Half of the world’s population now uses the Internet to connect, communicate and interact. But basic access to the Internet is under threat, the technology that underpins it is increasingly unstable, and a growing number of people don’t trust it to be secure. The Global Commission on Internet Governance provided recommendations and practical advice on the future of the Internet. Its primary objective was the creation of “One Internet” that is protected, accessible to all and trusted by everyone. In its final report, the Commission put forward key steps that everyone needs to take to achieve an Open, Secure, Trustworthy, and Inclusive Internet. 

To take a look at the commission's full body of research, please see: https://www.cigionline.org/series/gcig-research-volumes

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The recommendations in our report are the result of comprehensive planning, consultations, analysis, and the belief in an open Internet for all. Learn more for yourself today and read the report.

Three Possible Futures of the Internet

The Internet as we know it today will not be the Internet of the future. Our actions now will determine how it evolves, for better or for worse. The following three scenarios explore these possibilities—however ideal or troubling they may be, they’re the theoretical result of our choices and actions.

A Dangerous & Broken Cyberspace

The Internet breaks due to malicious activity, and overreaching government regulation. Basic human rights are violated, online privacy is non-existent and government surveillance follows. Criminal data breaches are the norm and cyber attacks become more frequent.   The public loses its trust in the internet and people simply stop using the network. Its potential is truly lost.

Uneven & Unequal Gains Stunted Growth

Some users are able to enjoy some of the many benefits offered by being connected, while others are permanently locked out. Freedom of expression suffers, as does access to knowledge because governments don’t preserve the Internet’s openness. As a result, more than three billion people are left off-line.   Inequality and unrest spread, with minimal cooperation by governments across borders. Sharing and innovation are limited and stifled. Many are left behind.    

Broad, Unprecedented Progress

An open internet that enables unprecedented progress and opportunities for individual freedom, knowledge and innovation. Billions of new users join us online narrowing digital, social, and economic divides. GDP growth reaches upwards of $11.1 trillion by 2025. Government and industry collaborate across borders to manage the risks of online activity. This future requires concrete actions to ensure that the Internet becomes open, secure, trustworthy and inclusive for all.

GCIG Research

Commission

Sir David Omand
Sir David Omand was the first UK security and intelligence coordinator from 2002 to 2005 as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office. Previously, he was Permanent Secretary of the UK Home Office and Director of GCHQ (the UK Sigint and cyber security agency). He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College Cambridge and is Senior Independent Director of Babcock International Group PLC.
Fen Osler Hampson
co-Director of the GCIG
Fen Osler Hampson is a distinguished fellow and director of the Global Security & Politics Program at CIGI. He previously served as director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and is concurrently Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University
Dame Wendy Hall
Dame Wendy Hall is professor of computer science and executive director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, the influence of her work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and emerging research discipline of Web Science.
Marietje Schaake
Marietje Schaake has served as a Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands since 2009 with the European liberal group (ALDE). She serves on the International Trade committee, the committee on Foreign Affairs, and the subcommittee on Human Rights. She is the founder of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda for Europe. She is Vice-President of the US Delegation and serves on the Iran Delegation.
Pablo Bello
Pablo Bello Arellano is a Chilean economist, expert in telecommunications and economic regulation. Pablo was appointed Secretary General of the Asociación Iberoamericana de Centros de Investigación y Empresas de Telecomunicaciones in June 2011. During the presidency of Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010), he served as Vice-Minister of Telecommunications.
Tobby Simon
Tobby Simon is the president of Synergia Foundation, a think tank in India that works closely with industry, polity and academia to establish leading edge practices through applied research in the domains of geopolitics, geoeconomics and geosecurity. He has been an adviser to several international organizations such as the World Health Organization , the European Union and served as the Regional Director for the World Information Technology and Services Alliance.
Angel Gurría
Angel Gurría joined the OECD as secretary-general in June 2006, following a distinguished career in public service. As Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 1994 to January 1998, he made dialogue and consensus-building one of the hallmarks of his approach to global issues. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was Mexico’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit. As OECD secretary-general, he has reinforced the OECD’s role as a “hub” for global dialogue and debate on economic policy issues while pursuing internal modernization and reform.
Dorothy Gordon
Dorothy Gordon is the Director-General of Ghana’s Advanced Information Technology Institute, the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE). She is at the vanguard of ICT development in Africa. Under her leadership, AITI-KACE seeks to bring African innovation to African consumers to forge a sustainable industry of communication technology. Dorothy sits on the board of several technology-based organizations.
Michael Chertoff
Michael Chertoff is chairman and co-founder of the Chertoff Group and senior of counsel, Covington & Burling LLP, was secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009. Previously he was a US Court of Appeals judge and chief of the US Department of Justice Criminal Division.
Pindar Wong
Pindar Wong is the chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd, a discreet Internet financial infrastructure consultancy. He is a Bitcoin protocol enthusiast and chairs ScalingBitcoin.org. Previously, he co-founded Hong Kong’s first licensed ISP in 1993, was the first vice-chairman of ICANN, chairman of the Asia Pacific Internet Association, alternate chairman of Asia Pacific Network Information Center and elected trustee of the Internet Society.

Research Advisors

Jorge Contreras
Research Advisor
Jorge Contreras is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and a Senior Policy Fellow at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of Law. He has written and spoken extensively on the institutional structures and policy implications of intellectual property, technical standardization and scientific research. In addition, he has served as the long-time legal counsel to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and many other organizations involved in standards and technology development.
Stefan Heumann
Research Advisor
Stefan Heumann is member of the managing board of stiftung neue verantwortung, a non-profit think based in Berlin focused on the intersection of technology and public policy. His work covers a wide range of issues, ranging from privacy and cybersecurity to innovation and regulation. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Aaron Shull
Research Advisor
Aaron Shull is CIGI’s Chief of Staff and General Counsel. As General Counsel, he responds to legal inquiries from Senior Management that relate to corporate, contractual, employment, occupational health and safety, intellectual property, dispute resolution, and compliance related matters. As Chief of Staff, he operates as an effective liaison and conduit across all departments, providing guidance and advice on all matters of strategic and operational importance.
Leonid Todorov
Research Advisor
Leonid Todorov serves as deputy director for External Relations in Russia's Internet registry and leads the Russian Internet Governance Forum Steering Committee. Since the onset of Russian reforms, he served for more than a decade as chief of staff to the late Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar. His focus is on Internet governance, new gTLDs, international cooperation and cyber security. He is on the steering group for the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), the ccNSO ICANN Strategic and Operations Plan Working Group, and on the ISOC Advisory Council. Leonid earned his M.A. in Linguistics from Moscow State Pedagogical University and did postgraduate studies in management and business leadership in Copenhagen and Taiwan.
Urs Gasser
Research Advisor
Urs Gasser is the executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and a professor of practice at Harvard Law School. He is a visiting professor at the University of St. Gallen and at KEIO University, and he teaches at Fudan University School of Management. His research and teaching focuses on information law, policy, and society issues.
Chun Eung-hwi
Research Advisor
Chun Eung-hwi is chair of OpenNet Korea and on the board of Korea Green Consumers’ Network. He is involved in several Internet related bodies, including the Korea Internet Governance Association, Korea Consumer Agency and the National Assembly Research Service. Previously, he was a member of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the Korea Network Information Center and DNSO/ICANN. He is a graduate of the KDI School of Public Policy and Korea University.
Michael Schmitt
Research Advisor
Michael Schmitt is Professor of Public International Law at Exeter Law School. He is the Charles H. Stockton Professor and Chairman of the International Law Department at the United States Naval War College. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, senior fellow at the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, and editor-in-chief of International Law Studies. His academic degrees include a D.Litt from Durham University, JD from the University of Texas, LL.M from Yale University, M.A. from the Naval War College, and M.A. from Texas State University.
Erik van der Marel
Research Advisor
Erik van der Marel is a senior economist at the ECIPE. His research is concentrated on international trade with a particular focus on services, global value chains and digital trade. He is currently carrying out research on the cross-border flows of data, as well as developing an index that covers the regulatory cost factors of digital trade, including data transfers across borders. Erik has also been working on many projects for the World Bank related to services and global value chains. Previously Erik was lecturing at the LSE. Erik received his Ph.D. in international economics from Sciences-Po.
Paul Fehlinger
Research Advisor
Paul Fehlinger is the co-founder and manager of the Internet & Jurisdiction Project, a global multi-stakeholder dialogue process developing a due process framework to enable the coexistence of diverse national laws in cross-border online spaces. He started working on Internet governance at Sciences Po Paris and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. He is since actively engaged in the UN Internet Governance Forum, EuroDIG and other global Internet fora.
Jasmina Byrne
Research Advisor
Jasmina Byrne, Senior Research Manager UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, leads UNICEF’s research on children’s rights in the digital age and co-leads the Global Kids Online research initiative. She has also overseen and co-authored several UNICEF studies on family support and child welfare policies, child trafficking and exploitation, internet governance and children’s rights. Jasmina has 20 years of international experience in managing complex child rights and protection programmes in South East Asia, Europe and Southern Africa with UN agencies and civil society.

Partners & Sponsors

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We are the Center for International Governance Innovation: an independent, non-partisan think tank with an objective and uniquely global perspective. Our research, opinions and public voice make a difference in today's world by bringing clarity and innovative thinking to global policy making. By working across disciplines and in partnership with the best peers and experts, we are the benchmark for influential research and trusted analysis. To learn more about CIGI's research on Internet governance, including free online publications, please visit:www.cigionline.org/internetgovernance.


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Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is based in London, UK. Chatham House's mission is to be a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas on how to build a prosperous and secure world for all. Chatham House produces independent and rigorous analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities, while offering new ideas to decision-makers and -shapers on how these could best be tackled from the near- to the long-term. To learn more about Chatham House’s research on cyber security, please visit: www.chathamhouse.org


Sponsors

CIGI, Chatham House and the Commissioners of the GCIG would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors for their generous support which facilitated the work of the GCIG on one of the most pressing global public policy issues of our time, Internet governance.

  • Canadian Copyright Corporation
  • Government of Canada
  • Government of Jordan
  • Government of the Netherlands
  • Government of Sweden
  • Government of the United Kingdom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Al Qassemi
  • International Development Research Centre
  • Kakao Corporation
  • The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Maekyung Media Group
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Ministry of Research and Innovation of the Province of Ontario
  • Oasis500
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Synergia Foundation
  • The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands
  • The Royal Patronage of HH the Crown Prince of Jordan