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

Suk-Ho Bang
Research Advisor
Suk-Ho Bang is dean of the College of Law at Hongik University in Seoul. From 2008 to 2011, he led the Korea Information Society Development Institute, which is a broadcasting, telecommunications and Internet policy research institute founded by the Korean government. He has served on the board of the Korea Broadcasting System, co-chaired the Korean Association for Info-Media Law, and led the Cybercommunication Academic Society. Suk-Ho received his J.D. as well as LL.M. from Duke University School of Law, and received his LL.B. from Seoul National University.
Sunil Abraham
Research Advisor
Sunil Abraham is the executive director of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS). CIS is a five year old policy and academic research organization focusing on accessibility, access to knowledge, Internet governance, telecom, digital natives and digital humanities. He founded Mahiti in 1998, a social enterprise that provides technology to civil society for which he was elected an Ashoka fellow in 1999. Between June 2004 and June 2007, Sunil also managed the International Open Source Network, a project of UNDP serving 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Susan Chalmers
Research Advisor
Susan Chalmers works as a Policy Specialist in the Office of International Affairs at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), within the US Department of Commerce. Her portfolio includes matters related to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), intellectual property, and intermediary liability. Susan has been an active member of the IGF Multistakeholder Advisory Group and was previously the Policy Lead for Internet New Zealand, the administrator of the .nz country code Top Level Domain. She holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in French and Piano Performance from the University of Michigan, a JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and an LLM from the University of Auckland Faculty of Law.
Tim Maurer
Research Advisor
Tim Maurer is an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His work focuses on cyberspace and international affairs, with a concentration on global cybersecurity norms, human rights online, Internet governance, and their interlinkages. Tim was director of the Global Cybersecurity Norms and Resilience Project at New America and head of research of New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative. He also gained experience with the United Nations in Rwanda, Geneva, and New York. His research has been published and featured by national and international print, radio and television media, including Harvard University, Foreign Policy, CNN and Slate among others.
Tobias Feakin
Research Advisor
Tobias Feakin joined the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as senior analyst for national security in October 2012. He examines issues relating to national security policy, cyber security, global counter-terrorism, resilience, critical infrastructure protection and the environment and security. He was previously senior research fellow and director of the National Security and Resilience department at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for Defence and Security Studies, in London, and is still a senior associate fellow of RUSI.
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.
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.
Youn Jung Park
Research Advisor
Youn Jung Park is professor in the Department of Technology and Society at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Prior to her work at SUNY Korea, she was a senior research fellow at Economics of Infrastructure section (EvI) at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands. She was the co-founder of the UN WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (2003). Youn Jung holds a Ph.D. in Information, Science and Technology from Syracuse University.
Young-eum Lee
Research Advisor
Young-eum Lee is a professor in the Department of Media Arts and Sciences at Korea National Open University. She has been involved in various Internet governance policy making processes of the Korean domain name .kr at KISA (KRNIC), and has also been involved in global Internet governance activities at ICANN. Since 2003, she has been a council member of the ccNSO representing .kr in the Asia-Pacific region. Young-eum received her M.A. in Communication Science at Northwestern University and her doctorate in Communication from the University of Michigan.

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