Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Wikileaks and Making Sense of DNS

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, December 3 2010

With Wikileaks, the domain name system that makes the World Wide Web work has, kinda amazingly, become central to the global conversation today. And on the off chance that you could use some insight into just how DNS works, the two-and-a-half-minute video above from the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registrars is a concise introduction to the the global, distributed system by which Internet turns IP addresses like 213.251.145.96 into human-intelligible domain names like Wikileaks.org. One thing is certain about this whole Wikileaks episode: it's turning into a real public education about how the Internet and World Wide Web actually work. Turns out, it's not magic!

Now, you might asking yourself, self -- Why does the fact that EveryDNS decided today to stop providing DNS services to Wikileaks mean that the secret clearinghouse's site has to go down? After all, I have my own [mynamehere].com and I've never bothered with any of this DNS mess. In brief, that's because DNS services are generally bundled into a package when you go ahead and register your domain name with a service like GoDaddy.

But EveryDNS is based on the premise that DNS hosting records shouldn't cost you anything, and is particularly appeal to anyone who greater control over their DNS records than is provided by leaving the matter to their domain registrar. Reads the EveryDNS site, "DNS is often compared to the analog equivalent of the White Pages. If this is the case, why do people pay for DNS hosting when their phone number is listed in the white pages for free? We feel that DNS should be free for both listings and lookups, not simply the latter."

And while separating DNS from domain name registration would seem to make sense for an edgy outfit like Wikileaks, but at least one observer thinks that Wikileaks should have paid a bit more attention to the fundamentals behind keeping Wikileaks.org alive for all the world to see. "EveryDNS is a free service with ~500,000 users," tweeted David Ulevitch, EveryDNS' founder. "W[ikileaks] should not be using it. Should do it themselves or pay."

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: All Against All

Why Uber isn't "the future" of cities; why journalists lost control of journalism; how Sean Parker is spending his political money; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Power Frames

The differences between "old power" and "new power"; Uber as a new/old power hybrid; debating Clay Shirky's feminist cred; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Ubermenschens

Surge-pricing in effect for Uber privacy violations; why "privacy" policies should be called "data usage" policies; pols silent on Uber mess; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Uber Falles

Uber exposed for plan to dig up dirt on journalist critics; sneaking a SOPA provision into the USA Freedom Act; high-speed free WiFi coming to NYC; and much, much more. GO

More