Academic Group Releases Plan to Share Power Over Internet Root Zone Keys (news release)

A group of scholars centered at Syracuse University has published a plan to decentralize authority over the Internet domain name system (DNS) as it transitions to a new, more secure technology known as DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC).At a symposium in Washington, D.C., May 17, the Internet Governance Project (IGP) unveiled a plan to decentralize control over the process of digitally signing the root zone file using public key encryption. The need for the plan was made clear recently when news of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report on DNSSEC implementation triggered international controversy by raising fears that the U.S. government planned to control the “master keys” to the Internet. The IGP proposal would distribute control over the process of signing the root zone file to multiple organizations, all of them nongovernmental in nature, defusing fears that U.S. national security agencies will control the Internet’s DNS root zone keys.According to IGP spokesperson Brenden Kuerbis, the proposal “increases the resilience of the system, eliminates the threat of political interference in Internet administration, and diffuses liability among the entities involved.”DNSSEC is a proposed Internet standard that modifies DNS resource records and protocols to provide security for query and response transactions made between domain name resolvers and nameservers.The international meeting in Washington, “Internet Governance and Security: Exploring Global and National Solutions,” was jointly hosted by SU’s School of Information Studies (iSchool), the George Mason University Law School’s CriticalInfrastructure Protection Program and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne’s Executive Master’s Program in e-Governance. The event brought together legal and policy experts in Internet governance, representatives of the IETF, ICANN, DHS, the U.S. Commerce Department, the Internet Systems Consortium and students from the e-Governance program.The Internet Governance Project (IGP) is a consortium of academic experts who produce research and policy analyses on global Internet governance. Its work contributes to policy discussions in the Internet Governance Forum, ICANN, World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, and related debates at other global, regional and national levels. The goals of IGP are:

  • to inform and shape Internet public policy choices by providing independent analysis and timely recommendations;
  • to identify and analyze new possibilities for improving global governance institutions; and
  • to develop policy positions guided by the values of globalism, democratic governance and individual rights.

IGP’s operational headquarters and three of its six partners are at the iSchool. The iSchool at Syracuse University is ranked No. 1 in the nation for information systems and is a nationally ranked center for innovative programs in information policy, information behavior, information management, information systems, information technology and information services. The school offers an undergraduate degree, certificates of advanced studies, three professional master’s degree programs and a Ph.D.

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