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

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.
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.
Nanjira Sambuli
Research Advisor
Nanjira Sambuli is an ICT researcher and policy analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is interested in and works on understanding the unfolding impacts of ICT adoption in governance, innovation, entrepreneurship and societal culture in Kenya, and across Africa. Some of her research outputs include an assessment of Cybersecurity and Cyber-resilience in East Africa (CIGI) as well as Challenges and opportunities for advancing Internet access in developing countries while upholding net neutrality (Journal of Cyber Policy).
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.
Robert Morgus
Research Advisor
Robert Morgus is a policy analyst with New America’s Cybersecurity Initiative, where he combines his background in international relations with a developing technical knowledge to provide policy relevant research and writing at the intersection of cyberspace and international affairs. His current work focuses on incident response and crisis management, international norms development, and cyber risk and insurance. In the past he has authored reports on sanctions and export controls, internet freedom, and internet governance. His work has been showcased in the New York Times, TIME, Slate, and others.
Jeremy West
Research Advisor
Jeremy West is a senior policy analyst in the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation at the OECD. He recently led a multidisciplinary project on intellectual property in the digital age and is currently researching the economic and social effects of Internet openness. Jeremy is a member of the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar. His background is in competition law and includes experience at a law firm in Washington, DC, at the United States Department of Justice and with the New Zealand Commerce Commission.
Sonia Livingstone
Research Advisor
Sonia Livingstone OBE, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, has published twenty books and led research on the opportunities and risks of digital technologies for children and young people. Recipient of many honours, Professor Livingstone has advised the UK government, European Commission, Council of Europe and others on children’s rights and safety in the digital age. Founder of EU Kids Online, she leads the projects Global Kids Online and Preparing for a Digital Future.
Lee Hibbard
Research Advisor
Lee Hibbard is the Internet governance co-ordinator at the Council of Europe. He is responsible for the Council’s Internet Governance Strategy 2016–2019, including the setting up of a platform between governments and major Internet companies on their respect for human rights online. In recent years, Lee facilitated public policy on human rights for Internet service providers, network neutrality, freedom of expression on the Internet, and the protection and empowerment of children online.
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.
Carolina Rossini
Research Advisor
Carolina Rossini is a Brazilian lawyer with over 13 years of experience in international law, transactions and policy, with a specific focus on Internet, telecom, intellectual property and human rights. She has worked in the United States and Brazil. In February 2014, she joined Global Partners Digital as an associate, and Public Knowledge, to lead their international work. Her previous affiliations include project director at the Open Technology Institute, International Intellectual Property Director at Electronic Frontiers Foundation, a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, a project coordinator at Fundação Getulio Vargas Center for Technology and Society and in-house council for Terra Networks S/A.

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