could diminish the decentralised nature of the internet.
Mozilla’s Firefox plans for a small-scale rollout of the new protocol
Like Google, Mozilla’s Firefox is planning a small-scale roll-out of the protocol, which is expected to start in the coming weeks. Firefox is planning to link most of the US internet users to the new standards, by the year’s end. Mozilla sees the antitrust concerns raised about Google as “fundamentally misleading,”, per WSJ.
Google, along with Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, are currently embroiled in an antitrust investigation over anti-competitive practices in the online market.