Milton Mueller

Milton Mueller

Professor, Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Joined on September 10, 2004 – United States
Total Post Views: 458,150

About

Milton Mueller is Professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies and XS4All Professor at the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. He is the author of Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2002), and a co-founder of ICANN's Noncommercial Users Constituency. He helped to found and chairs the Scientific Committee of the Internet Governance Project.

Featured Blogs

Booting Up Brazil

The improvised alliance between ICANN and the government of Brazil is now beginning to take shape. The "summit" that President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil announced last month now has a name: the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance. It's no longer a summit, it's a GMMFIG. (Shall we pronounce it gum-fig?) The meeting will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 23 and 24. Don't book your tickets yet, though -- we are still debating how open this meeting will be. more»

Proposed New IETF Standard Would Create a Nationally Partitioned "Internet"

For those worried about the threat of a state-based takeover of the Internet, there is no need to obsess over the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) exclusively. Three Chinese engineers are proposing a way to alter Internet standards to partition the Internet into autonomously administered national networks, using the domain name system (DNS). The idea was not proposed in the ITU; no, it was sent to a multi-stakeholder institution, the granddaddy of the Internet itself, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). more»

When No Action Is the Wisest Action (ICANN Does Good)

Although ICANN is now getting a lot of ridicule for the "glitch" in its TLD application System, it deserves some praise and respect for the results of its April 10 board meeting. In that meeting, the board showed the involved community - and the rest of the world - that it is no longer going to be stampeded by extra-procedural political pressure to make yet another round of hasty amendments to its new TLD program's policies and procedures. more»

We Are All Internet Exceptionalists Now

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its defeat call attention to a delicious irony in public discourse on Internet governance. Even those who don't want the Internet to be an exception from traditional forms of regulation and law are forced to admit that something new and exceptional must be done to bring it under control, such as massive departures from traditional concepts of territorially bounded sovereignty through the use of in rem jurisdiction. more»

TLD Expansion: ICANN Must Not Back Down

ICANN's plan to open up the domain name space to new top level domains is scheduled to begin January 12, 2012. This long overdue implementation is the result of an open process that began in 2006. It would, in fact, be more realistic to say that the decision has been in the works 15 years; i.e., since early 1997. That is when demand for new top-level domain names, and the need for other policy decisions regarding the coordination of the domain name system, made it clear that a new institutional framework had to be created. more»

Of Canaries and Coal Mines: Verisign's Proposal and Sudden Withdrawal of Domain Anti-Abuse Policy

Too many techies still don't understand the concept of due process, and opportunistic law enforcement agencies, who tend to view due process constraints as an inconvenience, are very happy to take advantage of that. That's the lesson to draw from Verisign's proposal and sudden withdrawal of a new "domain name anti-abuse policy" yesterday. The proposal, which seems to have been intended as a new service to registrars, would have allowed Verisign to perform malware scans on all .com, .net, and .name domain names quarterly when registrars agreed to let them do it. more»

Russia and China Propose UN General Assembly Resolution on "Information Security"

On September 12 China, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan released a Resolution for the UN General Assembly entitled "International code of conduct for information security." The resolution proposes a voluntary 12 point code of conduct based on "the need to prevent the potential use of information and communication technologies for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure within States..." more»

Who Wrote Those ICANN Papers, Anyway: The European Commission or the Government of Iran?

The most notable thing about the EC Papers on ICANN, which were leaked by Kieren McCarthy last week, is that they are designed to completely subordinate ICANN as an institution. We have not seen such a comprehensive attack by a government on ICANN since the World Summit on the Information Society. One can infer that this is payback for the Board's decision to not treat the EC's views, expressed in its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), as binding instructions rather than as nonbinding advice. more»

How to Discredit Net Neutrality

On Tuesday (November 30) Internet backbone provider Level3 publicly accused cable-based ISP Comcast of trying to thwart competing video services delivered through the internet. Comcast was, according to Level3, suddenly choosing to charge it more because of its carriage of Netflix traffic. The accusation was consciously framed to raise net neutrality alarms. It appeared as if a cable TV giant was using its control of internet access to make access to a competing, over the top video service more expensive... Then the full story came out. more»

Domain Names as Second-Class Citizens

A new book by Dr. Konstantinos Komaitis (Lecturer in Law at the University of Strathclyde) provides a passionate yet legalistic and well-researched overview of the legal, institutional and ethical problems caused by the clash between domain names and trademarks. This is really the first decent book-length treatment of what is now a decade and a half of legal and political conflict between domain name registrants and trademark holders. more»

At the ARIN Meeting

I have been attending the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) meeting in Toronto. ARIN is one of the RIRs, i.e., the Internet address registry and policy making authority for North America. Although I have observed and participated on RIR lists for some time and interacted with RIR representatives at ICANN, WSIS and IGF, this is the first time I have been able to attend a meeting. I'm glad I did. more»

Cyber-Spin: How the Internet Gets Framed as Dangerous

At the beginning of this year, a set of powerhouse organizations in cybersecurity (CSO Magazine, Deloitte, Carnegie Mellon's CERT program, and the U.S. Secret Service) released the results of a survey of 523 business and government executives, professionals and consultants in the ICT management field. The reaction generated by this survey provides an unusually clear illustration of how cyber-security discourse has become willfully detached from facts. more»

Will Stonewalling on .xxx Be Beckstrom's First Big Mistake?

The .xxx controversy is a legacy of the Bush era. In the dark period of WSIS and the Iraq invasion, ICANN's independence was fatally undermined when a political appointee of the Bush administration, in response to an email campaign from rightwing groups in the Bush "base", issued a direct threat to Paul Twomey that if ICANN approved the .xxx Top-Level Domain (TLD) it would not put it in the root. more»

Will Obama Re-Nationalize ICANN?

Speaking at a Technology University of Delft conference on the internationalization of infrastructures, Professor Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger made some unique and provocative observations about the future of the ICANN tether to the U.S. government. Mayer-Schoenberger was trying to predict the position of the three main players: the EU, the US and China... more»

Memo to John Markoff: There are No "Do Overs" in History

Think for a moment of the enduring legacy of African slavery in America. Think of the way it tainted this country's culture and politics; think of the bloody Civil War, the ghettos... What if we could roll back the clock and ensure that our society was "designed" so that slavery was never permitted and never happened? ... But what if I told you that my computer science lab was working on a "new Internet" that would solve all the terrible security and privacy problems of the existing one? Would you find this claim more credible than a proposed retroactive solution to the problem of slavery? more»

One Good Outcome from the Wall Street Journal: Google Flap

On Monday the Wall Street Journal published an article alleging that Google was trying to arrange a "fast lane for its own content" with telecom carriers and contending that Google and Professor Lessig were in the midst of changing their position on network neutrality policy. The WSJ reporters received a lot of flak for the piece -justifiably so. There was no real "news" in this news article. more»

Is It Time to Create a Market for IPv4 Addresses?

It's fascinating to watch the Internet technical community grapple with policy economics as they face the problems creating by the growing scarcity of IPv4 addresses. The Internet Governance Project (IGP) is analyzing the innovative policies that ARIN, RIPE and APNIC are considering as a response to the depletion of IPv4 addresses. more»

Homeland Security Department Was Warned About DNSSEC Key Ownership and Trust Issues

The Internet Governance Project has unearthed a consultancy report to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that makes it clear that the issue of root signing and DNSSEC key management has been recognized as a political issue within the US government for long time. more»

Another Whois-Privacy Stalemate

The report of the Whois Working Group was published today. The Working Group could not achieve agreement on how to reconcile privacy and data protection rights with the interests of intellectual property holders and law enforcement agencies. So the Working Group Chair redefined the meaning of "agreement." See the full story at the Internet Governance Project site. more»

XXX Comes to a Head

Just when you thought the .xxx affair couldn't get any worse, it does. I'm beginning to think that ICANN's approach to TLD approval was cooked up by a demented sergeant from Abu Ghraib... Now, after the triple x people negotiated with ICANN's staff a contract that met all prior objections, and heads into what should be its final approval, word is that a few ICANN Board members are leaning in a negative direction. What is the reason? A group of pornographers has organized a campaign against .xxx, flooding ICANN's comment box with overwhelmingly negative remarks. more»

Europeans Moderate GAC Principles, But…

A U.S.-led Task Force in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) released version 3 of its "Whois Principles" in preparation for the ICANN meeting in Brazil, where it will be debated and finalized. European countries pushed back against U.S. Government efforts to stop ICANN from respecting privacy concerns in its handling of domain name registrant contact data... more»

Assault on State Censorship at the IGF

Knee-jerk UN haters in the US are fond of pointing horrified fingers at the presence of China, Syria and other authoritarian states whenever global governance is mentioned. See for example Declan McCullough's slanted piece in CNET. They might be surprised to learn that the UN Internet Governance Forum has opened the opportunity for a major assault on Internet blocking and filtering, and put repressive governments on the defensive by heightening awareness of the practice and pressuring them to justify it or change it... more»

Another View of the New ICANN-DoC Agreement

The new MoU, called a Joint Project Agreement (JPA) is a cosmetic response to the comments received by NTIA during its Notice of Inquiry in July 2006. The object seems to be to strengthen the public's perception that ICANN is relatively independent. But the relationship between the USG and ICANN is fundamentally unchanged. In one important respect, the JPA has actually increased direct US intervention. more»

New WHOIS Definition Survives Marrakech ICANN Meeting

For now, it appears that the new, more technically focused and privacy-friendly definition of the purpose of Whois survived the Marrakech meeting. The U.S. Government and the copyright and law enforcement interests mounted a major onslaught against the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) action, using the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) as their pressure point.  more»

Send a Message to NTIA

The Internet Governance Project is is urging Internet users everywhere, but especially those outside the United States, to respond to the NTIA Notice of Inquiry with the following statement: "The Internet's value is created by the participation and cooperation of people all over the world. The Internet is global, not national. Therefore no single Government should have a pre-eminent role in Internet governance. As the US reviews its contract with ICANN, it should work cooperatively with all stakeholders to complete the transition to a Domain Name System independent of US governmental control." more»

XXX Litigation Looms

The XXX drama isn't over. Today ICM Registry announced that it would file a reconsideration request with ICANN and a judicial appeal to challenge redactions and omissions from the internal US government documents released to it under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. These could prove to be opening moves in a more extended round of litigation. In connection with its judicial appeal, ICM Registry released 88 pages of internal US Commerce Department documents obtained under the FOIA showing how the U.S. handled its application. more»

Why Don't GAC Representatives Follow Their Own National Law?

A few weeks ago ICANN's domain name policy making organ (the GNSO) decided that the purpose of Whois was domain name coordination and not compulsory surveillance of domain name registrants. The US and Australian governments expressed their opposition. The US government's lack of concern for privacy is well known. But what about Australia? The Australian ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) representative, Ashley Cross, tried to use his authority as "a government" to intimidate the GNSO, sending it a message announcing that "Australia" supports a broader definition of Whois purpose that gives ICANN a blank check... What does "Australia" really support, however? more»

In Historic Vote on WHOIS Purpose, Reformers Win by 2/3 Majority

It has taken almost three years -- by some counts, more than 6 years -- but ICANN's domain name policy making organization has finally taken a stand on Whois and privacy. And the results were a decisive defeat for the copyright and trademark interests and the US government, and a stunning victory for advocates of the rights of individual domain name registrants... more»

Put Free Expression on the Internet Governance Forum Agenda

The Internet Governance Project has joined free-expression advocacy organizations Reporters Without Borders and Article 19 to push for including Internet censorship and filtering problems on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a multistakeholder deliberation body created by the World Summit on the Information Society... more»

How to Build an Internet Governance Forum

Public consultations on the new "Internet Governance Forum" being created by the United Nations will be held in Geneva February 16-17. The Internet Governance Project has released a new discussion paper explaining how the Forum could work. The Forum must be as open as possible and give all stakeholders equal participation rights. Its deliberations must be wide-ranging and resist politically motivated barriers to discussion. And its products must feed into other, more authoritative Internet governance forums. more»

The XXX Train Wreck in Vancouver

It is now clear that by sending its letter of August 12 blocking approval of the .XXX domain, the US Government has done more to undermine ICANN's status as a non-governmental, multi-stakeholder policy body than any of its Internet governance "enemies" in the ITU, China, Brazil, or Iran. And despite all the calls for a government role that would ensure "rule of law" and "accountability" of ICANN, the interventions of governments are making this aspect of Internet governance more arbitrary and less accountable. more»

Five More Years! There Was No "Deal" and WSIS Resolved Nothing

The basic problem posed by WSIS was the role of national governments and national sovereignty in global Internet governance. That conflict remains completely unresolved by the WSIS document. The document's thinking is still based on the fiction that there is a clear divide between "public policy" and the "day to day operation" of the Internet, and assumes that governments should be fully in control of the policy-setting function. Moreover, new organizational arrangements are being put into place which will carry on that debate for another 5 years, at least. The new Internet Governance Forum is a real victory for the civil society actors, but also fails to resolve the basic issue regarding the role of governments and sovereignty. Although called for and virtually created by civil society actors, the language authorizing its creation asks to involve all stakeholders "in their respective roles." In other words, we still don't know whether this Forum will be based on true peer-peer based interactions among governments, business and civil society, or whether it will reserve special policy making functions to governments. more»

A Further Look Into ORSN

Most commentators on Vixie's astounding message have gotten sidetracked. People don't seem to see the most important feature of his statement: Vixie's endorsement of Open Root Server Network (ORSN) is based on explicitly political criteria. As ORSN says on its web site: "The U.S.A (under the current or any future administration) are theoretically and practically able to control "our" accesses to contents of the Internet and are also able to limit them. A manipulation of the Root zone could cause that the whole name space .DE is not attainable any more for the remaining world - outside from Germany." So ORSN sees this as a "backup"... more»

A Global Dialogue around WSIS Prepcom 3

As a contribution to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Internet Governance Project, led by Professor Derrick L. Cogburn, is supporting a web-based Global Deliberative Dialogue on Internet Governance, from 19-30 September 2005. The purpose of this Global Dialogue is to raise awareness of Internet Governance, to broaden participation in the policy debate, and to provide concrete input into the final deliberations during the Third Preparatory Meeting for the WSIS, taking place concurrently with the Global Dialogue in Geneva. more»

IGP Asks You to Weigh in on the USG's .xxx Intervention

Responding to the .xxx intervention by the US Commerce Department, the Internet Governance Project has produced a "STATEMENT OPPOSING POLITICAL INTERVENTION IN THE INTERNET'S CORE TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS." You can view the statement here and add your name as a signatory at the bottom. Over 60 people have endorsed it. The Statement claims that "The NTIA's recent intervention in the .xxx proceeding undermines assurances" that the U.S. government's special unilateral authority over ICANN "would never be used to shape policy but was only a means of protecting the stability of the organization and its processes." The NTIA's open acknowledgment of the influence of religious groups made the intervention particularly dangerous. more»

.XXX Puzzle Pieces Start to Come Together: And the Picture is Ugly

Americans who worried about governments somehow "running" the Internet through the United Nations failed to see the Trojan Horses that were rolled into ICANN's structure in 1998: the Governmental "Advisory" Committee and the special US Government powers over ICANN. The attempt by the US Commerce Department to "recall" the delegation of .xxx to ICM Registry due to pressure from deluded right-wing groups in the US who think that it will add to pornography on the Internet is a major inflection point in the history of ICANN, and could represent the beginning of the end of its private sector/civil society based model of governance. more»

The Ultimate Solution to Internet Governance: Let ITU and ICANN compete

Controversies over ICANN led to the creation of the Working Group on Internet Governance, but so far there have been few specific proposals for change. The Internet Governance Project has entered that breach with a new policy paper: "What to Do About ICANN: A Proposal for Structural Reform." The proposal, by Hans Klein and myself, proposes three clean, clear but probably controversial solutions to the criticisms that have been made of ICANN. more»

NTIA Nixes Privacy Protection in Whois

Many registrars have gotten complacent about reforming the Whois-Privacy relationship. After all, they can sell additional privacy protection to their subscribers for an extra $5-10. Seems like a perfect "market oriented" interim solution, as the so-called "bottom up" policy development process of ICANN figures out how to provide tiered access. Not so fast. more»

NCUC Group Releases Nominations

The Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is the constituency group representing civil society organizations in the formation of domain name policy. In August 2004 it initiated a process to nominate people to serve on the UN Secretary-General's Working Group on Internet Governance, as representatives of civil society. Our purpose was to assist the Secretary-General to identify qualified and widely-supported individuals capable of serving on the WGIG on behalf of civil society. more»

As WGIG forms, Ideas about Defining its Scope Circulate

The Internet Governance Project (IGP) issued a set of reports analyzing the current "state of play" in Internet governance. The reports were commissioned by the United Nations ICT Task Force as an input into the deliberations of the UN Secretary-General's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). The report identifies the international organizations and agreements affecting the Internet, and points out where there are conflicts and gaps. It also takes on the thorny task of defining what exactly is the "Internet" and what falls within the scope of "Internet governance" for the purposes of the WGIG deliberations.  more»