DNS providers may be forced to block internet hijacking websites

In a possible sign of things to come, Sony has won a key lawsuit in Germany that could force domain name service providers (DNS), such as Quad9 and possibly others (Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, Cloudflare, etc.), to block access to a website due to internet copyright infringement (hacking).

A DNS supplier will generally endeavor to convert internet protocol (IP) in human readable form and vice versa (eg. at examplezfakedomain.co.uk). Most of these services tend to be provided automatically by your broadband and mobile service provider, thus running seamlessly in the background, without you ever really knowing.

However, it is also possible to replace your ISP’s DNS with that of a free third-party service, like the ones mentioned earlier (there are many more). The vast majority of you probably won’t feel the need to use custom DNS providers, but if your ISP starts injecting content (ads, etc.) and filtering systems into your website navigation, or suffers from a fault / is slow with its own DNS system, then you may decide to try a third-party service.

Suffice to say that those with a little more computer literacy often prefer to use a free third-party provider in order to benefit from the potential improvements in performance, privacy and security. On the flip side, it’s also true that some people will use them to bypass DNS-level blocking of websites by ISPs, some of which will have been imposed by a court-ordered injunction (frequently used in the UK by ISPs). copyright holders).

Naturally, rights holders are aware of this, and after forcing the UK and other ISPs around the world to block websites for internet hacking, some of them are now turning to DNS providers. Torrent monster reports that Sony Music seems to have dealt the first blow by obtaining an injunction in the Hamburg District Court, which requires the Swiss non-profit DNS resolver Quad9 to block access to a music piracy site.

The court reportedly ruled that the DNS service was not eligible for the liability protections often enjoyed by other third-party intermediaries, such as ISPs and domain registrars. The court also appeared to accept Sony’s argument that Quad9 already blocks problematic websites (for example, those that contain malware – viruses, spyware, etc.), despite being a very different consideration.

Quad9 CEO John Todd said:

“Quad9 draws its intelligence on threats from skilled malware and phishing experts, not claims from parties without relevant expertise. We would be unable to maintain our 98% success rate in blocking cyber threats if we accepted contributions based on self-serving claims rather than forensic and expert analysis. “

DNS provider and owner (s) now run the risk of being fined 250,000 euros through “counterfeit”DNS request, plus potentially 2 years in prison, if they don’t comply with the injunction (seems a bit excessive). On top of that, we could imagine that many other rights holders might rush to make use of it for similar websites. Naturally, Quad9 intends to appeal and the battle is therefore not over yet.

The case also raises the question of how long it may be before rights holders turn their attention to Virtual private network (VPN), although many of them exist in countries where such cases might struggle to come to a positive conclusion. The catch is that these legal proceedings are very expensive and the costs rise quickly, both for rights holders and DNS providers.

At this point, it doesn’t matter what the English court system thinks about this approach – although under current laws they can potentially grant a similar injunction – as many of the aforementioned DNS providers are based outside the UK. In short, when it comes to DNS providers, cases raised in other countries may affect the services used by people in that country. Quad9 may soon become an example.

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