After the US government, via Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division, started seizing domains without any notification or adversarial hearing (things that most of the world would consider to be reasonable due process), some folks quickly put together a browser extension, called MAFIAAfire, that would route around any ICE seizures and take you directly to the sites whose domains had been seized. This is, as the internet saying goes, a form of seeing censorship as “damage” and routing around it. Of course, that could be done on a much larger scale. As a bunch of the folks who built key pieces of the core internet infrastructure warned, continuing this kind of policy (and extending it with PROTECT IP) will lead to more workarounds that inevitably will fracture key pieces of the internet and make it significantly less secure. Supporters of PROTECT IP refuse to heed this warning — and, from what we’ve heard — refuse to compromise and make sure that the basic functioning of DNS will be protected.
So now, totally as expected, we’re already seeing alternative DNS systems showing up, advertising that they should be used to route around US government censorship of such websites. The one getting attention these days is called BlockAid.me.
What’s just as stunning as the fact that supporters of PROTECT IP still can’t figure out how this is really, really bad, is that they also don’t realize how this pretty much destroys any argument the US makes around the globe in trying to protest political censorship. Some claim it’s entirely different, but it’s not. Both involve a government entity deciding that websites cannot be reached without a trial. This makes the US look ridiculous in the eyes of the world, but I guess as long as it makes sure that Universal and Warner Bros. can prop up their profits for a few more years… it’s all good.