Monday, January 2, 2012

DNS takedowns under fire in the U.S.

I get the impression that SOPA, the latest version of a U.S. bill to enable DNS takedowns of non-American web sites, is under a lot of pressure. A major blow to its support is that the major gaming console companies backing out.

I am certainly heartened. However, the problem is still very real, for at least two reasons.

First, DNS takedowns are already happening under existing law. For example, the American FBI has been taking down DNS names for poker websites in advance of a trial. SOPA and PROTECT-IP merely extend the tendrils rather than starting something new.

Second, this bill won't be the last. So long as the Internet uses DNS, there is a vulnerability built right into the protocols. Secure DNS doesn't make it any better; on the contrary, it hands the keys to the DNS over to national governments.

The only long term way to fix this problem is to adjust the protocols to avoid a single point of vulnerability. It requires a new way to name resources on the Internet.

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