The technology blog CNET recently posted an interview of Scott Seitz, CEO of dotGay that featured the expertise of Syracuse University School of Information Studies Professor Milton Mueller. The article, entitled “The coming fight over .gay domain” details the controversy over not only the institution of the .gay domain, but the recent proposal by the Obama administration that would allow national governments to veto the creation of general Top Level Domains (gTLDs) during the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) process for any reason.
Mueller, who recently published a book on Internet governance, said that officials in conservative Arab countries have made it clear that they’ll try to veto .gay and the proposal by the United States would seriously inhibit free speach on the Internet.
Seitz, who also serves as the founder of SPI Marketing, a “full service” gay marketing, public relations and event planning agency, is asking ICANN to approve the creation of .gay and says that the creation of the domain is essential to create “a venue for enhancing our ability to interact with each other as a community.”
The US government claims that the creation of objectionable domain names, like .gay, will make it easier for countries to censor Internet content, essentially creating a “fragmented internet.”
Mueller wrote on the Internet Governance Project blog, “Such expression could be blocked regardless of whether it contains content or words that are illegal in the objecting country; it can be suppressed regardless of whether it is illegal under international law; it can be suppressed regardless of whether it is legal and protected speech in the applicant’s own jurisdiction and markets. The U.S. is proposing that suppression take place because some government official doesn’t like it. Welcome to the 17th century.”
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. 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).