What Zittrain Doesn’t Get by Milton Mueller

Milton Mueller is exercised following comments by Professor Jonathan Zittrain and links this to a paper by Dawn Nunziato. Nunziato, as Mueller notes, challenges “the prevailing idea that ICANN’s governance of the Internet’s infrastructure does not threaten free speech.”Zittrain’s comments that provoked Mueller are that Zittrain finds “it hard to really care if ICANN wants to allow some names and deny others.” Mueller is astounded! And says, “Only someone completely divorced from the realities of international politics and Internet control could make such a comment.” Zittrain posts a length reply where he repeats “I don’t believe that domain names and ICANN matter a lot” and “There are so many more threats to free speech online, along so many different dimensions, by actors both public and private, that to put so much emphasis on ICANN and domain names is a shame. One virtue is that the debates appear to be attracting lots of government officials who otherwise would be spending their time seeking to regulate some other aspect of the Net.” Mueller then provides a response to Zittrain’s comments.

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