DNS Filtering is an American Innovation

Paul Vixie and some of his fellow DNS experts have published a blog post in The Hill’s “Congress Blog” denouncing the DNS blacklisting feature of the rogue site bills currently working their way through Congress, PROTECT-IP and SOPA. In their view, DNS blacklisting is un-American:

[T]he debate over what we as a society ought to do about online piracy and infringement has gone into the weeds – so much so that bills now pending before both houses of the US Congress (S. 936, PIPA; and H.R. 3261, SOPA) seek to compel American Internet Service Providers to alter fundamentally the way their connected customers access the Domain Name System.

This type of mandated filtering is not an American innovation. Strong governments around the world use DNS filtering to signal their displeasure over all kinds of things they don’t like, whether it be untaxed online gambling, or pornography, or political dissent.

It’s interesting to contrast the view in this new blog post with a post Mr. Vixie published last February announcing the addition of a domain blacklisting feature to the Internet’s most popular DNS server software, BIND, a product maintained by

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No, COICA Will Not Break the Internet


Last fall I wrote an article about Sen. Leahy’s proposed legislation—the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)—that summarized the criticism of the bill and provided a rebuttal to those arguments. Since last year the issue of online piracy has not abated and the opposition to the legislation remains as heated as ever. Since COICA draws heavily on ideas proposed by ITIF in the report “Steal These Policies: Strategies for Reducing Digital Piracy,” I think it is appropriate to respond again to some of these concerns. As part of a two-part blog series, I would like to dive deeper into the two main objections to COICA: 1) that it will break the underlying technical foundations of the Internet and 2) that it is a direct threat to and contradiction of the U.S.’s commitment to global Internet freedom.

In this post, I will address the first objection, i.e. that COICA represents a threat to the technical integrity of the Internet. This argument has been put forth by organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who argue that it will “undermine basic Internet infrastructure” and the Public Interest

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