[IRP] [Expression] openDNS - seems to be a decent way of content filtering
Sun Jul 12 23:34:41 EEST 2009
On 07/12/2009 10:59 AM, Max Senges wrote:
> last night i met someone from www.openDns.com <http://www.openDns.com>
Of course, using DNS as a filter for web traffic is sort of like using a
sledge hammer to open eggs - The problem being that DNS is used by many
other protocols than those used by web browsers. In other words, the
filtering is overbroad. The IETF/IAB/ICANN reports on sitefinder
described this pretty well.
But when a system is voluntary, such as openDNS, who are we to say an
internet thing is bad if a user chooses to do it and that user can stop
using it at any time he/she wants?
(By-the-way, it is only a very short step from things like openDNS to
acceptance of competing DNS root system. And if we, in subsequent
discussion, want to take that step we would find solutions to the new
top level domain [TLD] wars that have shaken ICANN since its inception.)
As far as the community thing goes - As Milton points out it is not
infrequent for that community to have been infiltrated by some people
with extreme views about things. (For example, what about an image or
sculpture of a man being tortured by having his hands nailed to wooden
pieces and then lifted upon those pieces and left to die a slow death?
Described that way some might find that to be pornographic violence.
Many would find that to be Jesus on the Cross.)
For the web there was an interesting system that was developed and
deployed. But it withered a decade ago from non-use. That system,
which is (or at least was) supported by Microsoft's Internet Explorer
was called PICS - Platform for Internet Content Selection -
http://www.w3.org/PICS/ - and as you can see by the URI, it is from the
W3C, the IETF-equivalent for web protocols.
That system allowed the creation (by anyone) of content ranking
authorities and each could use its own criteria Those authorities could
publish their rankings in a PICS defined way and you, as a user, could
chose which authorities, if any, you could honor. Your PICS capable
browser would then use the chosen authority.
It was a good idea, but it kinda faded. It is an idea that is a lot
better than the sledge hammer of DNS filters. PICS is focused on web
content a lot more flexible and capable of better matching user desires
with filtering policies (indeed, in the extreme case, the user can, if
the user wants, form his/her own filtering authority.) PICS also leaves
non-web protocols unfiltered.
Perhaps rather than using DNS as the universal hammer we should revive
better focused and less draconian things like PICS and bring them up to
(But let us also not forget that the path illuminated by openDNS is a
way to solve the new TLD problem - but let's discuss that later in
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