A BitTorrent-based DNS system has been proposed to combat the government's ability to seize domains at will.
Reacting to recent seizures, like this week's Cyber Monday crackdown, which shut down 82 domains, a group of Internet enthusiasts are working on a peer-to-peer-based system that will not rely on the current system.
DNS refers to the Domain Name System. DNS converts human-legible addresses like www.huffingtonpost.com into numerical IP addresses. The DNS keeps internet information stable and consistent, even if routing arrangements change; it is the phone book of the Internet. At the very top of the system are root servers, which are run by ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN manages root zones in the DNS on behalf of the U.S. government, as well as maintaining popular domain suffixes like .com, .org, etc.
The proposed BitTorrent based DNS will be protected from government shutdown. Currently, ICANN's control of the DNS allows them to easily shut down "misbehaving" domains. The Dot-P2P project, as it has dubbed itself, will decentralize the DNS system by distributing the system through an application that can be installed on the computer. The new system would run on a .p2p domain suffix.
"By creating a .p2p TLD that is totally decentralized and that does not rely on ICANN or any ISP's DNS service...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," the project's mission statement reads.
Peter Sunde, co-founder of the torrent site Pirate Bay, is one of many P2P community members supporting the cause. "We want the internet to be uncensored!" he wrote in a blog. "Having a centralised system that controls our information flow is not acceptable."