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Verisign abusing its domain


The internet is legendary for it's anarchistic nature. Mostly this image is an accurate one - the internet is a large number of interconnected networks with no central authority and no hierarchy.

This is one of its great strengths - individual networks can serve the diverse needs of their customers, changes can be made easily and all businesses and countries can use the internet in the knowledge that no one party can take it over for nefarious ends.

There is, however, one part of the core internet infrastructure that is necessarily hierarchical - the Domain Name Service (DNS). Every computer on the web is uniquely identified with a number, called its IP address. The DNS is the database that maps the names that humans use (like '') to numbers (like

This database is distributed all over the globe, with parts of the database delegated to those who need to change the records - so, for example, the record for '' is held on Google's own DNS servers.

However, this requires a 'root' that is able to indicate where records are held, and that means an organisation is required to administer it. This has always been a bit of an anomaly as far as the internet is concerned - after all, who would appoint such a body, and how would it be held accountable?


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