Recent developments to encrypt the Domain Name System (DNS) have resulted in
major browser and operating system vendors deploying encrypted DNS
functionality, often enabling various configurations and settings by default.
In many cases, default encrypted DNS settings have implications for performance
and privacy; for example, Firefox’s default DNS setting sends all of a user’s
DNS queries to Cloudflare, potentially introducing new privacy vulnerabilities.
In this paper, we confirm that most users are unaware of these developments —
with respect to the rollout of these new technologies, the changes in default
settings, and the ability to customize encrypted DNS configuration to balance
user preferences between privacy and performance. Our findings suggest several
important implications for the designers of interfaces for encrypted DNS
functionality in both browsers and operating systems, to help improve user
awareness concerning these settings, and to ensure that users retain the
ability to make choices that allow them to balance tradeoffs concerning DNS
privacy and performance.

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