As the Internet has become more important, existing stakeholders have identified new interests; new entrants to the policy space, including a number of emerging market states, are bringing their interests and distinct values to bear. This paper argues that the contemporary politics of Internet governance are best understood as a complex, high-stakes case of rule-making. The key question is how to refine and update Internet governance given a secular increase in state interest, geopolitical rivalry, the existence of legacy institutions and high levels of civil society engagement.

The need to develop a coherent strategy for Internet governance ensuring that difficult trade-offs between competing interests, as well as between distinct public values, are managed in a consistent, transparent and accountable manner that accurately reflects public priorities guides the members of this research project, launched in 2012. In aiming to develop this strategy, project members will consider what kind of Internet the world wants in 2020, and will lay the analytical groundwork for future Internet governance discussions, most notably the upcoming decennial review of the World Summit on the Information Society. The Internet Governance paper series will result in the publication of a book in early 2014.