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

Angel Gurría
Angel Gurría joined the OECD as secretary-general in June 2006, following a distinguished career in public service. As Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 1994 to January 1998, he made dialogue and consensus-building one of the hallmarks of his approach to global issues. From January 1998 to December 2000, he was Mexico’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit. As OECD secretary-general, he has reinforced the OECD’s role as a “hub” for global dialogue and debate on economic policy issues while pursuing internal modernization and reform.
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.

Research Advisors

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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Martina F. Ferracane
Research Advisor
Martina F. Ferracane is a PhD student at Hamburg University focusing on cross-border data flows. She is affiliated with ECIPE, where she worked as a policy analyst on digital trade and data flows, covering also innovative technologies such as 3D printing and digital fabrication. Moreover, she is the founder of Fab Lab Western Sicily, a non-profit organization which aims to promote digital education in Sicily. She has previously worked at the European Commission and at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Martina holds a Master’s degree in economic internationalization, integration and international trade from the University of Valencia in Spain and a Bachelor's degree in economics from the University 'La Sapienza' in Rome.
Bill Graham
Research Advisor
Bill Graham is a senior fellow at CIGI. From 2007 to 2011 he led global engagement activities at the Internet Society. Before that Bill was Director of International Telecommunications Policy and Coordination, Government of Canada, serving as head of delegation during the UN World Summit on the Information Society. He was a member of the Internet Governance Forum's Multistakeholder Advisory Group from its formation until 2011, and then served one term as a member of the ICANN Board of Directors.

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