The Wikileaks ouster lasted all of a few hours. As of right now, the company has switched its DNS to Sweden, from where it continues operating. But not before Wikileaks tweeted the following response to Amazon's action: "WikiLeaks tweeted in response: "WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free – fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe."
A trace on the latest DNS, courtesy of Karl Denninger:
% Information related to '126.96.36.199/17AS8473'
descr: Bahnhof Internet, Sweden
source: RIPE # Filtered
% Information related to '188.8.131.52/16AS16276'
descr: OVH ISP
descr: Paris, France
source: RIPE # Filtered
Basically this goes to show just how futile it is to attempt blocking servers in the internet where it takes a few keystrokes to change a client. It also brings up the point of how much further the US will go in its attempt to shut up the internet and ways to bypass such seizures. An interesting analysis out of TorrentFreaks contemplates a BitTorrent based DNS which would make shutting down sites virtually impossible.
In a direct response to the domain seizures by US authorities during the last few days, a group of established enthusiasts have started working on a DNS system that can’t be touched by any governmental institution.
Ironically, considering the seizure of the Torrent-Finder meta-search engine domain, the new DNS system will be partly powered by BitTorrent.
In recent months, global anti-piracy efforts have increasingly focused on seizing domains of allegedly infringing sites. In the United States the proposed COICA bill is explicitly aimed at increasing the government’s censorship powers, but seizing a domain name is already quite easy, as illustrated by ICE and Department of Justice actions last weekend and earlier this year.
For governments it is apparently quite easy to take over the DNS entries of domains, not least because several top level domains are managed by US-based corporations such as VeriSign, who work closely together with the US Department of Commerce. According to some, this setup is a threat to the open internet.
To limit the power governments have over domain names, a group of enthusiasts has started working on a revolutionary system that can not be influenced by a government institution, or taken down by pulling the plug on a central server. Instead, it is distributed by the people, with help from a BitTorrent-based application that people install on their computer.
According to the project’s website, the goal is to “create an application that runs as a service and hooks into the hosts DNS system to catch all requests to the .p2p TLD while passing all other request cleanly through. Requests for the .p2p TLD will be redirected to a locally hosted DNS database.”
“By creating a .p2p TLD that is totally decentralized and that does not rely on ICANN or any ISP’s DNS service, and by having this application mimic force-encrypted BitTorrent traffic, there will be a way to start combating DNS level based censoring like the new US proposals as well as those systems in use in countries around the world including China and Iran amongst others.”
It is sad that the US (and soon other) government has forced enthusiasts to find increasingly shady means of avoiding suspension of free speech. We are confident that the Wiki case is by far not the last one where a website will be shut down for distributing "disagreeable" content. We are also confident that the kind of response espoused by Lieberman today will only make reprisals by the likes of Wiki that much more potent.