Google faced scrutiny from US antitrust investigators over concerns its planned adoption of a new internet protocol could give it an unfair advantage in accessing consumer data, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee penned a letter on 13 September to Google seeking information about the move, including whether the protocol will be used for commercial reasons. Sources told WSJ the plan has also drawn the attention of the Department of Justice, which received complaints about the change.
The protocol in question would encrypt requests sent to a key internet service known as the domain name system (DNS), which translates a website’s text domain name into a numeric IP address.
Google said the shift to an encrypted standard will boost internet security and user privacy, making it harder for hackers to snoop on websites and steal user information. It initially plans to rollout the new protocol to one per cent of users on its Chrome browser.
Fellow internet browser developer Mozilla recently announced it will also move users to a new encrypted DNS standard.
However, rivals expressed concern they will lose access to user data, and that Google could push Chrome browser users to switch to Google services that support the protocol.
In a letter to politicians on 19 September, a group of ISPs argued that since a majority of global internet traffic flows through Chrome or Google’s Android operating system “Google would acquire greater control over user data across networks and devices around the world” and “could become the overwhelmingly predominant DNS lookup provider”.
The tech giant denied the latter, noting in an emailed statement to WSJ it has “no plans to centralise or change people’s DNS providers to Google by default. Any claim that we are trying to become the centralised encrypted DNS provider is inaccurate”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back