Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Internet Power Seizure?

I'm not sure, but it looks like the US government is trying to pretty much take over control of the whole DNS system.

(DNSes, or "Domain Name Servers", are how it translates an IP into a web address and vice versa.)

Essentially, this is how it works. Right now the biggest problem with DNS servers is that they're pretty easy to spoof. This is how most web "hacking" is done- you simply convince DNS servers to go to IP A instead of IP B, and boom, everybody who's trying to go to the White House's website ends up on the website of unscrupulous thieves and villians.


They're trying to get around that by using public key encryption. This is the same kind of encryption that you use all the time when you're doing sensitive stuff on the Internet, like banking or shopping or donating money to said unscrupulous thieves. The whole thing is supposed to be controlled on a geographic basis, so that the authorities that handle domain names within a certain area now (like Verisign) still do so, but on a more authoritative basis.

Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to step in and scoop up ALL the keys themselves, for the entire Internet. They would know the keys, and be easily able to generate them. This would allow the US government to spoof any website it pleases, anywhere on earth, with relative ease.

Needless to say, the non-US domain name providers ain't too happy about this. To be honest, neither am I. Not necessarily just because one country shouldn't have all this power, but because I'm damned sure that the right-wing ideologue tools over at DHS shouldn't.

I mean, seriously, do YOU want to give the guys who screwed up Katrina the keys to the Internet?

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