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The Internet is approaching a critical point. The world is running out of Internet addresses. Internet engineers developed a new technical protocol, IPv6, to address this problem but IPv6 adoption has barely begun because of technical, cultural, and economic constraints. DeNardis’s key insight is that technical standards are political. IPv6 serves as a case study for how protocols more generally are intertwined with socioeconomic and political order. IPv6 intersects with provocative topics including Internet civil liberties, U.S. military objectives, globalization, institutional power struggles, and the promise of global democratic freedoms. DeNardis offers recommendations for Internet standards governance, based not only on technical concerns, but also on principles of openness and transparency, and examines the global implications of looming Internet address scarcity versus the slow deployment of the new protocol designed to solve this problem.
Dr. Laura DeNardis is the Executive Director of the Yale Information Society Project. She is a scholar of Internet governance and architecture, teaches at Yale Law School, and is the author of Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (The MIT Press 2009), Information Technology in Theory (Thompson 2007 with Pelin Aksoy), and numerous book chapters and articles. Her upcoming edited collection, Opening Standards, the Global Politics of Interoperability, is in press and will be published by The MIT press in 2011. DeNardis received a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech, a Master of Engineering degree from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College.