This is an article that I submitted to InfoAnarchy under the title
of "P2P Everything and the Future", they have the distributed bent but
seem to have limited number of visitors, since this article is
ultimately for the attention of the coders who can deliver the dream, I
have re-posted it here.
First some background: I have been on a personal quest for AnonymousEmoney as well
as a growing dis-satisfaction of the DNS system and Intellectual
Property. It seems that the Net has become the playground of lawyers and big business,
recent indications the government interests (mainly the US) have been
behind policy decisions amoungst ICANN (ICANNWatch), just fuels
So I would see myself as sharing many of the views held by those on
this site. Holding views is not enough to make a difference, so this
is about where I would like the landscape to be rolled out...
You may think that DNS is kinda boring and that AnonymousEmoney is a
bit pointless since there is good old cash or PayPal for the
net.addict, but really it comes down to something that is a little more
basic and a lot more important. Peer 2 Peer, is (to quote Grok)
They may not be able to tell you what it is, exactly, but
it's going to be really big.
Here they are actually talking about 'Grove' and it
reflects the whole P2P being the next step in the development of the
Grove is commercial, not to put it down but it does not
really bring anything new. So what exactly is it that is fuelling the
expectation of bigness?
The net started out (and still is) a bunch of computers talking
together with compatible protocols, UUCP for those who can remember was
most definitely person to person (well C2C, but lets not be siliconists
about it). As commercial interests have asserted their influence on
the net, the structure seems to have shifted to a B2P model with
netizens becoming consumers of the corporations (or governments)
products and thoughts.
So why DNS, if you maintain a presence on the net, you need a way for
connections to occur (or there is no 'net'). People have to find you,
to bad if you want to critique a trade mark or share a name with a
famous person, the UDRP is enforced in a way that totally disadvantages
the individual. If you have enough money or political power (really
the same thing), you can litigate a site off the net. Perhaps worse is
that a domain can be taken over and the evidence of its previous
existence is obliterated.
If an internet naming system existed that did not disclose the physical
location or ownership of a sites content then it becomes uncensorable.
Ahh you say, this is just FreeNet?
FreeNet has a long way to come and storing free speech is pretty
pointless if the speech is hidden in a dungeon. MojoNation has micro
payments flying everywhere for anything and still has not totally
escaped from centralized tracking.
What is really needed is some basic infrastructure laid down that for
once and all will eliminate the idea of centralized servers,
particularly DNS root servers. The control of root servers for DNS
essentially controls all policy on sites pointed to by the DNS system.
y Mueller-Maguhn (of the CCC and now ICANN) reported
So, after we agreed that we don't suspect each other to eat up small
children and could just talk to each other as open and honest as the
situation allows, where lot's of other parties expect each other to
about the other. After she said, what I guess she had to say, that ICANN
does not act in the issue of copyright, and I said, what I had to say,
ICANN does act in the field of intellectual property and the more power
has, the more misuse of this power will be upcoming, we had established
some kind of handshake.
What I wanted to know was of course something about the possible room
decisions within ICANN and the possibilities to move in the direction
more open root zone file and a more decentrally structure of
and technical realization.
After she teached me again the well known "no we don't govern and also
have nothing to do with copyright issues" she pointed out, that the
for decisions within ICANN has never been very big, cause the
not only the USG - put great pressure on the control of the DNS and
ICANN in general.
But if this institution - driven now by governmental and industrial
interests - can be changed to anything based on the diversity of
and citizens interests enabling a decentralized structure, that respects
different entitys, free flow of information even if this means the end
controlling non-material goods, is a complete other question. So, for me
is an open question, if this is an ICANN issue.
Here is my reply...
...In my mind if the system is going to change to a truly de-
then some infrastructure needs to be in place to achieve this. That
something that can not be shutdown or controlled by any government
anywhere, with all the power for changes in a distributed web of trust,
outside of legislation, tm-mark laws or UDRP action.
Does anyone have good reason why a linkage of private, corporate and
organizational networks could not be managed in this way?
If corporate wishes to abide by arbitrary rulings (they may well since
they have the lawyers) they can stick with the existing method.
But the free exchange of network addressing in a distributed manner (by
perhaps a FreeNet descendant) is something I think should be pursued and
would result in a truly robust and bottom up run internetwork.
Just imagine a future where domain names are managed via a web of
trust, where disputes never get to court. An internet that can
not be censored!
I am sure you can see that, we are seeing the fits and starts of this
NewNet in its birth throws now as various FreeNet look alikes spawn
looking for success, lets ease this process by exploring the
fundamental structures needed rather than building at the application
Finally I get to the important bit, what's needed. This is also
where I am hoping to see some discussion to point out what I missed.
- Very simple block/message passing like FreeNet
- Tracking of resource use over some fair limit
- accounting for name registration
- accounting for really heavy bandwidth use
- reimbursing administration entities
- Web of Trust mechanism
- consensus method of trust for admin
- must not be hi-jackable
- provide secure anonymous data transport
- Must be able to replace DNS without presenting a single root server
If this is done, I think that the net will regain some of the
freedom that it enjoyed in its early years. The important thing is for
it to be done in a way that can never be perverted again. This brings
me to the money. I am not so naive to think that network resources
come free of charge, ultimately they cost at some point. The whole
ideal of anonymity falls in a big heap if it becomes illegal to pay for
a disputed domain (or its resource charges) in an anonymous data
structure. Thus the whole concept of Free Speech is a sham unless it
is backed by the right to purchase without disclosing true identity...
Also of interest is are some RFC snips that show why DNS root (as it is)
must be controlled.
This would not be an issue if there was no physical root server but
just a distributed representation of one.
for full text.
1.3. Difficulty of Relocating the Root Zone
There is one specific technical respect in which the root zone
differs from all other DNS zones: the addresses of the name servers
for the root zone come primarily from out-of-band information. This
out-of-band information is often poorly maintained and, unlike all
other data in the DNS, the out-of-band information has no automatic
timeout mechanism. It is not uncommon for this information to be
years out of date at many sites.
The DNS type of unique naming and name-mapping system may not be
ideal for a number of purposes for which it was never designed, such
a locating information when the user doesn't precisely know the
correct names. As the Internet continues to expand, we would expect
directory systems to evolve which can assist the user in dealing with
vague or ambiguous references. To preserve the many important
features of the DNS and its multiple record types -- including the
Internet's equivalent of telephone number portability -- we would
expect the result of directory lookups and identification of the
correct names for a particular purpose to be unique DNS names that
are then resolved normally, rather than having directory systems
"replace" the DNS.
There is no getting away from the unique root of the public DNS.
So folks, lets have it, what is the future and how do we get there?
If you have any sort of data which changes over time, and it's 'bookmarked' in some manner, then you will inevitably have fights over who
has the right to determine what people see when they go to those bookmarks.
I think the fight over domain names isn't as bad as people make it out to be, because you can always get a garbage domain name like
raohysnaodeumkaoeu.com and have no worries about trademark infringement (domain names not being free is another matter.)
Immutable data can be handled much better, and distributing it widely is one of the goals of Freenet and Mojo Nation
We developers on Mojo Nation are currently working on making it fully distributed - there's
significant work left to be done, but I have full confidence we'll succeed. P2P protocols are young yet, and the success of Napster
indicates how important they will be in the future.
I have a design that meets many, if not all, of the goals you propose.
It's in a paper submission
that was rejected and has not been formally published.
Just to put this in a little more context. My original research goal was
to develop a PKI without the single point of vulnerability inherent in
hierarchical designs such as VeriSign's X.509-based solution and DNSSEC.
Defining the problem as resistance to attack or compromise of many
nodes, I did quite a bit of research on trust metrics, including the one
implemented here on Advogato.
At the same time, I realized that bolting a PKI on top of the existing
DNS naming system would be completely pointless from the point of view
of security. After all, with ICANN at the top deciding who owns what
names, there is no chance of having a PKI return results consistent with
DNS without a single point of vulnerability.
Thus, I came to the conclusion that an attack-resistant name service
would have to subsume the functions of DNS, rather than being bolted on
top of it. In particular, it would have to automatically implement
policies for registering and modifying names in the namespace.
My paper proposes exactly such a system. I personally favor the
first-come, first-served policy because it is simple enough for just
about anybody to understand. However, my paper goes further than this
and proposes a flexible policy language that allows for a spectrum of
behavior from first-come, first-served to completely centrally managed,
with many interesting points in between. Further, it allows for
different policies at different points in the name hierarchy. I'm
particularly proud of the features which guarantee the security of
subdomains even if the people responsible for root domains are
The design is not fully fleshed out down to the protocol level. However,
I believe it contains a number of good ideas that at least need to be
considered by anybody building a decentralized name system. Also, I
think there's a pretty good chance that my higher-level ideas could be
implemented on top of the Mojo Nation infrastructure, one of the reasons
I've been tracking that project.
Unfortunately, I don't really have time right now to implement this
stuff. I'd be willing to advise someone who is interested and motivated,
though. In any case, you'll probably have fun reading the paper and
seeing how it deals with, at the very least, trust issues involved in