Lately, the subject of internet censorship has been on my mind a lot, and that shouldn’t be surprising, given this whole net neutrality debate.
So, I was intrigued when a friend introduced me to OpenNIC, which aims to be an alternative, decentralized DNS root.
OpenNIC is a user-owned and controlled top-level network information center (NIC). Its intention is to offer an alternative to established top-level domain (TLD) registries, like ICANN. The list of servers can be found here: OpenNIC Public Servers
The idea behind it, in a nutshell, is like a decentralized internet, somewhat like ZeroNet or Freenet, although OpenNIC hasn’t quite been developed to that point yet. I’m sure if you get into the technical details, they’re quite different – it’s the “decentralized” concept that they have in common.
Actually, this may interest some of you – I know how people like to access unusual TLD names that aren’t part of the usual registry. Well, you can do that with OpenNIC! Among the top-level domains available through OpenNIC are: .bbs, .chan, .cyb, .dyn, .geek, and .pirate. Just those domain names alone make me want to explore this further!
Here’s a list of the current TLDs available on OpenNIC (see OpenNIC – Wikipedia for more info):
Top Level Domain Names on OpenNIC
|.bbs||Bulletin Board System Servers.|
|.chan||Imageboards and related communities (like 4chan).|
|.free||Organizations that support non-commercial use of free internet.|
|.geek||Geeky and nerdy stuff.|
|.gopher||Content delivery using the gopher protocol.|
|.indy||Indy media and arts-related sites.|
|.libre||Similar to .free.|
|.neo||General purpose (might include Keanu Reeves – whoa).|
|.pirate||Internet freedom and sharing.|
…and a few others, which are listed on the Wikipedia article. If you’re interested in discovering some of these sites, check out their search engine grep.geek; at the moment, you could say it’s the “OpenNIC Google.”
Now, like Tor, it may be hard to navigate at first, but that’s part of the fun I’m having with it, personally – just exploring. I have noticed that, as on Tor, a lot of the sites go down frequently, but that doesn’t really bother me anymore. So, let me guess – you’re wondering if there are any “disturbing” links on it?
I’ve come across very few so far, but if I find others, I’ll let you know. There was an interesting site called url.oz, which featured the art of Alex Milea:
Would you consider that disturbing? There was also a site for an organization called Nationalist Front, which is a white supremacy (or is it “alt-right”?) group.
That didn’t surprise me all that much, because there are similar sites on Tor, Freenet, etc., that I’ve come across. Complain all you want, but I’m not linking to that one – it’s easy to find if you join the network.
One other site that I found interesting was called Anarplex, which is at shadowlife.bit. It’s a site involving “crypto-tribes, phyles, crypto-anarchy, [and] agorism.” I had been on their onion site (y5fmhyqdr6r7ddws.onion) before as well, and it had always intrigued me.
Anyway, as I’m fond of saying, disturbing sites aren’t really the point, and they never were. As with Tor and the other networks, the idea behind OpenNIC is to have an independent “internet” that isn’t controlled by ISPs and large corporations.
Oddly, all the people who are obsessed with things like “Marianas Web” might want to check this out – it’s kind of the same idea, being that it’s not part of “the internet” and is run independently.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to ask.
P.S. Here are a few more OpenNIC links for you to explore: