Another thing that irritates me is the fact that the rest of the world apparently things the United States should relinquish control of the root DNS servers. I’ll drop this link to a slashdot.org story for reference…
For those of you who are unfamiliar with how the Internet works I’ll give a brief explanation of the DNS (Domain Name System). Each website is located on a computer which has a number associated with it called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. For instance the IP address of this web site is 220.127.116.11 (actually that’s wordpress.com’s IP address which hosts me). Typing that address in would take you to wordpress.com
Of course numbers aren’t really useful to human being when it comes to associating things. Because of this we designed a system to translate names to IP addresses. When you type in www.google.com what is actually happening behind the scenes is your browser is asking a DNS server to return the IP address of www.google.com. Once the browser gets the IP address it accesses Google though the IP address.
So the DNS is pretty much a phone book for the Internet. And the master servers (called root servers) are the rulers of the roost. They are controlled by ICANN via contract from the United States Department of Commerce.
What many other countries are saying is since the Internet is a multi-national entity that the United States should give control of the DNS to some third party (usually the United Nation’s name is dropped). This is a case of pure jealously and idiocy.
The Internet is an evolution of ARPANET. ARPANET was created by the United States Department of Defense as a project to create a communication network that would survive a nuclear strike for the Soviets. Anyways through much work and finagling this evolved into the Internet that we know today.
This bring my first argument against surrendering control of the DNS over to some other entity. America invested the initial capital and research into the creation of the Internet. We then opened it up for everybody to use. Now being it was a government project apparently different rules apply to it. Because when a corporate creation becomes a world wide de facto item (like Microsoft Windows) no other government calls for it’s release to a third party. Releasing the DNS root servers to international oversight would be like Microsoft releasing the source code for Windows to international oversight. Yet nobody calls for that because it’s understood Microsoft put the initial capital and research (i.e. they bought DOS from a third party and rebranded it after some small adjustments) into Windows so they own it.
My next issue is this, the Internet is not censored. It’s an open means of communication which anybody can use, even an opinionated ass such as myself. This is accomplished for one main reason, the United State’s right of free speech. I can imagine the second some other entity such as the United Nations got control over the DNS censorship wouldn’t be far behind. For instance the United Nations is very anti-gun so I’m sure pro-gun sites would get axed. Being they have a lot of clout with the United Nations I’m sure the European Union could get a resolution passed to ban any negative talk about the Lisbon Treaty as well. Pretty much the bastion of free speech that we know of as the Internet would become akin to what China does with the Internet.
Problem three with the United States relinquishing control of the DNS is the fact that there is nothing stopping any other entity from starting their own root servers. The DNS is incredibly dynamic and anybody can setup a DNS server. Hell your network and work probably has one. If Britain wanted to control a DNS server they could most certainly set one up and use it. Nothing is stopping them. So instead of bitching they could try setting up their own system and force their citizens to use it.
Finally the system currently works. I’m a big fan of the idea that if something isn’t broken don’t fix it. The Internet works incredibly well at the moment so why the Hell should we do something drastic like rework the DNS? All that will do is break something and we’ll be fucked bad.