Building A Censor-Resistant Web?

from the one-option dept

With recent efforts to take down various websites, which we've been documenting here on Techdirt, there's been increasing discussions about ways to create a more "censor-proof" internet. We've discussed the idea of a decentralized DNS system and now Aaron Swartz is proposing a "censor-resistant web" system that makes use of hashes and authentication certificates. It's an interesting idea, though it does seem like there are a lot of moving parts, which might make it more difficult to implement. Either way, as we've been predicting for a while now, a lot of the events of the past few months have really only served to expose bottleneck intermediaries and to alert people to infrastructure that needs to be more decentralized.
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Filed Under: censor-proof, censoring, distributed, free speech


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2010 @ 6:32am

    Decentralized DNS is a step towards having a non-functional web. Various players would get in the game, this one not recognizing the same third level extentions as that one, someone playing games with addresses, someone making redirections, etc. The idea is pretty much a fail.

    The power of the internet is that it is designed to be functional almost regardless of any sort of point to point failure. DNS is a real key player in all of this, and really does require that everyone play by the same rules. So breaking it up or letting others run their own, well.

    You can run your own DNS system if you like, just get people to change their DNS servers to the IPs that you are using. You can create all the root TLDs you want, and have a good old time. In the end, you don't have to scrap the current system to do whatever it is you want. But just don't screw the original system up.

    Building a "censor resistant" web is also sort of a pointless concept. No matter how much you hate it, the internet will be subject to the laws of Sovereign Nations that allow it to operate in their country. Attempting to bypass that makes it more likely that the authorities pull the plug, and that the networks will be built not to be efficient, but built to allow control (which is while all of China's internet traffic goes through a limited number of gateways... it's easy to pull the plus). Imagine the internet with the US having only two peering points to the outside world, or countries like the UK having all their traffic through a single (government controlled) peering point. It is possible. Push hard in the wrong place, and governments who wish to control content will make the moves to do so.

    The internet is mostly a free, open place. Push too hard, and the most restrictive countries will step in and put their foot down. If you really want freedom, then you need to back off a bit and keep it that way.

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