The End of the Net as We Know it? Deep Packet Inspection and Internet Governance

33 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2010

See all articles by Ralf Bendrath

Ralf Bendrath

European Parliament

Milton Mueller

Georgia Institute of Technology

Date Written: August 4, 2010


Advances in network equipment now allow internet service providers to monitor the content of data packets in real-time and make decisions about how to handle them. If deployed widely this technology, known as deep packet inspection (DPI), has the potential to alter basic assumptions that have underpinned Internet governance to date. The paper explores the way Internet governance is responding to deep packet inspection and the political struggles around it. Avoiding the extremes of technological determinism and social constructivism, it integrates theoretical approaches from the sociology of technology and actor-centered institutionalism into a new framework for technology-aware policy analysis.

Keywords: Internet governance, Internet regulation, Deep Packet Inspection, Privacy, Surveillance, Censorship, Internet service providers, Actor-Centered Institutionalism, Disruptive technology, Socio-technical systems, Network Neutrality, Social Construction of Technology, Technological Determinism

Suggested Citation

Bendrath, Ralf and Mueller, Milton, The End of the Net as We Know it? Deep Packet Inspection and Internet Governance (August 4, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Ralf Bendrath

European Parliament ( email )

Bât. Altiero Spinelli
60 rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
Brussels, B-1047

Milton Mueller (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

School of Public Policy
Schhol of Cybersecurity and Privacy
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States
404-385-4281 (Phone)


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