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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Google DNS, privacy, and you

December 4, 2009

Google launched its public DNS offering yesterday. Immediate reactions were “ooo, aaahhh, sweeet!” because we all know Google will nail the technology aspects of an fast, open DNS. Immediately following those reactions, however, came the “Oh great, now they know more about me!” statements.

But then came this statement by Steven Frank of Panic (whom I interviewed in September of this year):

“Yes, but have you ever read the privacy policy for your _current_ DNS? I know I haven’t.”

This has Google’s public DNS casting a slightly different shadow now doesn’t it? Your ISP, while they probably do have a policy for privacy in place, has more than likely never shared that policy with you. Or, even if they have, you may not have read it.

Some people took Steven’s statement to mean that ISPs and other DNS providers do not have privacy policies. That isn’t how I take the statement at all and it isn’t how he meant it. He specifically said, “have you ever read the privacy policy from your current DNS”? He didn’t say anything about there not being any to read.

For the last few years I’ve used OpenDNS. They have a privacy policy right here. But, as Steven predicted, I’ve never read it. I’ve never thought about reading it. I was never worried about OpenDNS’ intentions with the data. So why would I be afraid of Google? They have my email, my documents, my calendar, all of my search history, my ad revenue, etc. etc.

What would I care if they have a log of where I’ve gone online? I don’t.