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Shadow DNS is in the works: Do we need a second Internet? | IT Security |

December 11, 2010

When the Internet was first created under the auspices of academic and military institutions in the United States, part of the design goal was decentralization so that it could survive damage to arbitrary sections of the complete network. A big concern at the time was the ability of the nascent Internet to continue functioning as a whole even after key sites had been destroyed by nuclear attack.

Years later, in a 1993 TIME interview, EFF co-founder John Gilmore said “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” This has, to some extent, proven true over the years. When small, regional organizations try to impose censorship controls on segments of the Internet, technology seems to almost magically find ways to bypass those controls.

Gilmore’s quote makes things sound a lot more one-sided than they have appeared to be in recent years, however. China gets a lot of press for its “Great Firewall of China”, by which a lot of Internet traffic available around the world is filtered out of availability for residents of China. Some savvy Internet users find ways to get around the filtering, but many do not — and those who do run the risk of getting in trouble with a government widely recognized to treat peaceful protest as a crime. China has reinforced its international reputation with high profile activities like cracking Google security to gain access to information about dissidents.

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