Exploring the Privacy Trade-Offs and Industry Impacts of DNS Over HTTPS
20 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2020 Last revised: 10 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 15, 2020
The arrival of DNS over HTTPS (DoH), which adds confidentiality to DNS queries, has created a major stir in the Internet community. Policy debate has generally taken the form of debates about its technical functionality, centralization, and potential privacy benefits. But most policy questions are really about the impact of new technical standards on the industrial organization of Internet services. The key to policy responses, in our view, hinges on understanding how the technical functioning of DoH affects the market for DNS and related Internet services. In this paper, we analyze the market for DNS query services and data, and explain how it relates to broader struggles over market power and competition in the Internet-based information services economy. We find an overall market greater than $200 billion, with several identifiable sectors and competitors that users and enterprises interact with to shape the supply and demand for DNS query data. Our work highlights how the seemingly technical and obscure DoH controversy is relevant to broader issues in platform regulation, privacy/data protection law and regulation, cybersecurity and content regulation.
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