Scientists fear US DNS filtering

Attempts by the US government to censor the Internet for their chums in the entertainment industry could break the Internet, according to a group of leading DNS experts.

A technology paper, which was  penned by Steve Crocker, David Dagon and Dan Kaminsky, highlights serious concerns amongst techies over the proposed DNS filtering requirements in the Big Content backed “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (“PROTECT IP Act”).

Firstly the DNS filters would be evaded easily, and would likely prove ineffective at reducing online infringement, the boffins say. However widespread circumvention would threaten the security and stability of the global DNS.

One of the key reasons the internet has done so well is the universality of domain names, but migration away from ISP-provided DNS servers would harm efforts that rely on DNS data to detect and mitigate security threats and improve network performance.

The experts think that the new site redirection laws are inconsistent with security extensions to the DNS that are known as DNSSEC. The government and private industry think that DNSSEC is the bees knees and an important part of its cyber security strategy. The cash that private, military, and governmental networks have invested in DNSSEC technologies will be thrown out the window.

To protect big content, the move would weaken efforts to improve Internet security and expose networks and users to increased security and privacy risks.

However the group insists that “the goals of PROTECT IP can be accomplished without reducing DNS security and stability. What was needed was better international cooperation on prosecutions and the other remedies contained in PROTECT IP other than DNS-related provisions.

You can read the report here. What the boffins do not seem to understand is that Big content does not really care if the filtering breaks the internet.  It will just mean that people will have to go back to DVD sales and it will not have to change its business model after all.