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

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.
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.
Hartmut Glaser
Hartmut Glaser is executive secretary of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and serves on the board of directors of LACNIC. He has served as special adviser to the dean of Escola Politécnica at the University of São Paulo, special adviser to the rector of the University of São Paulo, and special adviser to the president of the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo.
Joseph Nye Jr.
Joseph Nye Jr. is a University Distinguished Service Professor and former dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard University. He has served as assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs, chair of the National Intelligence Council, and deputy undersecretary of state for Security Assistance, Science and Technology.
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.
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.
Mathias Müller von Blumencron
Journalist Mathias Müller von Blumencron is editor-in-chief digital media at the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Prior to his current appointment, Mathias was an editor-in-chief of Germany’s leading weekly Der Spiegel, where he managed all digital products, and editor-in-chief of Spiegel Online, which he built into Germany’s most successful and award-winning news site.
Melissa Hathaway
Melissa Hathaway is a CIGI distinguished fellow and president of Hathaway Global Strategies LLC. She is also a senior advisor at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and the Chairman of the Council of Experts for the Global Cyber Security Center in Italy. She served in two US presidential administrations, where she spearheaded the Cyberspace Policy Review for President Barack Obama and led the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative for President George W. Bush.
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.
Michael Spence
Michael Spence is the William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, and the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economics Association in 1981. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.

Research Advisors

David Clarke
Research Advisor
David Clark is a senior research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where he has worked since receiving his Ph.D. in 1973. Since the mid-1970s, David has been a key figure in the development of the Internet; from 1981 to1989, he acted as chief protocol architect in this development, and chaired the Internet Activities Board. His current research looks at re-definition of the architectural underpinnings of the Internet, and the relation of technological architecture to economic, societal and policy considerations.
Deborah Brown
Research Advisor
Deborah Brown is Global Advocacy Lead for the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) where she focuses on the intersection of the human rights and internet governance. Deborah engages in international advocacy for APC, and facilitates the engagement of APC members at forums such as the UN Human Rights Council, the Internet Governance Forum, World Summit on Information Society, and the International Telecommunications Union, among others.
Divina Frau-Meigs
Research Advisor
Divina Frau-Meigs is professor of Media and ICT sociology at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France. She is a specialist of Cultural Diversity, Internet Governance and Media and Information Literacy (MIL) as well as a researcher in the media uses and practices of young people. She holds the UNESCO chair “Savoir-devenir in sustainable digital development”. She coordinates the French National Agency Project TRANSLIT, on the convergence between media, information and digital literacies (www.translit.fr). She is responsible for the implementation of the European project ECO, producing MOOCs on digital humanities (www.ecolearning.eu). She is the scientific expert on the Erasmus + ECFOLI project that promotes strategies for conflict resolution via MIL (www.ecfoli.eu/fr). She also conducts a research mapping youth online radicalisation for UNESCO. She currently is the co-chair of the European Chapter of GAPMIL, the Global Alliance of Partners for MIL. She is co-founder of the Know*ing initiative for rebooting the Internet via education 3.0 and new literacies.
Emily Taylor
Research Advisor
Emily Taylor is a renowned expert in the field of Internet law and governance, and provides research services in areas including security, IPv6 deployment, internationalised domain names, the domain name industry, and global policy development. Her roles in the Internet sphere include chair of the WhoIs Review Committee for ICANN 2012, member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group to the IGF (2006-2012), director of Synetergy (providing Sunrise Dispute resolution services to the largest gTLD applicant, Donuts), and several ongoing non-executive directorships.
Eric Jardine
Research Advisor
Eric Jardine is a research fellow in the Global Security & Politics program at CIGI (and soon to be assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech). His research focuses on trends in cybercrime and the Dark Web. He is the author (with Fen Hampson) of the book, Look Who’s Watching: Surveillance, Treachery and Trust Online.
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.
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.
Harsha V. Singh
Research Advisor
Harsha V. Singh specializes in trade policy, development, infrastructure regulation and global governance. Currently Senior Associate at ICTSD (Geneva), he joins Brookings India as Executive Director and Senior Fellow in August 2016. He has been Deputy Director-General at WTO, secretary of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, chair/member of high level policy committees and WTO dispute settlement panels, and taught in China, India and the US. He is a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. in Economics from Oxford University.
Hernan Galperin
Research Advisor
Hernan Galperin (Ph.D., Stanford University) is Research Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Previously, he was Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Technology and Society at the Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina). He is also a Research Fellow at CONICET, the national science council of Argentina, and Steering Committee member for DIRSI, an ICT policy research consortium based at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP) in Lima, Peru.
Izumi Aizu
Research Advisor
Izumi Aizu has dedicated more than 25 years to studying and promoting Internetworking in Japan and the Asia-Pacific. Izumi started to focus on Global Internet Governance in the mid 1990s. He was the planning manager at the Center for Global Communications, and is now the Executive Director for the Institute for HyperNetwork Society and professor at Institute for InfoSocinomics of Tama University, giving advice to major Japanese telecommunications companies.

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