Wired

A Controversial Plan to Encrypt More of the Internet

The road to routing all Domain Name System lookups through HTTPS is pocked with disagreements over just how much it will help.

The security community generally agrees on the importance of encrypting private data: Add a passcode to your smartphone. Use a secure messaging app like Signal. Adopt HTTPS web encryption. But a new movement to encrypt a fundamental internet mechanism, promoted by browser heavyweights like Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox, has sparked a heated controversy.

The changes center around the Domain Name System, a decentralized directory that acts essentially as the internet’s address book. When you send data to or request it from a server, a DNS lookup ensures that it goes to and comes from the right place. Google and Mozilla plan to encrypt those interactions sometime this year. Which sounds straightforward enough—but not everyone is convinced that the shift solves more problems than it potentially creates…

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