Bendrath and Mueller are writing about a specific network technology—deep packet inspection (DPI)—and its potential to affect the free flow of information on the internet. Deep packet inspection makes it possible for network administrators to look at the contents of individual packets in real time. In the ten years since this article appeared, this technology has filtered down to the consumer level; many routers and network appliances offer features that show in real time where network traffic is going and what kinds of applications are in use. This is also the technology that makes it possible to curtail certain kinds of activities on a network (such as banning BitTorrent activity, or throttling bandwidth for video streaming). Bendrath and Mueller's article argues that DPI poses a significant challenge to Internet governance, raising questions about censorship and the rights of internet service providers (ISPs) to control what happens on their networks.
Warf discusses internet censorship from a global perspective, evaluating worldwide internet usage and suggesting that government barriers to internet availability are an effective form of censorship; he equates a country's level of access to the internet with its overall "freedom." Warf's point is that for many countries, the advantages of internet availability come with a significant risk of political instability that comes with open communications with other parts of the world. Internet use has the potential to undermine government control, and its availability in many countries is therefore tightly controlled.