A CNET article “No Support for U.S. proposal for domain name veto” features quotes from Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Milton Mueller about his recent campaign to prevent the adoption of the Obama administration’s proposal that would allow national governments to veto the creation of objectionable general Top Level Domains (gTLDs) by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“When I started the campaign, I knew that the Department of Commerce could never defend what they were doing publicily,” Mueller told CNET. “There are also potential constitutional issues.”

ICANN, the non-profit governing body that manages Internet addresses and overseen the process of adding new domain suffixes, will be meeting on March 13 and March 18, 2011. At this meeting, the US government was proposing that national governments involved in the ICANN process to assign TLDs be able to veto. If other national governments do not object to the veto, the TLD would not have been created.

The U.S. government had released a statement that stated that the veto power “has merit as it diminishes the potential for blocking of top level domain strings considered objectionable by governments. This type of blocking harms the architecture of the DNS and undermines the goal of universal resolvability (i.e., a single global Internet that facilitates the free flow of goods and services and freedom of expression).”

CNET also reported that complicating the Obama administration’s embrace of a governmental veto was its frequently expressed support for Internet freedoms including free speech, laid out in Secretary of State Clinton’s speech last January that reiterated the adminiatrations commitment to “the freedom to connect.”

Mueller added that he “shamed” the administration “into thinking about the free expression consequences” of a governmental veto.

Mueller is Professor at Syracuse University School of Information Studies, where he 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).