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

Hartmut Glaser
Hartmut Glaser is executive secretary of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and serves on the board of directors of LACNIC. He has served as special adviser to the dean of Escola Politécnica at the University of São Paulo, special adviser to the rector of the University of São Paulo, and special adviser to the president of the Foundation for Research Support of the State of São Paulo.
Michael Spence
Michael Spence is the William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business at the Stern School of Business, New York University. He received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, and the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economics Association in 1981. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.
Sir David Omand
Sir David Omand was the first UK security and intelligence coordinator from 2002 to 2005 as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Office. Previously, he was Permanent Secretary of the UK Home Office and Director of GCHQ (the UK Sigint and cyber security agency). He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College Cambridge and is Senior Independent Director of Babcock International Group PLC.
Fen Osler Hampson
co-Director of the GCIG
Fen Osler Hampson is a distinguished fellow and director of the Global Security & Politics Program at CIGI. He previously served as director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and is concurrently Chancellor’s Professor at Carleton University
Dame Wendy Hall
Dame Wendy Hall is professor of computer science and executive director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. One of the first computer scientists to undertake serious research in multimedia and hypermedia, the influence of her work has been significant in many areas including digital libraries, the development of the Semantic Web, and emerging research discipline of Web Science.
Marietje Schaake
Marietje Schaake has served as a Member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands since 2009 with the European liberal group (ALDE). She serves on the International Trade committee, the committee on Foreign Affairs, and the subcommittee on Human Rights. She is the founder of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda for Europe. She is Vice-President of the US Delegation and serves on the Iran Delegation.
Pablo Bello
Pablo Bello Arellano is a Chilean economist, expert in telecommunications and economic regulation. Pablo was appointed Secretary General of the Asociación Iberoamericana de Centros de Investigación y Empresas de Telecomunicaciones in June 2011. During the presidency of Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010), he served as Vice-Minister of Telecommunications.
Tobby Simon
Tobby Simon is the president of Synergia Foundation, a think tank in India that works closely with industry, polity and academia to establish leading edge practices through applied research in the domains of geopolitics, geoeconomics and geosecurity. He has been an adviser to several international organizations such as the World Health Organization , the European Union and served as the Regional Director for the World Information Technology and Services Alliance.
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.

Research Advisors

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.
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.
Meryem Marzouki
Research Advisor
Meryem Marzouki is a senior researcher in Political Sciences with the French National Scientific Research Center, currently with the Computer Science Laboratory of Paris 6. Her multi-disciplinary research interests focus on Internet governance, human rights, and the rule of law. She is a member of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet), and of the European Internet Science Network of Excellence (EINS).
Christopher Yoo
Research Advisor
Christopher Yoo is the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer Information Science as well as the director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a leading voice in the “network neutrality” debate that has dominated Internet policy over the past several years, and is also pursuing research on copyright theory. Christopher testifies frequently before US Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.
Eric Jardine
Research Advisor
Eric Jardine is a research fellow in the Global Security & Politics program at CIGI (and soon to be assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech). His research focuses on trends in cybercrime and the Dark Web. He is the author (with Fen Hampson) of the book, Look Who’s Watching: Surveillance, Treachery and Trust Online.
Patrik Fältström
Research Advisor
Patrik Fältström is head of research and development at Netnod. Previously, he was a distinguished engineer at Cisco, technical specialist at Tele2, systems manager at the Royal Institute of Technology, researcher at Bunyip Information Systems and a programmer in the Royal Swedish Navy. He has been a member of numerous advisory groups and investigations related to Internet, both public and private sector. Patrik holds an M.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Stockholm.
Jan-Peter Kleinhans
Research Advisor
Jan-Peter Kleinhans is Program Manager at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, an independent, charitable think tank in Berlin. He focuses on policy issues in the field of IT-Security, protection of National Critical Infrastructures and surveillance by law enforcement agencies. Before joining SNV he was an intern at netzpolitik.org where he wrote about the Snowden revelations, government surveillance and human rights violations on the Internet. Jan-Peter holds a BA in Information Systems from Darmstadt University of Technology and a MA in Communication Theory from Uppsala University.
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.
Kilnam Chon
Research Advisor
Kilnam Chon is a professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and also taught at Keio University and Tsinghua University. He developed the first Internet in Asia, called SDN in 1982, and his pioneering work inspired many others to promote the Internet’s further growth in the region. He has founded various regional Internet organizations such as Asia Pacific Networking Group, Asia Pacific Advanced Network, and Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Name. Kilnam received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from UCLA.

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