The strange stories behind country-code top-level domains

James Bridle writes, "A couple of months ago I released a browser extension - Citizen Ex - which tracks your browsing (entirely privately) in order to show you your "Algorithmic Citizenship" - where your browsing actually goes, and what this means for your rights." Read the rest

Microsoft non-pologizes for misleading judge, seizing No-IP's DNS

Yesterday, Microsoft convinced a judge to let it take over No-IP's DNS service, shutting down name service for many websites, in order to stop a malware attack. Today, the company fake-pologized. Read the rest

City of London Police told they can't just take away domains because Hollywood doesn't like them

The City of London is a curiosity; it's the financial district within London proper, and it has its own local government, which is elected by the banks and other corporations within the district. This (literally) corporate-run government then operates its own police force, separate from the Metropolitan Police, with sweeping powers.

The City of London Police recently gave themselves the power to seize domains that they believed were implicated in copyright violation, and started sending officious letters to domain registrars demanding that the domains be shut down. This was a purely extrajudicial, ad-hoc procedure -- in other words, the City of London Police were just making it up. The letters they sent had no force in law, cited no evidence from a court, and were unenforceable. Read the rest

Star Wars easter-egg hidden in a traceroute

The awesomesauce merchants at have engineered an appropriately epic set of internal routes, such that a traceroute to produces the introductory crawl from Star Wars:

TraceRoute from to [fin] Hop (ms) (ms) (ms) IP Address Host name 1 0 0 0 - 2 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 4 36 36 36 5 37 35 38 6 21 21 21 7 58 58 56 - 8 61 57 58 episode.iv 9 59 63 62 10 59 58 61 11 Timed out 58 60 rebel.spaceships 12 58 66 65 striking.from.a.hidden.base 13 60 60 60 have.won.their.first.victory 14 61 57 57 against.the.evil.galactic.empire 15 61 57 56 during.the.battle 16 61 58 60 rebel.spies.managed 17 57 59 62 to.steal.secret.plans 18 60 60 56 to.the.empires.ultimate.weapon 19 62 60 58 20 60 60 57 21 61 64 61 22 59 58 60 23 63 62 65 24 62 59 Timed out sinister.agents 25 59 61 60 princess.leia.races.home 26 62 60 62 aboard.her.starship 27 61 61 68 custodian.of.the.stolen.plans 28 64 60 62

Trace complete

Traceroute, Ping, Domain Name Server (DNS) Lookup, WHOIS express (via Hacker News) Read the rest

GoDaddy's DNS servers experiencing extended outage

If you manage your domains through GoDaddy or are hosting a website with them, it's probably down right now and has been for about an hour. Take advantage of this time to find out which ones of your friends use GoDaddy in order to ridicule them. You can start with ridiculing me. GoDaddy's management tools are down too, so you can't really do anything yet if you're affected, but there's more information about what you could do to move away from GoDaddy in this thread on Hacker News. Read the rest

Why a pro-SOPA MPAA technologist changed sides and went to work for ISOC

My latest Guardian column is "Why did an MPAA executive join the Internet Society?" which digs into the backstory on the appointment of former MPAA CTO Paul Brigner as North American director of the copyright-reforming, pro-net-neutrality Network Society group, which manages the .ORG domain name registry.

I asked Brigner whether his statements about DNS blocking and seizure and net neutrality had been sincere. "There are certainly a number of statements attributed to me that demonstrate my past thoughts on DNS and other issues," he answered. "I would not have stated them if I didn't believe them. But the true nature of my work was focused on trying to build bridges with the technology community and the content community and find solutions to our common problems. As I became more ingrained in the debate, I became more educated on the realities of these issues, and the reality is that a mandated technical solution just isn't a viable option for the future of the internet. When presented with the facts over time, it was clear I had to adjust my thinking.

"My views have evolved over the last year as I engaged with leading technologists on DNSSEC. Through those discussions, I came to believe that legislating technological approaches to fight copyright violations threatens the architecture of the internet. However, I do think that voluntary measures could be developed and implemented to help address the issue.

"I will most definitely advocate on Internet Society's behalf in favor of all issues listed, and I share the organization's views on all of those topics.

Read the rest

Paul Vixie's firsthand account of the takedown of DNS Changer

Carl Malamud sez, "Paul Vixie tells a real-life action adventure about the DNS Changer and Conficker plagues that are still active on the Internet and how he ended up running a center for disease control in addition to his day job. His day job, in case you're not familiar with, consists of helping keep the DNS going and as a sideline hosting a lot of important software and services like Mozilla, the Internet Archive, and many others (and a few lightweight low-volume clients like"

Since the original court order that authorized ISC to install and operate these replacement DNS servers was due to expire on March 9 2012, a new DNS Changer Working Group (DCWG) was formed to handle victim notification and remediation. We had roughly four months to identify and notify half million or so DNS Changer victims, and to help these victims clean up their infected computers. Many victims would have to reinstall Windows on their computers — which at first was the only sure cure for this particular infection. On top of that, many of the victims have had their DSL or Cable modems ("home routers") reconfigured by the DNS Changer malware, so that they were using ISC's replacement DNS servers even if none of their computers are still infected and even if none of their computers were running Windows. Most Internet users do not have the skills necessary to check and repair the configuration of their home routers, and most Windows users are also unwilling to reinstall Windows.

Read the rest

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!) Read the rest