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... Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)....


The bill will undermine the Internet's Domain Name System and massively increase data traffic costs. As Internet engineers warned in an open letter in September, COICA will cause serious long-term problems for the Domain Name System (DNS), which translates names like "" into IP addresses like "". Today, there is very little controversial censorship occurring in the global DNS, though countries like China and Iran are exceptions. If the United States government begins to use its control of critical DNS infrastructure to police alleged copyright infringement, it is very likely that a large percentage of the Internet will shift to alternative DNS mechanisms that are located outside the US. This will cause several indirect but serious problems:

  • Inconsistencies between the current official DNS hierarchy and the new censorship-free alternatives. As new domains are added to the official hierarchy, propagation delay inconsistencies will inevitably cause non-blacklisted websites to be unreachable at various times.
  • Currently, almost all high-traffic websites use content delivery networks like Akamai, Limelight, EdgeCast and AmazonAWS to ensure that data never has to travel long physical distances over the network before it gets to your web browser. Because COICA will lead to the widespread adoption of encrypted offshore DNS and other tunneling systems, it will get harder for CDNs to send clients to the right server. Instead of connecting to a data center in their own US city, people will be just as likely to connect to one in Europe or Asia. While modeling is urgently required to establish the precise consequences, this effect could easily result in an increase of 20% or more in the cost of Internet backbone infrastructure.
  • Cybersecurity problems will grow.Currently, ISPs are in a position to keep DNS servers well-maintained and secure, to the benefit of their users. As a large percentage of the population moves to encrypted offshore DNS -- to escape the censoring effects of the procedures outlined in COICA -- those alternative DNS systems will become targets for security attacks. COICA will also complicate the urgently needed process of DNSSEC deployment.


The Case Against COICA | Electronic Frontier Foundation 20101116

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