India to have own DNS for safe browsing

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‘Move will also ensure domain name server availability to smaller providers’

The government will soon roll out a public Domain Name Server, or DNS, for India aimed at providing a faster and more secure browsing experience for Internet users in the country, while ensuring that citizens’ data is stored locally.

A DNS is a like a directory for the Internet. It helps to convert domain names that are easy for people to remember into IP addresses, which are used by computers/machines to communicate. If the DNS is either slow or fails to work, users will not be able to locate web addresses.

“The main aim of bringing our own public DNS is to ensure availability, particularly for smaller Interest Service Providers (ISPs) who don’t have credible DNS. Bigger ones usually have their own DNS,” an IT Ministry official said.

Pointing out that there were other open DNS servers, including Google Public DNS, the official said the government’s system would prevent users from visiting malicious websites.

The roll-out, which will be executed by the National Informatics Centre – the technology arm of the government – will be completed in the next four to six months, the official said. NIC is already using the public DNS within the government network.

‘Mechanism in place’

Asked if the move would enable the government to block content or help in surveillance, the official said, “If the government wants to block a website, we have a mechanism in place. We can send a list to the ISPs for reasons such as child porn or fake news, and they have to comply with the order.”

“If you use any public DNS, they access and use all your data. It is not that users will compulsorily need to shift to India public DNS. A user is free to choose any DNS,” the official said, adding that with the government’s public DNS, Indian users’ data would be stored within the country.

The ministry, as part of its ongoing awareness campaign for safer Internet, also plans to reach out to end-users to educate them on DNS and how they could shift to an Indian public DNS if they desired.

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