Technology Liberation Front has released three shining reviews of Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Milton Mueller’s Networks and States. In addition, Mueller also talked about Wikileaks in the context of the book on the Surprisingly Free podcast.

The first post on the Technology Liberation Front describes the reviewer, Adam Thierer’s excitement in receiving Mueller’s book because “As a fan of Net-related political taxonomies and philosophical paradigms, I couldn’t help but quickly jump ahead to the very interesting concluding chapter on ‘Ideologies and Visions,’ in which Mueller examines ‘the political spectrum of Internet governance.’”

The second post, the full length review of Mueller’s book, states that though the subject matter of Internet governance can be dry, “Mueller finds a way to make them far more interesting, especially by helping to familiarize the reader with the personalities and organizations that increasingly dominate these debates and the issues and principles that drive their actions or activism.” Thierer sees the most important aspect of Mueller’s book as his call for Internet freedom.

“Mueller has done something quite important in Networks and States: He has issued a call to arms to those who care about classical liberalism telling us, in effect, to get off our duffs and get serious about the fight for Internet freedom,” writes Thierer

In the third post, Thierer lists Networks and States as one of the 10 most important books on information technology policy, calling Mueller “a sort of de Tocqueville for cyberspace; an outsider looking in and asking questions about what makes this new world tick. Fifty years from now, when historians look back on the opening era of Internet governance squabbles, Milton Mueller’s work will be among the first things they consult.”

Mueller identifies four areas of conflict and coordination generating a global politics of Internet governance in Networks and States:

  • intellectual property,
  • cyber-security,
  • content regulation, and
  • the control of critical Internet resources (domain names and IP addresses).

He investigates how recent theories about networked governance and peer production can be applied to the Internet, offers case studies that illustrate the Internet’s unique governance problems, and charts the historical evolution of global Internet governance institutions, including the formation of a transnational policy network around the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society).

In addition to these reviews, Mueller also recently applied his knowledge of Internet governance to the recent Wikileaks release of Diplomatic cables in a podcast for Surprisingly Free, a weekly broadcast “featuring in-depth discussions with an eclectic mix of authors, academics, and entrepreneurs at the intersection of technology, policy, and economics” that linked to the aforementioned reviews.

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.