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Google facing privacy probe on use of HTTPS in Chrome

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Congressional antitrust investigators have raised concerns over Google's plans to use a new internet protocol which they believe could give the search giant an unfair competitive advantage over its rivals.

Earlier this month, investigators from the House Judiciary Committee sent the company a letter requesting for information about its “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol according to the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab).

The new internet protocol, known as DNS-over-HTTPS, will help improve both internet privacy and security by encrypting traffic which will make it more difficult for hackers to spoof websites. However, congressional investigators are concerned that Google will use data collected through the new protocol for its own commercial gain.

Google plans to have users of its Chrome browser begin testing DNS-over-HTTPS next month.

DNS-over-HTTPS

Protecting users' privacy online has become increasingly important but lawmakers as well as ISPs are worried the new standard could alter internet competition.

Once DNS-over-HTTPS becomes widely adopted, cable and wireless companies will be cut off from the valuable DNS data of their users while Google will gain an unfair advantage in user data. A company spokesperson tried to assuage concerns surrounding its new protocol, saying:

"Google has no plans to centralize or change people's DNS providers to Google by default. Any claim that we are trying to become the centralized encrypted DNS provider is inaccurate."  

Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are currently conducting an antitrust investigation into Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook to determine whether US tech giants are engaging in anti-competitive conduct.

The development of DNS-over-HTTPS is just another way that Google is working to make the internet a safer place for everyone but lawmakers clearly disagree and we'll find out more once their antitrust investigation into the company is complete.

  • Also check out our complete list of the best VPN providers

Via CNET (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.