By: Diane Stirling

A paper written by a School of Information Studies (iSchool) faculty member about the potential impact of deep packet inspection technology on Internet governance and the Net’s future state recently was named to the Top Ten Download list among articles posted on the Social Science Research Network website.

Titled, “The End of the Net as We Know It? Deep Packet Inspection and Internet Governance,” iSchool Professor Milton Mueller’s paper presents “a first attempt to analyze the policies and regulations forming around deep packet inspection from a scholarly and theoretical perspective.” It also explores “the possible future as well as the possible end of the Internet as we have known it,” he explains.

Deep Packet Inspection is a technology that introduces an intelligence into the network that facilitates surveillance and discrimination of data packets moving through it. DPI technology “may, depending on one’s perspective, either change the Internet’s future or mark its end,” Mueller adds.

The Social Science Research Network exists to further the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research. It is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences.

Mueller noted that the paper’s listing on SSRN “generated a lot more interest and reaction” than had been anticipated. He believes that is because people hear about Internet regulatory and privacy issues in the news, then are interested in finding more information that reviews those issues academically and from a more systematic perspective, he said.

The abstract of the paper and downloadable statistics are available at: It was written in concert with Ralf Bendrath, of the European Parliament. Additional comprehensive data can be viewed on Mueller’s website:

Mueller’s recent research exploring the issue of governing the Internet has resulted in two books, Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance and Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace. His research has been cited and utilized by policymakers in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. He is on the international editorial boards of the journals Telecommunications Policy, The Information Society, and Info: the Journal of Policy, Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunication, Information and Media.