How SOPA will break DNS

In case you were trying to figure out how broken the Internet will be if SOPA passes, have a look at this article and this article from DynDNS, one of the world's leading DNS providers. (Thanks, Adam!)


  1. One of the only highlights for me of the SOPA fiasco is watching some of the smartest people in the world try to explain it’s failings without resorting to “seriously you guys, it’s really, really, REALLY stupid”. It must be like trying to explain to a child why the gun in their hand is dangerous.

    1. The monkey looking down the wrong end of a gun meme that Doctorow called for earlier is quickly becoming quite apt.

    1. No, it’s the bit were the rest of the world becomes aware of US control over key internet-infrastructure and starts to wrest the control out of US’s hand.

  2. Quite simply put, after SOPA passes, DNS will become obsolete. A group of people including ISPs, Banks/E-commerce sites, freethinkers and engineers will release a decentralized, trust-metric driven replacement that will be able to penetrate any barrier by steganographic means and defeat any tampering.

    SOPA will not kill the internet. But it will kill DNS and help replace it with something nobody can control.

    1. I would think that e-commerce would shake hands with the telcos and big media to bring about a new “cable”. Now with one button tv shop purchases and other niceties. The protocol will be proprietary, centralized, and you lease your end device from the service provider (just like the ma bell phones of old). Think of it as a world wide HDCP. Anyone found possessing a device capable of accessing this network without the correct safeguards will be vanished, unless they are a duly licensed technician for one of the big backers.

      1. Sure, but the whole centralized thing’s not gonna work for two reasons: 1) all the players want to control it themselves, ensuring that eternal infighting prevents it ever happening 2) it doesn’t solve the essential security questions of making sure that the address you got is the one that the majority of the network you trust, trusts to be the the site you trust.

  3. The web cannot be allowed to continue the way it has. It fundamentally undermines the elites’ means of controlling public opinion and is at its heart deeply anarchistic (ie. de-centralized, self-organizing). Diplomatic cables, Arab spring, Anonymous, OWS, the rise of citizen journalism and so on are wholly unacceptable to any self-respecting authoritarian and, I’m sure, have been a real catastrophe for people in, say, the State Department, the intelligence/security institutions, right-wing think tanks, the Pentagon and most of the largest, wealthiest corporations in the world. Especially after the release of the US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks it was only a matter of time until there was a serious backlash against net culture as a whole.

    Key observation: it’s unnecessary to control everybody, controlling most of the populace is sufficient. This means that achieving the goal of limiting the internet’s positive feedback with democracy and transparency can actually be achieved (“divide and conquer”). Any means to achieve this of course make the web substantially less safe, but that should be welcomed by a seasoned policy maker — so much more justification for repression and control.

    The way to do this of course is via the domain name system (DNS), specifically, by shutting down unwanted domains and tampering with the system of trust. The savvy netizen can of course circumvent the imposed restrictions easily, he just uses DNS servers that are not subject to US jurisdiction. (Even globally disruptive means of controlling DNS would be too circumvented in short order.) Voilà! You end up with a policed and sanctioned, official part of the web and the other part — where all the activities that need fear the wrath of an overly draconian legislation will reside. The open nature of the web is gone. There will be much more opportunity for deception and crime. The non-sanctioned side of the web, let’s call it greynet, will be a strange and scary place for most of the general populace. The place where hackers (nerds), pedophiles, scammers, intelligence operatives and terrorists hang out and do their bidding.

    Individuals who depend on the official web would go out of their way trying to do no wrong for fear of getting blocked. Thus consent and control are largely restored.

    This strategy has the additional benefit of subsequently being able to further repress the non-sanctioned side of the web and later declare a war on the darknet (Tor, etc.). (Declaring a virtual war will be one of the greatest achievement since the invention of Mutual Assured Destruction and the benefits should be obvious.)

    Of course when introducing such legislation you can’t say you want to “censor the web”, you need to be more subtle. You can use copyright violations as a smoke screen to hide your deeper interest though. This let’s you enlist the desperate, yet rich, mass media industry to push this through using all the resources they can muster — including ‘their’ politicians who will introduce the legislation. This would be the greatest attack on freedom and democracy ever attempted — it would be glorious!

    1. What really needs to happen is the implementation of end-to-end IPsec for all client-server connections.  It will likely require some PKI tweaks, but it’ll guarantee privacy and the inability to filter traffic based on protocol or deep-packet-inspection.

      1. One reason why IP6 is being perpetually stalled. IPsec is part of the protocol there, rather than a addon.

  4. The SOPA coverage is understandably US-centric, but I’d appreciate a run down of the effects (if any) on the rest of the world.

  5. Ooh, while we’re doing petitions, here’s the one from the Whitehouse!

    The responses for Whitehouse petitions have so far been uniformly disappointing, of course. But this gives us one more thing to point at.

  6. I do not think whoever wrote that piece for Dyn helps himself by repeating the crapalicious lie that studios lose 10’s of billions per year.  It is simply such an outlandish figure that no one sane should believe it, and they do a disservice by repeating it.  The lies of the MPAA/RIAA will not stop until everyone keeps calling them on their BS.  Each and every time.

  7. As a non-American, I wonder if we can just ignore you on your little island of corporate controlled interwebs? We’ll all enjoy European style complete freedom of control (have you ever been to Italy?) and you guys can carry on as you are.

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