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

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.
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.
Nick Savage
Research Advisor
Nick Savage is the Head of the School of Computing at the University of Portsmouth and he has a passion for investigating communication networks and security. His previous research on communication networks has been funded by OFCOM and the EPSRC and has resulted in contributions to ITU recommendations. He has over 50 publications in journals and conference proceedings and serves as a referee for IET, IEEE and Elsevier journals. He has also acted as the conference chair, given plenaries, presented keynotes and chaired sessions at many international IEEE/ACM computer networking and security conferences. He is a member of Working Group 3 for the EC NIS Platform, an Academic Advocate for the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) and a Chartered Engineer.
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.
Rolf H. Weber
Research Advisor
Rolf H. Weber is professor for civil, commercial and European law at the University of Zurich Law School. Since 2008, he is the director of the Information and Communication Law Center at the University of Zurich, a member (now vice-chairman) of the Steering Committee of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet) as well as a member of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG). Since 2009, he has been a member of the High-level Panel of Advisers of the Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (GAID) and author of frequent publications on Internet governance.
John Carr
Research Advisor
John Carr is a technical adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO, ECPAT International and Rome-based European NGO Network for Child Safety Online. He is Secretary of the British Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety and sits on the Executive Board of the UK Government’s Council for Child Internet Safety. John was formerly a Vice President of My Space and sat on Microsoft’s Policy Board for Europe the Middle East and Africa. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the LSE.
Stefaan G. Verhulst
Research Advisor
Stefaan G. Verhulst is Co-Founder and Chief Research of the Governance Laboratory at New York University (www.thegovlab.org), an action research center dedicated to improving governance and people’s lives through advances in technology. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Culture and Communications at NYU, Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Media and Communications Studies at Central European University in Budapest, a Board Member of ORBICOM - Unesco; and an Affiliated Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Communications Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communications. Before joining NYU full time, Verhulst spent more than a decade as Chief of Research for the Markle Foundation, where he continues to serve as Senior Advisor. In addition, Verhulst was Co-Founder and Co-Director of PCMLP at Oxford University, the UNESCO Chairholder in Communications Law and Policy for the UK, the socio-legal fellow at Wolfson College (Oxford), Co-Founder and Co-Director of the International Media and Info-Comms Policy and Law Studies at the University of Glasgow School of Law. He regularly advises international organizations and has written and co-authored several books on a variety of topics including Internet Governance.
Laura Denardis
Director of Research of the Global Commission for Internet Governance
A scholar of Internet architecture and governance, Laura is a CIGI senior fellow and professor at American University. She is an affiliated fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and previously served as its executive director.
Lee Tuthill
Research Advisor
Lee Tuthill is a senior counsellor in the Trade in Services Division of the WTO, a unit that oversees the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Her responsibilities include ICT services and electronic commerce, as well as issues related to cross-border trade in ICT-enabled services. In these areas, she covers policy developments, regulatory reforms, market trends, new business models and trade practices, including analysis of how they relate to the GATS framework and trade liberalization. Her work entails close collaboration with ICT ministries and regulatory authorities around the world. She has published articles on WTO and FTA telecommunications negotiations and on digital economy issues and also serves on the editorial board of info journal. Previously, she worked on economic and trade policy for the USITC. She attended Columbia University, where she was awarded Masters of International Affairs degree.
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.

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