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The AFNIC Scientific Council shares its report on DNS-based Internet filtering

January 7, 2013

The AFNIC Scientific Council has studied the technique of DNS-based Internet filtering and is sharing its report.

While Internet filtering using the DNS (Domain Name System) is often cited in the fight against cybercrime and serves as input material for discussions on net neutrality, the AFNIC Scientific Council has studied the technique, the means for implementing it, the theoretical extent to which its objectives are met and the collateral effects it may or may not cause.


As an Internet registry operator, AFNIC is responsible for the effective functioning of DNS resolution under the .fr, .re, .tf, .wf and .yt Internet zones. The registry plays an active role in the international bodies involved in discussing, standardizing Internet core protocols.


The study by the AFNIC Scientific Council shows that DNS filtering is a technique that can theoretically be used to relocate the decision to authorize or prohibit the access to a domain name at the level of the country or a telecom operator. Circumventing these measures is technically simple, however.


The adoption of technologies such as DNSSEC could also be disrupted. Finally, the effectiveness of the measures usually advocated to bolster confidence in e-commerce sites, including checking the URL in the browser bar, would be diminished.


This therefore indicates that the collateral effects of large-scale implementation of DNS-based filtering on Internet security are extensive. Its effects could permanently weaken the trust seals on which users rely today.


Download the report of the AFNIC Scientific Council: Consequences of DNS-based Internet filtering

[PDF - 76 Kb]


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Afnic (the French acronym for "Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération" i.e. the French Network Information Centre), is a non-profit association. Appointed by the State to manage domain names under the .fr TLD, it promotes use of the namespace by entrepreneurs and individuals. As the incumbent manager of the .fr TLD with more than 3.2 million domain names to date, it is also positioned as a provider of technical solutions and registry services: it currently manages 14 projects for new gTLDs, including .paris and .bzh. Afnic is located in Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where its staff of 80 work for the common good of the French Internet. Afnic donates 90% of the profits from the .fr TLD to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity, which finances inclusive Internet projects in France and its overseas territories.