EU seeks to develop government DNS resolver and block ‘illegal content’


In a document made public earlier this month, the European Commission published a call for proposals for a European government-controlled DNS resolution service. The reasoning behind the proposal is to protect end users’ privacy and keep them safe by applying filtering features to block malware, phishing, and other cybersecurity threats. However, the proposal also suggests that the DNS resolver, named DNS4EU, should also have the ability to block “illegal content”.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a globally distributed database that maps hard-to-remember IP addresses to human-readable domain names like cryptoslate.com. The DNS system has been around since the beginning of the Internet and is a fundamental part of the Internet infrastructure.

The EU wants the independence of the American services

The proposal to develop an EU-based DNS resolver, the part of the DNS system that does the lookup for IP addresses, is perhaps best viewed through the prism of Europe’s efforts to be less dependent on service providers. non-European critical digital infrastructure services, whether cloud services or, as in the case of DNS, global network services.

This has been a clear and open EU strategy for many years, and it’s no secret that, for obvious reasons, ‘non-European’ is a polite way of saying American. In Europe, entire governments basically run on services like Microsoft Office 365 or AWS, and the EU is not comfortable being in such a dependent position.

DNS is no different – the world’s largest DNS service providers are Google and Cloudflare, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the global authority overseeing IP addresses and domain names , is settled in, and according to many, dominated by the United States

“DNS4EU must provide a high level of resilience, comprehensive and EU-specific cybersecurity protection, data protection and privacy in accordance with EU rules, ensure that DNS resolution data is processed in Europe and that personal data is not monetized,” the proposal states.

Parental controls and malware protection

According to the proposal, the DNS resolver is not allowed to monetize user data and must comply with applicable privacy regulations, including GDPR.

In addition to directly serving individuals, the DNS4EU service infrastructure “must offer additional optional services such as free parental controls, as well as paid premium services to improve the performance or security of professional users”, but also be available for Internet backbones that handle traffic. in, from and to Europe.

In addition, the DNS4EU service is expected to provide “industry-leading protection against cybersecurity threats by blocking malware, phishing and other threats based on reliable and up-to-date global threat feeds and own threat feeds developed based on the detection and detection of own threats. analysis as well as information exchange with trusted partners (e.g. CERTs), addressing in particular local threats (e.g. based on EU languages). The corresponding threat detection and analysis infrastructure should be an integral part of the DNS4EU service infrastructure and provide a very high level of protection in the EU.

Is blocking “illegal content” bad for crypto?

Although there are few details at this stage, the European Commission’s proposal appears to also target the filtering or blocking of “illegal content”.

The DNS4EU service could be used to “filter URLs leading to illegal content based on legal requirements applicable in the EU or national jurisdictions (e.g. based on court orders), in full compliance with the rules of the EU”.

The above suggests that crypto sites and services can be blocked by DNS4EU, if, for example, the EU decides to ban cryptocurrencies and related services. At the same time, it could also affect traffic that passes through internet backbones that use the DNS resolver.

As DNS works, nothing prevents service providers or end users from using other DNS resolver providers, unless the EU decides to block them as well, which is highly unlikely. DNS4EU can therefore serve as a complement to existing services for those within the EU who value EU-based digital infrastructure.

Everdome

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