[Freedombox-discuss] Wikileaks and DNS

Philip Hands phil at hands.com
Wed Dec 15 10:38:52 UTC 2010

On Wed, 15 Dec 2010 11:55:45 +0530, pavithran <pavithran.s at gmail.com> wrote:
> How much of wikileaks and the happening news propel people towards a
> DNS service which is independent of service providers ?
> http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/11/fed-up-with-icann-pirate-bay-cofounder-floats-p2p-dns-system.ars
> Well this discussion came before the wikileaks saga.  Are there any
> projects which implement them ( excuse my ignorance )

There are two entirely separate things mixed up in the wikileaks
situation, and separating them may make it clearer whether there is a
need for an alternative DNS setup.

One is the dissemination of the data, which is a largely solved problem,
since the data is available via bittorrent (not anonymous, but mass
adoption makes that less of a problem), via TOR private service
(anonymous, and largely DOS-proof, since it's not obvious where the data
resides) and FreeNet (anonymous and distributed, such that it's largely
undeletable), as well as the likes of cryptome, and now in the
particular case of wikileaks from about 2000 mirrors, including people
that are very unlikely to fold under pressure:


The other is having something where naive members of the public can be
told about things like wikileaks, without interference.  You might argue
that there is no need for the publicity as long as the data gets out,
but I'd say that it is much less likely that the recent leaks would have
happened via cryptome.org (who have been doing this sort of thing since
'96) simply because the general public have never heard of them.  So for
every person that stumbles across something leak-worthy, who might be
tempted to leak, only a tiny fraction of them would know about cryptome
whereas many of them will now know about wikileaks, so we can expect
many more whistles being blown simply because the higher profile makes
sure that people know where to go with the secret.

So, what does an alternative DNS provide?  It's going to provide nothing
to the vast mass of people that think that the way that you get to a web
site is by typing the URL into a google search, unless you get ISPs
around the world to point at the .p2p TLD (or whatever), which is then
reliance on (slightly less) central authority again.

For more technical users, they'd probably be better off running tor
and/or freenet -- either of which could be usefully added as options for
the FreedomBox.  Having TOR on every freedombox would be a very good
thing IMO.

Freenet in darknet mode would provide something like the p2p storage on
friends' boxes thing that people were talking about, but at the moment
Freenet is not guaranteed to keep things, as it deletes the least
popular content when running out of space.

Cheers, Phil.
|)|  Philip Hands [+44 (0)20 8530 9560]    http://www.hands.com/
|-|  HANDS.COM Ltd.                    http://www.uk.debian.org/
|(|  10 Onslow Gardens, South Woodford, London  E18 1NE  ENGLAND
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