By Vittorio Bertola, Head of Policy & Innovation at Open-Xchange
In the last few months, we have seen a lot of community discussion around the latest development in the internet’s naming system, a new protocol called DNS-over-HTTPS.
The DNS—the mechanism through which you can actually reach any online service or website through the use of a name or a URL without knowing its IP address—is a fundamental element of the internet, and also one of its biggest points of management and control. DNS-over-HTTPS introduces significant changes in the way this mechanism works. The long term effects of this new protocol could deeply affect the future of the entire internet, contributing to its ongoing centralization into the hands of a few big over-the-top players. Concerns include depriving users, network administrators and local internet communities of choice and control, and supplying new amounts of personal information to the global data tracking, hoarding and monetization infrastructure.
This is why we have prepared a public policy briefing that collects and explains all the concerns raised by many parts of the community. We encourage you to read the short executive summary (section 2) to get the broader picture, and then refer to the rest of the document (sections 4 and 5) to get the details. The document is written for non-technical people as well; section 3 provides a quick and easy explanation of how the DNS works and why it is so fundamentally important.
We think a deeper discussion is necessary before this protocol is deployed on a mass scale, involving not only the engineers that designed it and the web companies that promote it, but also the entire DNS and security community, ISPs, governments, and internet users in general. Thus, we encourage you to read the document and spread awareness about what is happening to the DNS, and we welcome comments and questions by email. Please contact us if you share our concerns.