The Internet is a well established entity these days. When was the last time “the Internet” was down? Exactly.
But while we are used to the physical networks resilience to all sorts of technical, human, and political problems, there is one crucial service running on these networks that is largely unregulated – DNS and the root servers. These are the servers that popularized the Internet as we know it, letting people go to google.com instead of having to memorize 18.104.22.168.
If you control these servers, you effectively control a huge part of what makes the Internet so useful. These servers, currently operated by the United States, are facing pressure to be transfered to international control and increase accountability for everyone involved.
I found a pretty interesting take on how badly managed the existing system has become, and what needs to change to make accountability a factor.
The system has worked so far because everyone has been reasonable at compromise, but it’s current state is fragile. The author raises the alarmist sounding but still possible scenario: Imagine a nation who declares war on the US, and consequently has its VoIP traffic intercepted because skype.com resolved into a US military intermediary for that country’s network addresses? The DoD already runs root server G and the Army H – the technical know how is certainly there.
The future of what we know of as the Internet is potentially in for some changes.