What ISPs Can See

Even with widespread TLS usage, website metadata and DNS queries are still easily collectible.

“Today, ISPs can see a significant amount of their subscribers’ Internet activity, and have the ability to infer substantial amounts of sensitive information from it. This is especially true when that traffic is unencrypted. However, even when Internet traffic is encrypted using HTTPS, ISPs generally retain visibility into their subscribers’ DNS queries. Detailed analysis of DNS query information on a per-subscriber basis is not only technically feasible and cost-effective, but actually takes place in the field today. Moreover, ISPs and the vendors that serve them have clear opportunities to develop methods of inferring important information even from encrypted data flows. VPNs are one tool that subscribers can use to protect their online activities, but VPNs are poorly adopted, can be difficult to use, and often provide incomplete protections.”

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