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

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.
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.
Sadie Creese
Research Advisor
Sadie Creese is professor of cyber security in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. Sadie is director of Oxford’s Cyber Security Centre and the Global Centre for Cyber Security Capacity Building at the Oxford Martin School, and co-director of the school’s Institute for the Future of Computing. Her broad portfolio of cyber security research spans situational awareness, risk propagation and communication, threat modelling and detection, and formal analysis.
Samantha Bradshaw
Research Advisor
Samantha Bradshaw is a DPhil student at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) focusing on the politics of cybersecurity protocols. Prior to undertaking her doctoral degree, Samantha worked as a researcher at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, supporting the work of the Global Commission on Internet Governance. Samantha holds a Master’s degree in global governance from the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts (joint honours) in Political Science and Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo.
Sarah Box
Research Advisor
Sarah Box is counsellor to the Directors in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), providing support to the Directors in the management and co-ordination of the activities of DSTI. Since starting in DSTI in 2007 Sarah has worked on a variety of public policy areas, most recently analysing issues of Internet openness (for the Digital Economy Policy Division). Her other research areas have included human resources for science and technology, the OECD Innovation Strategy, public research organizations and the shipbuilding industry. Before joining the OECD, she worked as a senior research economist at the Australian Productivity Commission, and as an economist at the New Zealand Treasury.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Subimal Bhattacharjee
Research Advisor
Subimal Bhattacharjee is an independent consultant on defence and cyber issues, working primarily with government and private sector advisory panels in India. He is the former India country director for General Dynamics International Corporation. Subimal is a columnist and internationally respected speaker on issues of Internet governance and cyber security.

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