The Register: Canada’s .ca overlord rolls out free privacy-protecting DNS-over-HTTPS service for folks in Great White North

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By Shaun Nichols | The Register | April 23, 2020

The organization that oversees .CA domains, among other important internet functions, is rolling out a free Canada-wide DNS-over-HTTPS service to protect people’s privacy.

The Canadian Internet Registry Authority (CIRA) today said its new Canadian Shield service will allow people and businesses to encrypt their DNS queries in transit between their devices and CIRA’s servers, providing an added layer of security at a time where millions in the country are transitioning to working from home mid-coronavirus pandemic.

That means ISPs and network snoops, for instance, can’t easily see what websites and services those individual households and businesses are accessing, give or take. Anyone trying to track the sites you browse will have to work harder, or be thwarted entirely, depending on the circumstances. It should also help protect DNS queries from being tampered with in transit.

You can get going with Canadian Shield’s encrypted DNS here, and there’s an FAQ here. Only Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are supported.

The DNS-over-HTTPS service can be configured to just encrypt DNS queries; encrypt DNS queries and block access to known malware, botnet and phishing websites; or encrypt DNS queries and block access to adult content as well as malware, botnet and phishing pages. Access is blocked by refusing to lookup queries.

“As a non-profit with no interest in monetizing user data, we were able to bring together a group of great partners who are committed to protecting Canadians online–including the first-ever national deployment of DNS over HTTPS globally,” said CIRA VP of product Dave Chiswell.

“This will provide all Canadians and their families with the kind of online protection typically reserved for large institutions.”

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