Syracuse University School of Information Studies Professor Milton Mueller was a featured panelist at the annual State of the Net Conference in Washington, D.C., this week. Sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus, the conference brings together some of the most prominent technology policy experts and industry leaders to discuss Internet policy, including such issues as privacy, security, telecommunications regulations, intellectual property, and innovation.

On January 18, Mueller discussed “Can the U.S. Continue to Support a Free Global Internet in the Age of Wikileaks, Cyberwar and Rampant Copyright Piracy?” Others serving on that panel were Stuart Baker, a highly regarded Washington attorney who and was the Department of Homeland Security’s first Assistant Secretary for Policy; David Israelit, president and CEO of National Music Publishers’ Association; and Mark MacCarthy, professor at Georgetown University.

“Homeland security and national security are only of value if our homeland maintains liberty and due process for its citizens,” Mueller said. “All too often, the cause of ‘protecting’ us from various threats seems to involve treating all of us as criminals or prisoners. My belief is that even with all the obvious problems associated with Internet-based crime that the freedom and openness of communications has been a tremendous gain. To question the value of freedom because of inevitable social problems caused by new human capabilities is to get our priorities backwards; we need security only insofar as it enhances freedom, not as a trade-off.”

The two-day conference attracted more than 500 people, with more than half of those individuals who work as government policy staff members. Keynote addresses were delivered by Verizon’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Tony Melone; Director of the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement John Morton; U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry; and U.S. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

“The conference is a great way to interact with Washington policy makers and industry lobbyists over the key Internet policy issues,” Mueller said.

Mueller teaches courses on information and communication policy and telecommunication management at the iSchool. His research focuses on property rights, institutions and global governance in communication and information industries. In October, MIT Press released Mueller’s pivotal book, Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance, a book analyzing the conflict between the culture of the open and free Internet and the governments of territorial nation-states. 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. ( 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).