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

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.
Carl Bildt
Chair of the GCIG
Carl Bildt served as Sweden’s foreign minister from 2006 to 2014, and was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994, when he negotiated Sweden’s EU accession. A renowned international diplomat, he served as EU Special Envoy to the former Yugoslavia, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, UN Special Envoy to the Balkans, and Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference.
Dae-Whan Chang
Dae-Whan Chang is chairman of the Maekyung Media Group, which includes the Maeil Business Newspaper and Maeil Broadcasting Network. He served as Acting Prime Minister of Korea (2002), chairman of the Korean Association of Newspaper (2005-2010), chairman of the board at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts (2008-2011) and member of the National Competitiveness Council (2008-2013). He serves as board member of World Association of Newspapers and founder and executive chairman of World Knowledge Forum.
Latha Reddy
Latha Reddy served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1975 to 2011. She was Ambassador of India to Portugal and Thailand and Consul-General in Durban, South Africa. She was Secretary (East) in the Indian Foreign Ministry, overseeing Indian foreign policy in Asia. She also has extensive experience in multilateral and regional diplomacy. She was appointed as the Deputy National Security Advisor and Secretary, National Security Council Secretariat from 2011 to 2013.
Nii Quaynor
Nii Quaynor is chairman of the board of directors at National Information Technology Agency. He pioneered Internet development and expansion throughout Africa for nearly two decades, establishing some of Africa’s first Internet connections and helping set up key organizations, including the African Network Operators Group. He is a member of the IGF Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi
Sultan is a UAE-based commentator on Arab Affairs writing for numerous local and international publications including The National, Gulf News, The New York Times, Financial Times, and the Guardian. He tweets prolifically @SultanAlQassemi and has over 270,000 followers and was listed in the “140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011” by Time Magazine. He is a non-resident fellow at the Mohamed Bin Rashid School of Government in Dubai.
Patricia Lewis
co-Director of the GCIG
Patricia Lewis is research director of international security at Chatham House. In previous positions, she has been deputy director and scientist-in-residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Middlebury College, and director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.
Dominic Barton
Dominic Barton is the global managing director of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He served as McKinsey’s chairman in Asia from 2004 to 2009, and led McKinsey’s office in Korea from 2000 to 2004. Dominic is an active participant in many international fora, including the World Economic Forum, Le Cercle des Économistes: Les Rencontres Économiques d’Aix-en-Provence, the Asia Business Council, and the China Development Forum.

Research Advisors

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.
Sarah Box
Research Advisor
Sarah Box is counsellor to the Directors in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), providing support to the Directors in the management and co-ordination of the activities of DSTI. Since starting in DSTI in 2007 Sarah has worked on a variety of public policy areas, most recently analysing issues of Internet openness (for the Digital Economy Policy Division). Her other research areas have included human resources for science and technology, the OECD Innovation Strategy, public research organizations and the shipbuilding industry. Before joining the OECD, she worked as a senior research economist at the Australian Productivity Commission, and as an economist at the New Zealand Treasury.

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