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On the Feasibility of a Censorship Resistant Decentralized Name System

TitleOn the Feasibility of a Censorship Resistant Decentralized Name System
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsWachs, M, Schanzenbach, M, Grothoff, C
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Conference Name6th International Symposium on Foundations & Practice of Security (FPS 2013)
Date Published10/2013
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Conference LocationLa Rochelle, France
KeywordsDNS, GNS, GNU Name System, GNUnet, PKI, SDSI, Zooko's Triangle

A central problem on the Internet today is that key infrastructure for security is concentrated in a few places. This is particularly true in the areas of naming and public key infrastructure. Secret services and other government organizations can use this fact to block access to information or monitor communications. One of the most popular and easy to perform techniques is to make information on the Web inaccessible by censoring or manipulating the Domain Name System (DNS). With the introduction of DNSSEC, the DNS is furthermore posed to become an alternative PKI to the failing X.509 CA system, further cementing the power of those in charge of operating DNS.

This paper maps the design space and gives design requirements for censorship resistant name systems. We survey the existing range of ideas for the realization of such a system and discuss the challenges these systems have to overcome in practice. Finally, we present the results from a survey on browser usage, which supports the idea that delegation should be a key ingredient in any censorship resistant name system.

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