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Hardcover | Out of Print | 320 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 7 figures | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262014595
Paperback | $25.00 Short | £19.95 | 320 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 7 figures | January 2013 | ISBN: 9780262518574
eBook | $18.00 Short | September 2010 | ISBN: 9780262290135
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Networks and States

The Global Politics of Internet Governance


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.

About the Author

Milton L. Mueller is Professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. He is the author of Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2002) and other books.

Table of Contents

  • Networks and States
  • Information Revolution and Global Politics
  • William J. Drake and Ernest J. Wilson III, editors
  • The Information Revolution and Developing Countries
  • Ernest J. Wilson III
  • Human Rights in the Global Information Society
  • Rikke Frank Jørgensen, editor
  • Mobile Communication and Society: A Global Perspective
  • Manuel Castells, Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol, Jack Linchuan Qiu, and Araba Sey
  • Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering
  • Ronald Deibert, John Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and Jonathan Zittrain, editors
  • Governing Global Electronic Networks: International Perspectives on Policy and Power
  • William J. Drake and Ernest J. Wilson III, editors
  • Working-Class Network Society: Communication Technology and the Information Have-Less in Urban China
  • Jack Linchuan Qiu
  • Transforming Global Information and Communication Markets: The Political Economy of Innovation
  • Peter F. Cowhey and Jonathan D. Aronson
  • Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance
  • Laura DeNardis
  • Access Controlled: The Policy of Internet Filtering and Surveillance
  • Ronald Deibert, John Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and Jonathan Zittrain, editors
  • Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance
  • Milton L. Mueller
  • Networks and States
  • The Global Politics of Internet Governance
  • Milton L. Mueller
  • The MIT Press
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • London, England
  • © 2010
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
  • For information about special quantity discounts, please email special_sales@
  • This book was set in Stone Sans and Stone Serif by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
  • Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
  • Mueller, Milton. Networks and states : the global politics of internet governance / Milton L. Mueller. p. cm.-(Information revolution and global politics) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-262-01459-5 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Internet-Government policy. 2. Internet-Management. 3. Internet-International cooperation. 4. Internet governance. 5. Telecommunication policy-International cooperation. I. Title. TK5105.875.I57M8445 2010 384.3'3-dc22 2010003179
  • 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  • Contents
  • 1 A Battle for the Soul of the Internet 1
  • I Networks and Governance 15
  • 2 Networks in Action: Three Case Studies 17
  • 3 Do Networks Govern? 31
  • II Transnational Institutions 53
  • 4 World Summit on the Information Society: The State-centric View 55
  • 5 Civil Society Mobilization 81
  • 6 The Internet Governance Forum 107
  • III Drivers of Internet Governance 127
  • 7 IP versus IP 129
  • 8 Security Governance on the Internet 159
  • 9 Content Regulation 185
  • 10 Critical Internet Resources 215
  • 11 Ideologies and Visions 253
  • References 273
  • Index 287


“I recommend this book to professionals in the field, as it is an exploratory analysis that is well supplemented with references to relevant sources.”—Diego Merani, Computing Reviews


“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. Networks and States is required reading for anyone concerned about protecting Internet freedom on a global scale as these battles unfold.”
Laura DeNardis, Yale University, author of Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance
Networks and States is a reasoned and spirited contribution to the debates over the meaning—indeed, the very existence—of Internet governance. There is much to contest in it, which makes it all the more interesting and vital.”
Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University, and author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It
“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. In short, it is exactly what policy scholarship should contribute to a major international issue.”
Peter F. Cowhey, Qualcomm Endowed Chair in Communications and Technology Policy, University of California, San Diego