Safeguarding India's Internet Independence - Continuity despite Hostility

Let me not write a lot of oft regurgitated drivel on why it is important, but rather how we can do that.

One of the things that our babus dont seem to realize is that ultimate control of the internet lies with the US.


Through the DNS system, which is ultimately controlled by IANA, and therefore by ultimately the U.S Department of Commerce. There have been a flurry of articles recently which attempt to justify the status quo. Essentially it can be summed up into a single line.

The United Nations is corrupt like hell, so let the DNS stay where it has and let the Land Of the Free manage it.

Now how does this affect a sovereign nation?

The DNS system is like a telephone directory - when you type in an address into your browser, say, it finds the corresponding IP address (for my related posting on IP Version 6, see here and here). The IP address is the only real way a computer can connect to the actual website - your browser therefore goes ahead and connects to the website.

Now, technically even if the directory stops working, you can technically use the IP address to go visit websites. But that is not how the content on the internet is structured - people write websites and link to other websites using names not addresses. Search engines will also start having problems listing your website - if it is unreachable using the name. In times of hostilities, when information warfare and propaganda can turn the tide of victory, it is very easy to see what happens when a nations websites are unreachable by the 99% of the population, because… names can no longer be associated with IP addresses.

Solution: It is stupid to assume toothless organizations like the U.N can do any better. It is also stupid to assume that we can go all alone by creating another DNS hierarchy (which by the way, can only be done by India, if at all). The third and best alternative is to enter into a collaboration with an organization that has been trying to do exactly this for some time now: OpenDNS. As of now, India does not host any servers associated with the OpenDNS network - that could easily change if the government mandates that all our ISP’s serve through OpenDNS. To take up the huge load, we could put up additional financial investment (which should not be more than a few million dollars) into OpenDNS.

As India and the OpenDNS enter into a symbiotic relationship, it will grow into a fault tolerant alternative DNS system, operating out of the Asia Pacific region (I believe that the closest OpenDNS servers, right now, are in Hong Kong), thus ensuring Internet continuity for the Indian state.


Safeguarding India's Internet Independence - Continuity despite Hostility


May 28, 2009

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