The Internet Is Being Slaughtered in the Back Room
by Paul Rosenberg
by Paul Rosenberg: It's
Happening Faster Than Even I Thought
rightly complained about SOPA, the "UN Takeover," and
other abuses of the Internet by governments, but all these publicized
abuses were minor. The real nasty deeds are taking
place in back rooms right now, among engineers who are trading
away Internet freedom for mere paychecks.
As the article
linked above says, "If civil society activists and technologists
both had a better appreciation of [technical things]... they would
be paying far more attention to this than they paid to the WCIT."
(WCIT was the "UN Takeover.")
HAPPENING IN THE BACK ROOM
As I say, the
real dirty deeds are currently happening in the back room. Here's
what they are:
a group called the Secure Inter-Domain Routing Working Group
is working on a technology called Secure Border Gateway Protocol,
or BGPSEC. (You may remember than I
warned about BGPSEC a couple of years ago.)
BGP is how
autonomous networks tell each other which IP addresses are available
behind them, and it is utterly necessary for a dynamic Internet.
No BGP would mean no Internet.
exchanged over BGP is not currently verifiable, and that can be
a problem, especially because of a nasty spying scheme called hijacking.
The fix for this involves the verification of unique resources (like
IP addresses), but BGPSEC is only one possible solution, among several.
(and by a key protocol called RPKI) a permanent hierarchy
is created: rigid, centralized and mandatory. It is a solution to
highjacking, but at the cost of complete dominance.
be given out without hierarchy, like Bitcoin does for currency.
The people pushing BGPSEC, however, are ignoring all such possibilities.
solves hijacking, it also allows the top layers of its hierarchy
to hijack anyone, at any time, and guarantees that no one can hijack
them. In other words, it gives us the centralization of absolute
power – precisely what the Internet once freed us from.
The group that
will distribute resources (like IP addresses) is called IANA,
and it is, more or less, controlled by the US State Department.
can use another protocol (Neighborhood Discovery) to take
over any IP address they want – even a single IP address.
So, the people
at the top of the BGPSEC pyramid will be able to shut down a whole
country or a single troublemaker, as they wish. They can also spy
on anyone they wish to, and prevent anyone from spying on them.
IT BE FORCED UPON US ALL?
In a word,
There are technical
difficulties with BGPSEC. The required cryptography, for example,
is not simple, and it may slow down route changes (which is a big
deal). But another core protocol called DNSSEC had similar issues,
and it became a standard anyway. People threw resources at the problem
and got used to it. The average user never knew.
The same thing
will happen with BGPSEC. The bosses will compromise at some level,
slide it into the arena, and before too many years it will become
mandatory. There will be fewer highjacking attacks, but the Internet
will be fully enslaved and the US will be a super-empowered spymaster.
As I say, the
technical discussions for this are going on right now, and the free
Internet is being destroyed as we speak.
Who wants this?
The military-industrial-intel-control-fetish complex, of course.
contractors and US government agencies (like the National Institute
of Standards & Technology) are the big pushers. The process
works, more or less, like this:
- A real routing
problem is identified by researchers.
- A clever
contractor proposes a control-friendly solution.
- An agency
- The funding
- The contractor
writes an even more appealing proposal.
- The agency
None of this,
you understand, requires that the problem being addressed is the
same problem that operators actually face. Rather, the problem addressed
will be the problem that the agencies care about.
who actually run things are complaining about BGPSEC. (The archives
of the debate can be found here.)
These complaints, however, will either be ignored, or will be used
to write still more proposals, with more contractors being hired
to address the problems.
At the base
of it all, however, are engineers – smart guys – who are willing
to do whatever they are asked, so long as they get a paycheck. They
are forging electronic chains for humanity, and passing it all off
as "a harmless piece of software," or, "a systems
DO WE DO?
You want an
easy answer? A free fix? Well, tough luck, I don't have one, and
neither does anyone else.
answers went away a long time ago. No one wanted to hear them;
instead, they wanted free services and flashing iGadgets. Now, we're
all stuck with harder options.
What to do?
You can start by protecting yourself, as I've explained in the past.
You could also face up to where this is all going, as I've explained
in the past too. (See here
And even more
fundamentally than that, you can stop servicing Leviathan. If you'd
like some ideas on how to do that, you can start with actions
(not talk) like these:
- Opt out
of the old culture and start building a new culture.
- Turn off
the TV and start talking about other things. Let people think
- Learn why
from the rigged system.
- Be different.
Let people see that you are different. Spend time with others
who are also different.
- Stay away
from politics in all its forms.
If all of these
things are too hard for you, then you are rightly and truly screwed.
Rosenberg [send him
mail] is the CEO of Cryptohippie
USA, a leading provider of Internet privacy technologies.
© 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.