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

Research Advisors

Leslie Daigle
Research Advisor
Leslie Daigle has been actively involved in shaping the Internet’s practical evolution for more than 20 years. She was an appointed member of the Internet Architecture Board for eight years, and elected as its chair for five of those years. Leslie was most recently the Internet Society’s first Chief Internet Technology Officer. She is currently principal at ThinkingCat Enterprises, where she has launched the online InternetImpossible.org storybook of the Internet’s experienced global impact.
William Dutton
Research Advisor
William Dutton is professor of Internet studies at the Oxford Internet Institute and Fellow at Balliol College. Prior to his current position, he was a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. William has published and edited numerous articles, chapters, and books related to the impact of the Internet on society, politics and research.
Ahmed Abdel-Latif
Research Advisor
Ahmed Abdel-Latif is currently Special Assistant at the Office of the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). From 2007 to 2015, he was Senior Programme Manager for Innovation, Technology and Intellectual Property at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). As an Egyptian career diplomat, he worked at the Permanent Mission of Egypt in Geneva (2000-2004). He has taken an active part in international debates on intellectual property, innovation and development. He holds an LL.M in International Law (LSE), a BA in Political Science (American University in Cairo) and the Diplome of Sciences Po Paris.
Nanette S. Levinson
Research Advisor
Nanette S. Levinson is Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, School of International Service, American University, and Co-Director of the Internet Governance Lab. She is a past Chair of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet), the ISA’s International Communication Section, and APSA’s Information Technology and Politics Section. Her research/writings focus on knowledge transfer and innovation in a range of complex, cross-organizational, and cross-cultural settings especially internet and global governance. She received her bachelor’s, master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.
Clem Herman
Research Advisor
Clem Herman is a senior lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications at the UK Open University, and was previously director of the Manchester Women’s Electronic Village Hall (WEVH) pioneering the use of ICTs to empower women. She has published widely on gender issues in technology and is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Gender Science and Technology.
Gareth Owenson
Research Advisor
Gareth Owenson (né Owen) is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth where he conducts research into large distributed systems with a particular interests in cryptographic applications such as darknets. He holds a PhD from the same institution (awarded 2007) and a BSc in Internet Technology. Gareth has many publications in journals and conferences and regularly serves as a referee for Elsevier, IEEE and CHINACOM. He has also advised the UK and US governments on darknets and Internet filtering. Gareth is presently the course leader for the undergraduate programme in Forensic Computing from which graduates are highly sought in the British cyber-security sector.
Peng Hwa Ang
Research Advisor
Peng Hwa Ang is director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre and professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University. He was a member of the 2004 Working Group on Internet Governance and he went on to co-found and serve as inaugural chair of both the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) and the Asia-Pacific Regional IGF (APrIGF).
Jeanette Hofmann
Research Advisor
Jeanette Hofmann is a political scientist with a focus on Internet governance. She heads a research group on Internet policy at the Berlin Social Science Center, is co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, and professor for Internet policy at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her current research interests include multi-stakeholder processes and the role of technical, legal and social norms in Internet regulation.
Slavka Antonova
Research Advisor
Slavka Antonova is a professor and graduate director at the University of North Dakota, Communication Program. She has conducted an original research program on the power dynamics in ICANN and the IGF, and the multistakeholder process in global Internet governance, which has yielded one book, Powerscape of Internet Governance: How was Global Multistakeholderism Invented in ICANN? (2008), two book chapters, and a number of journal articles and conference presentations. Slavka was engaged in the leadership of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) between 2008 and 2010. She is vice-chair of the law section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).
Laurent Elder
Research Advisor
Laurent Elder leads IDRC’s Information and Networks program, which aims to better understand how information networks can be used to promote open, inclusive and rights based information societies in the South. From 1999 to 2004, Laurent was in Senegal at IDRC’s office for West and Central Africa. There, he worked with the Acacia initiative, a program looking into the impact of information and communication technologies in Africa. Laurent holds an international M.B.A. and a M.A. in history, both from the University of Ottawa.

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