How to Browse the Internet with SOPA

published December 21st, 2011 | categories: how-to, Informational | all categories

SOPA, or Stop Online Piracy Act sounds like a good deal from the outskirts. However, everyone should be very afraid that our Internet will be taken from us. You’re right, the internet is not a right. The government did not build the internet, the people did. In my opinion, the internet is the last of the true free areas of self-expression remaining on the planet. If placed into legislation, the government would have broad ranging powers to label domains as having pirated content. This label would cause sites like reddit.com and other community contributed sites to likely go offline.

If SOPA is enacted, the sites themselves may not go offline, rather the domain naming system, the service responsible for translating domain names to IP addresses will be compromised. However, if SOPA is enacted, you still have a few options to view your favorite websites.

Browse by IP Address – DeSOPA

Developer T Rizk offers this add-on as proof of concept that SOPA will not help prevent privacy and will only do major harm:

The program, implemented as a Firefox extension, simply contacts offshore domain name resolution services to obtain the IP address for any desired website, and accesses those websites directly via IP. Similar offshore resolution services will eventually maintain their own cache of websites, without blacklisting, in order to meet the demand created by SOPA.

If SOPA is implemented, thousands of similar and more innovative programs and services will sprout up to provide access to the websites that people frequent. SOPA is a mistake. It does not even technically help solve the underlying problem, as this software illustrates. What it will do is give undue leverage to predatory organizations, cripple innocent third party websites, severely dampen digital innovation and negatively impact the integrity and security of the Internet.

I tested various sites including reddit.com, google.com, and others to see how DeSOPA functions with the major players. If a domain name can resolve to an IP address, it can be viewed without  DNS. Name resolution is really what it is all about here. Sites like reddit.com likely use VirtualHosts, which means that there are more than 1 domain name to an IP address.

Ping to Find IP

Finding the IP address of a domain is simple. Using Mac, Linux or Windows, open up a command prompt and ping the domain. The ping command will resolv the IP address, as seen below. Once you have an IP address, you can navigate to the site directly, without DNS.

Switch to DNS Providers outside the United States

Using Tier 2 DNS is the more advanced method to bypass United States SOPA restrictions and will slow things down a bit. However, if SOPA passes, it may be the only way to browse the net the way it was meant to be - http://www.opennicproject.org/

MAFIAAFire Redirector

Rather than mess around in your hosts file or keep a list of alternative domains and copy/paste this add-on automatically redirects you to the correct alternate site. This plugin is available for Mozilla Firefox only; get it at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/mafiaafire-redirector/.

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