PC Magazine quoted a CBS guest column by Syracuse University School of Information Studies Professor Milton Mueller about the recent United States government proposal that would allow national governments to veto the creation of general top-level domain (gTLD) names during the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) process.

“The Department of Commerce is trying to put governments in control of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS),” Mueller was quoted as writing. “In an extraordinary reversal of the original U.S. approach to Internet governance, it is proposing that policies developed by ICANN be thrown out and replaced with policies approved by its Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).”

ICANN is set to meet in San Francisco on March 13 and March 18, 2011 to discuss a number of suggested gTLDs. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which oversees the domain name issue for the Department of Commerce, stated that the proposal was justified because it would prevent certain countries from blocking entire gTLDs, like .gay or .humanrights, and creating a “fragmented Web.”

The proposal allows any member of the GAC to veto the proposal for a gTLD for any reason. If no other member objects to the veto, the gTLD will not be created.

PC World wrote, “Mueller said that governments typically “scratch one another’s backs” and likely wouldn’t object to things like China rejecting .humanrights or Saudi Arabia saying no to .gay.”

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).