tl;dr - America’s ISP’s are trying to get Congress to let them continue to spy on your Internet activity so that Google can’t be the only one to spy on you.

In a surprising turn of events, the House Judiciary Committee is looking into Google’s plans to implement the very important DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) into the Google Chrome browser, which Firefox had done earlier. The interest seems to be part of an antitrust investigation, which was prompted by America’s cartel of monopolistic consumer Internet providers.

From the Engadget article:

Internet service providers are worried that they may be shut out of the data and won’t know as much about their customers’ traffic patterns. This could “foreclose competition in advertising and other industries,” an alliance of ISPs told Congress in a September 19th letter.

The ISP’s are concerned that Google will be spying on your online behavior instead of them. Interestingly, Firefox partnered up with CloudFlare as their default DoH provider for Firefox, meanwhile Google is pursing “same-provider DNS-over-HTTPS”, which translates to: if your ISP provides secure DNS, Chrome will continue to use your ISP’s DNS, meaning your ISP will continue having its ability to spy on you. As far as I’m able to tell, including my own home ISP, none of the big ISPs have spent the resources to provide secure domain name services. Doing that would resolve the issue that our elected officials are now spending their time on.

Why this is important is that the domain name service is used whenever your computer connects to, nearly, anything on the Internet. And whenever a domain name lookup occurs, that can be correlated with your Internet connection. Personally, I would want this out of a web browser (or better the entire operating system): DoH by default and the ability to easily configure whatever server you would like. I do not use DNS from either my ISP or Google, and occasionally change it to another privacy respecting DNS provider. Currently, Firefox has the ability to change the DoH setting and I presume that Google Chrome will too. I do have a bit of an issue with Firefox’s default to CloudFlare instead of offering up a list to the end user or maybe using a round-robin approach to automatically and randomly choosing providers, which would offer up additional privacy by not providing a complete data set to any one service and also providing redundancy in service to the end user. Chrome’s will, no doubt, default to Google’s DoH DNS servers.