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iSchool's Milton Mueller writes new book on global politics of Internet governance

October 13, 2010

Margaret Spillett
(315) 443-1069

MIT Press has published Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Milton Mueller’s “Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance,” a book analyzing the conflict between the culture of the open and free Internet and the governments of territorial nation-states.

mueller“’Networks and States’ is a reasoned and spirited contribution to the debates over the meaning—indeed the very existence—of Internet governance,” Harvard University Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain says.

The book draws upon recent theories of networked governance and peer production and shows how they are being applied to the Internet, often as substitutes for more traditional forms of law and regulation, and pioneering new forms of global governance.

Yale Information Society Project Director Laura DeNardis calls Mueller’s book “a brilliant political account of the clash between the new power of transnational Internet governance institutions and the traditional role of the nation-state as the principal mechanism of governance.” She adds that the book is “required reading for anyone concerned about protecting Internet freedom on a global scale as these battles unfold.”

In addition to illustrating the historical evolution of global Internet governance, the book covers four areas of critical governance issues:

  • cyber-security;
  • critical Internet resources (domain names and IP addresses);
  • copyright/trademark protection; and
  • content regulation/censorship.

“Milton Mueller’s account of Internet governance is innovative in its application of network theory, fascinating in its case studies and likely controversial in its policy judgments,” says Peter Cowhey, dean and Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communication and Technology Policy at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego. “In short, it is exactly what policy scholarship should contribute to a major international issue.”

Mueller teaches courses on information and communication policy and telecommunication management. His research focuses on property rights, institutions and global governance in communication and information industries. His earlier book, “Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace” (MIT Press, 2002) was the first book-length analysis of the political and economic forces leading to the creation of ICANN. Currently, he is doing research on the legal and regulatory responsibilities of Internet service providers, Internet Protocol addressing policy, the policy implications of Deep Packet Inspection technology and the security governance practices of network operators.

Mueller was one of the founders of the Internet Governance Project, an alliance of scholars in action around global Internet policy issues (http://blog.internetgovernance.org). As co-founder of the Noncommercial Users Constituency, he has played a leading role in organizing and mobilizing public interest groups in ICANN. Mueller is on the Advisory Council of Public Interest Registry (.org).

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