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Google Ends Domain-Fronting Feature Used by Censorship Tools

A recent change in Google’s network architecture has put a stop to a so-called “domain-fronting” feature that allowed services use Google’s network to get around state-level internet blocks. Russell Brandom reporting in the Verge: “Google said the changes were the result of a long-planned network update. ‘Domain fronting has never been a supported feature at Google,’ a company representative said, ‘but until recently it worked because of a quirk of our software stack. We’re constantly evolving our network, and as part of a planned software update, domain fronting no longer works. We don’t have any plans to offer it as a feature.”


The discontinuation of the domain-fronting service was first spotted by Tor developers on April 13th. Access Now is urging Google to reconsider the shutdown, stating approximately a dozen human rights-enabling technologies rely, in full or in part, on Google’s commitment to protecting human rights and increasing internet freedom. Nathan White, Senior Legislative Manager at Access Now says: “Google has long claimed to support internet freedom around the world, and in many ways, the company has been true to its beliefs. Allowing domain fronting has meant that potentially millions of people have been able to experience a freer internet and enjoy their human rights. We urge Google to remember its commitment to human rights and internet freedom and allow domain fronting to continue.”

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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