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Networks and States

Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance

Milton L. Mueller
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Networks and States
    Book Description:

    When the prevailing system of governing divides the planet into mutually exclusive territorial monopolies of force, what institutions can govern the Internet, with its transnational scope, boundless scale, and distributed control? Given filtering/censorship by states and concerns over national cybersecurity, it is often assumed that the Internet will inevitably be subordinated to the traditional system of nation-states. In Networks and States, Milton Mueller counters this, showing how Internet governance poses novel and fascinating governance issues that give rise to a global politics and new transnational institutions. Drawing on theories of networked governance, Mueller provides a broad overview of Internet governance from the formation of ICANN to the clash at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the formation of the Internet Governance Forum, the global assault on peer-to-peer file sharing, and the rise of national-level Internet control and security concerns. Internet governance has become a source of conflict in international relations. Networks and States explores the important role that emerging transnational institutions could play in fostering global governance of communication-information policy.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-28966-5
    Subjects: Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. 1 A Battle for the Soul of the Internet
    (pp. 1-14)

    A distinctive global politics is developing around the Internet. Like global trade and environmental policy, Internet governance has become a point of international conflict among states and a target of transnational policy advocates from business and civil society. This book examines Internet governance as a basis for contentious politics and institutional change at the global level. It shows how the problem of governing the Internet has proven to be a disruptive force in international relations and tries to explore where it is leading us.

    In 1997 we asked,can the Net be governed?¹ By 2008, that question had lost its...

  4. I Networks and Governance

    • 2 Networks in Action: Three Case Studies
      (pp. 17-30)

      Networkhas become a trendy term. We are said to live in a networked society or, even more grandly,thenetwork society.¹ Instead of the wealth of nations, we read about the wealth of networks.² Political scientists searching for new labels to describe the ferment in global governance have joined this parade. We hear of global public policy networks,³ transgovernmental networks,⁴ transnational advocacy networks,⁵ and networked governance.⁶

      Like all pregnant metaphors, the network concept can be stretched too far or applied indiscriminately. The potential for insight—and confusion—is magnified in discussions of Internet governance because there we are addressing...

    • 3 Do Networks Govern?
      (pp. 31-52)

      The cases in chapter 2 provided concrete demonstrations of ways in which networks of actors leveraging the capabilities of the Internet can create issues of Internet governance. We now delve deeper into the concepts of network organization and networked governance as they have developed in the social sciences. This chapter looks atnetwork organizationas a theoretical construct and attempts to clarify what this kind of thinking really can (and cannot) do for the analysis of Internet governance.

      The discussion is especially concerned with the claim that networking is itself a form of governance. We will find much that is...

  5. II Transnational Institutions

    • 4 World Summit on the Information Society: The State-centric View
      (pp. 55-80)

      The rise of an Internet centered in the United States was a disruptive event in the system of international relations formed around communication and information policy. It is only natural that such a disturbance would provoke a reaction and adjustment. The United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) provided the institutional vehicle for the reaction. This chapter describes the politics of WSIS. It is portrayed as a clash between two models of global governance: one based on agreements among sovereign, territorial states; the other based on private contracting among transnational nonstate actors, but relying in some respects on...

    • 5 Civil Society Mobilization
      (pp. 81-106)

      In addition to its encounter with ICANN, the WSIS process pushed against another frontier of global institutional change. It experimented with efforts to make international organizations more open and democratic by facilitating the participation of nonstate actors. This, too, had long-term effects, leaving in its wake a new transnational policy network on Internet governance and a new UN organization, the Internet Governance Forum.

      These changes need to be placed in a broader context. Globalization has extended aspirations for democracy and participation from national to international institutions. Traditionally, international organizations were structured to represent governments, not people. There is no global...

    • 6 The Internet Governance Forum
      (pp. 107-126)

      At the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005, the United Nations responded to the institutional innovation of ICANN with an innovation of its own, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). IGF has been described as if it were a pathbreaking innovation in global governance.¹ It has also been dismissed as a meaningless talk shop.² Whichever is right, the IGF constitutes a clear departure from sovereignty-based forms of international organization. In creating the forum all the WSIS signatories, including the most hard-core authoritarian governments, agreed to abandon a privileged and exclusive role for themselves and to participate in Internet policy...

  6. III Drivers of Internet Governance

    • 7 IP versus IP
      (pp. 129-158)

      As Internet protocol began to spread virally over telecommunication networks in the early 1990s, a T-shirt sported by Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the protocol, proudly proclaimed “IP on everything!” A few years later, Cerf’s T-shirt motto became “Everything on IP!” as he celebrated the coming together of all modes of communication—voice, data, video—on the Internet platform.¹

      To Cerf, IP meantInternet protocol. But to most lawyers IP has a different connotation. It is an acronym forintellectual property: a contested umbrella term² that encompasses the law of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Until about 1994, the...

    • 8 Security Governance on the Internet
      (pp. 159-184)

      From a news story “Desperate Botnet Battlers Call for an Internet Driver’s License”: “Internet-crime fighters from security companies, law enforcement agencies, banks and e-commerce sites huddled at a secretive conference last week to confer on new tactics in the war on cybercrime…. A few audience members argued seriously that computer users should have to take a test to get an Internet license, maintain botnet insur ance and have their machines inspected for information-super highway worthiness.”¹

      Securityhas become a generic watchword that signals the downside of the Internet’s openness and freedom. Security more often than not is associated with efforts...

    • 9 Content Regulation
      (pp. 185-214)

      In the summer of 2008, the British mobile telecommunication service provider Vodafone announced that it would block access to Web sites with child pornography and racist content in the Czech Republic. That content was, Vodafone claimed, so “socially dangerous … that we have access to it automatically blocked for all of our customers.” Six months later, Czech resident Radim Hasalik, who runs a technology blog, discovered that the carrier’s filter was also blocking him. In fact, it blocked several other innocent sites under the .cz (Czech Republic) country domain: a few other tech blogs, a chat server, a business directory,...

    • 10 Critical Internet Resources
      (pp. 215-252)

      During and immediately after WSIS, the termcritical Internet resourcesbecame the code word for policy debate over the ICANN regime and all that it represented. Insofar as the phrase had any substantive meaning, it referred to the governance of Internet standards, domain names, and IP addresses, and to the interconnection and routing arrangements among Internet service providers.¹ It was recognized that name and number resources provided one of the few points of global leverage over the operation of the Internet—and that these were precisely the aspects of networks that states had almost no control over.

      WSIS is already...

    • 11 Ideologies and Visions
      (pp. 253-272)

      The World Summit on the Information Society was just the most public symptom of the Internet’s profound impact on the global politics of communication and information. While it was the management of critical Internet resources that provided the flashpoint for WSIS, we have seen how the regulation of Internet content, the protection of copyrights and trademarks, and issues of communicative privacy and security are all being transformed by similar forces. We also have seen how new forms of networked governance and peer production have emerged across these policy domains.

      Yet even as an Internet-enabled world challenges the state as the...

  7. References
    (pp. 273-286)
  8. Index
    (pp. 287-313)