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

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.
Olaf Kolkman
Research Advisor
Olaf Kolkman is chief Internet technology officer with the Internet Society, which he joined in July 2016. The Internet became his professional focus in 1996, when he joined the RIPE NCC as a Scientific Programmer. In 2007, he became managing director of the Open Source and Standards development foundation NLnet Labs. Olaf has had numerous responsibilities in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF): he chaired the various working groups; he was IAB member from 2006 to 2012 and its chair between March 2007 and March 2011; served in various IETF committees and was Acting RFC Series Editor in 2011.
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.
Ronaldo Lemos
Research Advisor
Ronaldo Lemos is the director of the Rio Institute for Technology & Society, and professor at the Rio de Janeiro State University’s Law School. He is a partner with the law firm Pereira Neto Macedo advogados and a member of the Council for Social Communications in the Brazilian Congress. Ronaldo earned his LL.B. and LL.D. from the University of Sao Paulo, and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
Jorge Contreras
Research Advisor
Jorge Contreras is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and a Senior Policy Fellow at the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of Law. He has written and spoken extensively on the institutional structures and policy implications of intellectual property, technical standardization and scientific research. In addition, he has served as the long-time legal counsel to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and many other organizations involved in standards and technology development.
Stefan Heumann
Research Advisor
Stefan Heumann is member of the managing board of stiftung neue verantwortung, a non-profit think based in Berlin focused on the intersection of technology and public policy. His work covers a wide range of issues, ranging from privacy and cybersecurity to innovation and regulation. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Aaron Shull
Research Advisor
Aaron Shull is CIGI’s Chief of Staff and General Counsel. As General Counsel, he responds to legal inquiries from Senior Management that relate to corporate, contractual, employment, occupational health and safety, intellectual property, dispute resolution, and compliance related matters. As Chief of Staff, he operates as an effective liaison and conduit across all departments, providing guidance and advice on all matters of strategic and operational importance.
Leonid Todorov
Research Advisor
Leonid Todorov serves as deputy director for External Relations in Russia's Internet registry and leads the Russian Internet Governance Forum Steering Committee. Since the onset of Russian reforms, he served for more than a decade as chief of staff to the late Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar. His focus is on Internet governance, new gTLDs, international cooperation and cyber security. He is on the steering group for the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), the ccNSO ICANN Strategic and Operations Plan Working Group, and on the ISOC Advisory Council. Leonid earned his M.A. in Linguistics from Moscow State Pedagogical University and did postgraduate studies in management and business leadership in Copenhagen and Taiwan.
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.
Chun Eung-hwi
Research Advisor
Chun Eung-hwi is chair of OpenNet Korea and on the board of Korea Green Consumers’ Network. He is involved in several Internet related bodies, including the Korea Internet Governance Association, Korea Consumer Agency and the National Assembly Research Service. Previously, he was a member of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the Korea Network Information Center and DNSO/ICANN. He is a graduate of the KDI School of Public Policy and Korea University.

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