Internet

Cloudflare and Apple Collaborate to Develop Private Internet Protocol

By Bill Toulas / December 9, 2020

Apple has partnered with Cloudflare to develop a new, privacy-focused internet protocol. The tech was named “Oblivious DNS-over-HTTPS” (ODoH), and it’s essentially the same thing that Mozilla has been pushing for through Firefox.

DNS over HTTPS is meant to help users protect against ISP-level tracking, as the service provider is no longer able to figure out what their customers are doing online, which websites they visit, etc. It is basically a system that encrypts the DNS queries, so they are no longer usable for profiling an internet user.

This approach comes with the typical criticism of hiding cyber-criminals from the law authorities. Still, it’s clear that the situation has reached the point of no return despite the opposing arguments. ISPs have abused their position for many years now. They have been collecting and selling user browsing data to advertisers, so it has little or even nothing to do with hiding criminal activity. It’s about the user privacy that never was.

Being a company that wants to keep user privacy at the epicenter of its marketing simulacrum, Apple is making this move to strengthen its stance and portfolio. We expect that the Safari team will now work towards that goal, as supporting ODoH will inevitably take some time. As for Cloudflare, the internet giant already supports DNS-over-HTTPS requests through the “1.1.1.1” service and the WARP update that came out last year.

Practically, nothing of what Apple and Cloudflare are doing right now is new or ground-breaking, but bringing the tech to the masses is. That said, the new protocol won’t be without its flaws or potential problems. Separating the DNS query and the origin is good for privacy but introduces proxy requirements and could bring in collusion issues. Also, handling parental controls, enterprise firewalls, and ISP blocks remains a complex matter.

ODoH will also have to pass through a certification process from the Internet Engineering Task Force, so whether it will be available in the following months, or by 2022, or even later, remains unknown at this moment. If you want to keep your internet browsing private until then, and even after that tech is made available, just use a VPN tool.



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