Politics

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
dns, protect ip, senate



The 18 Senators Who Approve Breaking The Internet To Protect Hollywood

from the not-cool dept

Last fall, we noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee had unanimously voted to approve COICA, a bill for censoring the internet as a favor to the entertainment industry. Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up and blocked COICA from progressing. This year, COICA has been replaced by the PROTECT IP Act, which fixes some of the problems of COICA, but introduces significant other problems as well. A wide cross section of people who actually understand technology and innovation have come out against PROTECT IP as written -- including librarians, human rights groups, public interest groups (pdf) and various technology groups (pdf), including CEA, CCIA and NetCoalition. Most significantly, a group of internet/DNS specialists have made a strong case that this would break the internet in significant ways:
  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified Internet security and stability as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and if implemented, the DNS related provisions of PROTECT IP would weaken this important commitment. DNS filters would be evaded easily, and would likely prove ineffective at reducing online infringement. Further, widespread circumvention would threaten the security and stability of the global DNS.
  • The DNS provisions would undermine the universality of domain names, which has been one of the key enablers of the innovation, economic growth, and improvements in communications and information access unleashed by the global Internet.
  • 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.
  • Dependencies within the DNS would pose significant risk of collateral damage, with filtering of one domain potentially affecting users' ability to reach non-infringing Internet content.
  • The site redirection envisioned in Section 3(d)(II)(A)(ii) is inconsistent with security extensions to the DNS that are known as DNSSEC.
  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified DNSSEC as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and many private, military, and governmental networks have invested in DNSSEC technologies.
  • If implemented, this section of the PROTECT IP Act would weaken this important effort to improve Internet security. It would enshrine and institutionalize the very network manipulation that DNSSEC must fight in order to prevent cyberattacks and other malevolent behavior on the global Internet, thereby exposing networks and users to increased security and privacy risks.
So, with the people who actually understand this stuff pointing out that PROTECT IP would break the internet and go against various stated important priorities for the internet, you would think that the Senate Judiciary Committee might hold off before moving forward with such a poorly thought out bill.

But, you know, the Hollywood lobbyists want it. So, let's just ignore the people who actually understand this stuff and give Hollywood what they want.

This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with PROTECT IP as is. It seems only fair to once again name the Senators who just voted (with a voice vote) to break the internet. Here's your list of technologically ignorant lawmakers of the day:
  • Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
  • Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein -- California
  • Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
  • Richard Blumenthal -- Connecticut
  • Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
  • Michael Lee -- Utah
  • Jon Kyl -- Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer -- New York
  • Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin -- Illinois
  • John Cornyn -- Texas
  • Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
  • Al Franken -- Minnesota
  • Chris Coons -- Delaware
Update: Oops. Pulled last year's list. Just corrected, removing Feingold, Specter and Cardin and adding in Lee and Blumenthal. Sorry, that was a dumb mistake.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2011 @ 7:49pm

    Route Around Damage

    If the top of the DNS hierarchy is being interfered with by the US government, then that constitutes damage. It does not matter what batty reason the US government may be giving for its vandalism. It is happening and it is not going to stop.

    The solution is to establish an independent top of the DNS hierarchy outside of US jurisdiction. It may reasonably be assumed that any jurisdiction which finds itself in possession of the top of the DNS hierarchy will attempt similar bad behavior as the US government. Venal politicians exist worldwide. Therefore, it needs to be a distributed system, capable of being moved from jurisdiction to jurisdiction at a moment's notice.

    The organization in charge has to assume it is going to be under attack at all times, like the Pirate Bay or Wikileaks. It needs to plan accordingly.

    Once an independent top of the DNS hierarchy exists, then the rest of the world can point their DNS resolvers at the new service and the US government can do as it pleases, without inconveniencing the rest of the world. Shame about the US residents, though, most of them will be stuck with the broken version of the DNS. The smart ones will be able to get out of it, but not poor old grandma.

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