You are currently viewing the aggregator for the Distributed Republic reader blogs. You can surf to any author's blog by clicking on the link at the bottom of one of his/her posts. If you wish to participate, feel free to register (at the top of the right sidebar) and start blogging.

The main page of the blog can be found here.

Will DHS actions inspire a successor to DNS?

In light of recent Department of Homeland Security efforts to seize domain names, and the COICA Internet Censorship and Copyright Bill being considered in Congress, I wonder if it's time to consider alternatives to the hierarchical nature of DNS as it exists today. Do we really want something so fundamental to be so susceptible to government control?

Two recent postings on slashdot lend support this idea:
Peter Sunde Wants To Create Alternative To ICANN
Chinese DNS Tampering a Real Threat To Outsiders

So, consider the technology behind these open source projects:

1) Peer-to-peer electronic cash system Bitcoin (wikipedia)

2) spam and denial of service counter-measure tool Hashcash (wikipedia)

The goals of both projects are different from what I'm suggesting here (a Peer-to-Peer DNS), but they're both examples of proof-of-work systems. In brief, it's a system that allows a loose network of peers to keep a record that can only be disputed by a sufficiently large attacker.

I think a sufficiently large proof-of-work, peer-to-peer network could serve as an alternative to DNS.

Wikipedia's Bitcoin article has this to say about it's security:

For an attacker to manipulate the record, he must outpace all of the other nodes on the network to produce the longest proof-of-work. This becomes exponentially more difficult as time passes, because such "tampered" chains would continuously be rejected by nodes attempting to build a valid chain.

From Bitcoin's whitepaper:

...a peer-to-peer network using proof-of-work to record a public history of transactions
that quickly becomes computationally impractical for an attacker to change if honest nodes
control a majority of CPU power.

The "record" and "transactions" in this case would be hostname-to-IP-address mappings (the service that DNS provides).

Imagine a Firefox or Chrome plugin that could turn every willing browser into both a client and server for this service (a node within such a network). Sufficient adoption (if installed by default on these browsers) could go a long way to preventing corruption or control of something so vital. Perhaps it could exist alongside the existing DNS hierarchy, to "seed" it before it acquires the necessary critical mass.

So, is anyone inspired to morph either of these projects into this vision?


Magic Marker Stimulus

I've got it! There's a simple solution to this financial crisis we've found ourselves in - and it's easy to implement. I call it the Magic Marker Stimulus program, and it works like this:

1) open your wallet
2) choose a magic marker
3) add a zero to each bill ($1 becomes $10, $5 becomes $50)
4) go shopping with your newly-found wealth

It's so simple, it can't fail! I wonder why no one's thought of this before? It's even better than my other idea - where you only double the number on each bill.