Google’s plans to use a new internet protocol has raised concerns among congressional antitrust investigators who worry it could give the company an unfair competitive advantage, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Investigators want to know whether Google will use any data collected through the new protocol for commercial purposes.
The new standard, called DNS-over-HTTPS, aims to improve internet privacy and security by encrypting traffic, hampering hackers’ ability to spoof websites. Google plans to begin testing the new protocol with users of its Chrome browser next month.
In a letter this month, investigators for the House Judiciary Committee asked Google for information about its “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol, which the Alphabet Inc. company said is aimed at improving internet security.
House investigators are also asking whether data collected or processed through the new protocol will be used by Google for any commercial purposes, according to the Sept. 13 letter.
The Justice Department is aware of concerns over the protocol change and has recently received complaints, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The new standard would encrypt internet traffic to improve security, which could help prevent hackers from snooping on websites, and from spoofing—faking an internet website to obtain a consumer’s credit-card information or other data.
Privacy is on the front burner these days as consumers come to grips with just how much data companies have gathered from them. Facebook is still dealing with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the UK-based company obtained data on 87 million people without their permission.