Pirate DNS could hatch a lawless darknet

The Pirate Bay wants a new DNS system that will be impossible to censor and impossible to police. Would it be worthwhile?

By Keir Thomas, PC World |  Internet, DNS, pirate bay

Some of the shady crowd behind the Pirate Bay file sharing Website have announced plans for a peer-to-peer domain name system (DNS), called P2P DNS.

DNS is the behind-the-scenes technology that converts the human-friendly Internet addresses we all use (such as www.pcworld.com) into IP addresses that computers on the Internet are actually known by (such as 70.42.185.10). DNS is often referred to as the phone book of the Internet, and practically every computing device on the planet makes use of it.

In simple terms, DNS is like a large shared database constructed from many separate sources. Domain names that end in .com, .org, .edu, and so on are controlled by single organizations that share the data of where computers :live" with the rest of the world via the DNS system.

Those behind the P2P DNS system suggest that this single-organization system provides a point of weakness that governments can use to censor the Internet, and this is undoubtedly the driving force behind the new software. Recently the Department of Homeland Security seized 82 domains it claimed were breaking the law, and the United Kingdom's Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) announced plans to undertake similar acts for .co.uk domain names.

These seizures are simple in nature; the governments contact the top-level domain companies, and using legal powers, force them to change the registration and alter the DNS entry so that it sends users to government computers (usually to a page explaining what's happened). It isn't the case that the actual Website itself is seized, or any data is taken offline. That remains untouched. It's simply that the DNS record no longer points to it

No details of the proposed software have been announced yet, but those behind P2P DNS face an uphill struggle. DNS is one of the Internet's unquestioned and most reliable technologies. Reworking it is going to take some effort.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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