Privacy SOS

Cloudflare says its new DNS will make it harder for ISPs to snoop on your data

States across the country, including Massachusetts, are considering legislation to ban internet service providers (ISPs) from collecting or selling their customers’ sensitive information—like browsing histories—without opt-in user consent. (Take action to support the Massachusetts bill!)

But according to Cloudflare, you don’t have to wait until legislatures act. You can take five minutes right now to make it more difficult for ISPs to monetize your data.

The company is now offering a super fast DNS service it says will make it more difficult for ISPs to snoop on your data: 1.1.1.1.

From Cloudflare’s announcement:

DNS services are often slow and not privacy respecting. What many Internet users don’t realize is that even if you’re visiting a website that is encrypted — has the little green lock in your browser — that doesn’t keep your DNS resolver from knowing the identity of all the sites you visit. That means, by default, your ISP, every wifi network you’ve connected to, and your mobile network provider have a list of every site you’ve visited while using them.

Network operators have been licking their chops for some time over the idea of taking their users’ browsing data and finding a way to monetize it. In the United States, that got easier a year ago when the Senate voted to eliminate rules that restricted ISPs from selling their users’ browsing data. With all the concern over the data that companies like Facebook and Google are collecting on you, it worries us to now add ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T to the list. 

Cloudflare says it will wipe IP address information within 24 hours, to ensure it doesn’t amass a pile of sensitive data on its users. The firm has even retained an auditor to check up on that promise.

1.1.1.1 is very easy to remember. Check out Cloudflare’s new site to learn how to install it on your mobile devices and computers. Keep in mind that if you do, it will still be possible for your ISP to see what you’re doing online. To block them from doing that entirely, use a VPN or Tor.

And tell your elected representatives to protect internet privacy!

© 2018 ACLU of Massachusetts.