Now thanks to the publicity of the data collection by Facebook people are showing increased interest in both their online privacy and profiling by large tech organisations.
But while the focus has largely confined itself to Facebook, the elephant in the room which seems to be largely ignored is Google.
Coupled with its dominance of both the search and browser markets, it is in a rather unique position to profile internet users. What ever gaps are missed by both the browser and search can then be filled in by the DNS service.
Privacy nearly always has to be balanced with convenience and we often trade it for that ease of use. But one simple step we can do is to attempt to ensure that all our privacy eggs are not in the same basket.
It’s for that reason that recent launch of CloudFlares DNS service is to be applauded, firstly the company has committed to wiping all DNS logs within 24 hours and not using the DNS data to target adverts.
While we can assume that nothing is free in this world and the offering of this DNS service is also the same, it’s data collection is more transparent than googles and the retention is less.
Added to which moving your DNS queries away from Google reduces your visibility to them.
The key here is not to completely boycott a particular company, but rather spread your information across as many as you can. Favoring those that offer good privacy with convenience.
For example while I avoid Google search and Chrome where possible, I do make good use of GMail which is excellent.
After all Google do make good product, we just need to be aware of what we’re trading when using them.
CloudFlare DNS Settings
- For IPv4 use 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206
- For IPv6 use 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001
These can typically be set on your Router under the LAN settings which will apply to all devices served by it.
Though it can also be done on individual machines, on Windows these can be found by opening “Control Panel” and performing the following steps:
- Select “Network and Internet”
- Select “Network and Sharing Center”
- User the section “View your active networks”, on the right side click the “Connections” link, mine for example shows “Ethernet” since I have a wired connection yours may say “Wireless”.
- Click “Properties” on the Dialog box displayed.
- Locate the “Internet Protocol Version 4” or “Internet Protocol Version 6” and then select its “Properties”.
- Enable the “Use The Following DNS Server Addresses” option and then enter the CloudFlare DNS values shown above.