Google faces anti-trust probe over new Internet protocol

Representatives in the US Congress are worried about Google’s intention to implement a new Internet Protocol that could possibly give them an unfair competitive advantage in Internet advertising, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Google plans to test its DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol on the Chrome browser in October.

The standard promotes improved Internet privacy through the encryption of user traffic, which impedes the spoofing of websites by hackers.

However, according to the WSJ, the plans have ruffled feathers at Internet service providers, who claim the changes would mean Google could “acquire greater control over user data” which may “inhibit competitors and possibly foreclose competition in advertising and other industries”.

This is because the default unencrypted state of DNS also allows Internet service providers to monitor Internet traffic and view which web sites their customers visit.

This data can then be used for targeted advertising, making the information a valuable commodity in current ISP business models.

Implementing DoH within the widely used Chrome would effectively cut off ISPs from their ability to monetize their users’ Internet usage on the browser.

Chrome will not be the first browser to support the feature. Mozilla’s Firefox has already rolled out the feature to some users in the United States.

Google will at first roll out the feature to 1% of its user base.

Google, along with Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, are currently embroiled in an antitrust investigation over apparent anti-competitive practices in the online market.

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Google faces anti-trust probe over new Internet protocol