Mozilla is famous for its Firefox web browser. And being popular has its own cencequences.
UK’s Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) has called Mozilla an "internet villain" for supporting the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol in its Firefox browser.
According to the ISPA, DoH makes it difficult for internet providers to filter their subscribers’ internet access.
Under UK laws, websites can be blocked for facilitating the infringement of copyrighted or trademarked material, or if they are deemed to contain terrorist material or child abuse imagery. And DoH isn't compatible with the government's ability to control and block websites.
With Mozilla encrypting DNS queries, the ISPA claims that Firefox can "bypass UK filtering obligations and parental controls, undermining internet safety standards in the UK."
ISPA is joined by UK's intelligence and security organisation GCHQ, and also the Internet Watch Foundation, which maintains the UK’s internet blocklist. They have all criticized Mozilla's move to support the encrypted DNS features to its browser.
Mozilla started testing this DNS-over-HTTPS to a small number of users in late 2018.
How the feature works, is by encrypting DNS. When users of the web visit a website, even if the site has HTTPS enabled, the DNS query that converts web pages to an IP address that computers understand, is usually not encrypted.
Using DoH, Firefox encrypts DNS query and protect DNS requests against man-in-the-middle attacks, preventing hackers in hijacking users' request, or pointing victims to malicious web pages.
Because Mozilla puts the security standard at the app level, this makes Firefox the first browser to use DNS-over-HTTPS.
Furthermore, DoH can also improve performance and create a faster browsing experience.
According to Mozilla spokesperson Justin O’Kelly:
“Despite claims to the contrary, a more private DNS would not prevent the use of content filtering or parental controls in the UK. DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) would offer real security benefits to UK citizens. Our goal is to build a more secure internet, and we continue to have a serious, constructive conversation with credible stakeholders in the UK about how to do that."
ISPA's complaints drew criticisms and backlash from users of the internet.
The group defended itself by saying: “Bringing in DNS-over-HTTPS by default would be harmful for online safety, cybersecurity and consumer choice.”
Before Mozilla, Cloudflare made its a mobile version of its '188.8.131.52' privacy-focused DNS service to include DNS-over-HTTPS. Google-owned Jigsaw has also released 'Infra', which aimed to prevent DNS manipulation.
While Mozilla tops ISPA's list of internet villain in 2019, the internet founding father Tim Berners-Lee tops its favorite internet hero "for spearheading the ‘Contract for the Web’ campaign to rebuild trust and protect the open and free nature of the Internet in the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web."