Regardless of the supposed criminal intent of the affected systems, the seizure without notice of these domain names by US authorities sent shock-waves around the Internet world. It got people's attention in a much stronger way than version 1 of this enforcement operation had the first iteration late last June seized the names of nine sites selling pirated first-run movies. Many people woke up to the reality of how vulnerable the DNS is to government meddling.
(More recently, the uproar caused by the WikiLeaks publication of US diplomatic cables and subsequent attempts to censor the site and/or to hound it off the Internet have resulted in what developer Dave Winer calls "a human DNS" implemented "in a weird sneaker-net sort of way," via Twitter and ad hoc bulletin-board sites.)
Within days of the ICE/DHS seizures, at least three separate initiatives to work around the DNS had been announced, and several existing alternatives were highlighted in the ensuing discussion.
The article then goes on to discuss the details of the various new substitutes for the single unified international, but U.S. based, domain name system that has served the Internet for 25 years.
Back in August, after Google & Verizon announced a joint legislative proposal on network neutrality, certain people predicted disaster for the Internet. One cause, Net Neutrality, was substituted for the many aspects of Internet freedom and one phrase seemed to be on everyone's lips:
Amy Goodman's Democracy Now "could spell the end of the Internet as we know it."In August I poopooed the so-called threat posed by the Google/Verizon initiative, roundly criticized all of the above for begging the U.S. government to step in and protect our rights on the Internet, and after attempting to explain the central importance of the DNS and the international organizations that run it, gave my view on what would end the Internet as we know it. "As it stands now, no government in the world can enforce a domain name decision because they don't run the domain name system that translates domain names like the DailyKos.com into IP addresses, and any attempt by a national government to seize control of the domain root server system would end the Internet as we know it."
Craig Aaron at Huffington Post, "pact to end the Internet as we know it"
Countdown with Keith Olbermann "an end to the Internet as we know it"
In a September diary, Obama's Internet Coup d'état, I wrote:
This is a most important "technical" detail because ultimately for the U.S. government to be successful in enforcing these controls on the Internet it must either wrestle control of the root domain name servers [DNS] from the international ngo's that have been running them, ICANN and InterNIC, or corrupt those organizations to it's will. That is why I think it fair to call this a coup d'état and nothing less than an attempt by the U.S. government to takeover the Internet.The now famous letter written by 87 of the engineers that have brought us the Internet warned of the same thing in September. Commenting on what they saw as the inevitable blow back from the Senate Internet Blacklist Bill, they said:
These problems will be enough to ensure that alternative name-lookup infrastructures will come into widespread use, outside the control of US service providers but easily used by American citizens. Errors and divergences will appear between these new services and the current global DNS, and contradictory addresses will confuse browsers and frustrate the people using them. These problems will be widespread and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.
Now this is exactly what is happening!
The cliché is coming true and we just may be witnessing the end of the single unified Internet we have known. Obama just may give Bush his Internets! Soon we may be saying: The Internet is Dead, Long Live the Internets!
I also wrote in that diary:
Speaking as one of the peons, let me say we have labored, in some cases more than a quarter century, to build the Internet as a tool for human liberation, and to do this we have build organizations that I believe represent the absolute best in international cooperation and a body of excellent software, freely available to all, that has made the dream of instant, multimedia, global, lowcost and secure communications a reality. We will not go quietly into that goodbye!
|Let the Cyber War Be Joined!|
Viva Operation Payback!