Cloudflare and Apple have together developed a new privacy-friendly Internet protocol. This new development will help deal with one of the biggest privacy issues that many people are not even aware of.
Privacy breach is something that almost every big tech giant has been accused of now and then. All these big companies are doing something to win back the trust of their customers.
What Cloudflare and Apple have developed is an Internet protocol which will make it difficult for Internet providers to track the websites you visit. They call this Oblivious DNS-over-HTTPS, or in short, ODoH.
Before you know more about this, you must understand how the Internet works and what role DNS plays.
Understanding DNS and Internet
Starting with DNS, or, Domain Name System first which is the central part of the Internet. A DNS makes it possible for humans and the Internet to communicate.
To access information, we need a domain name, like xyz.com But our web browser needs an Internet Protocol or IP address.
Here comes the work of DNS which translates the domain names into IP addresses so that web browsers can access information from the Internet.
It’s like a phonebook which matches names with numbers without us humans having to remember those numbers.
But here’s the catch – this process is not encrypted. This means your DNS resolver, who is most possibly your Internet service provider, knows what sites you’ve visited.
Now let’s move on and know more about this privacy-friendly Internet Protocol that Cloudflare and Apple have developed.
ODoH from Cloudflare and Apple
DNS over HTTPS or DoH is a recent development that deals with the issue non-encryption. A DoH adds encryption to the DNS queries, thereby not only protecting your privacy but also making sure that you don’t end up on any malicious websites.
Now Cloudflare and Apple’s ODoH, or Oblivious DNS over HTTPS Internet Protocol, is a step ahead than the old DoH. ODoH prevents the DNS resolver from knowing which websites you visited by decoupling DNS queries from the Internet user.
They achieve this by introducing a proxy server in the whole interaction. ODoH will basically wrap the DNS query in a layer of encryption and pass it through this proxy server.
The proxy server here can’t see what’s inside since the query is wrapped in encryption. Nevertheless, it does act as a shield and prevents the DNS resolver from seeing who sent the query.
Hear it from Cloudflare’s research head
Cloudflare’s head of research, Nick Sullivan explains here how ODoH works. He says, “What ODoH is meant to do is separate the information about who is making the query and what the query is.”
ODoH will make sure that DNS resolver will only know the website in the request, not the identity of the Internet user. Identity of the Internet user will only be known to the proxy server.
About its effect on the surfing experience, Sullivan says that there will be no significant change in browsing speed.
One of the main objectives of ODoH is making sure that the same entity doesn’t control both the proxy and the DNS resolver. Sullivan explains that if the proxy and DNS resolver “collude”, then the “separation of knowledge is broken”.
Tech giants and user privacy concerns
Cloudflare and Apple’s collaboration in developing a privacy friendly Internet Protocol is nothing new and totally out of the box. Recently, many big tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have taken steps to ensure user privacy.
Privacy breach has caused an outcry among consumers in recent times and has affected the brand image of many tech giants.
2019 became the year when big tech giants tried to approach users’ privacy concerns, but they weren’t really successful.
Although the efforts are going on, it seems like it might take a long time before they fully gain the trust of their consumers.
While they may, or may not make some progress, make sure you follow all the Internet etiquettes and surf safe.
Until next time!