Internet Governance

About the series

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 guided the members of this research project, launched in 2012. In aiming to develop this strategy, project members considered what kind of internet the world wants in 2020, laying the analytical groundwork for future internet governance discussions, most notably the decennial review of the World Summit on the Information Society. The Internet Governance paper series resulted in the publication of a book titled Organized Chaos: Reimagining the Internet in 2014.

In the Series

A detailed and thorough examination of the troubling developments in our global digital spaces and what, if anything, can be done to protect these spaces and the people who frequent them. Featuring work from global digital policy experts in government, academia, technology companies and civil society, this special report is a unique contribution to the overall objectives of enhancing free expression, diversity and democracy and at the same time protecting human rights and encouraging innovation.
The ideal of a universally accessible “open internet” is increasingly under stress. Any reasonable response will require broad international cooperation — something becoming more difficult to achieve. The expert authors of this report discuss current and emerging international cyber security challenges and possible approaches to effectively address them.

Examining global cybercrime as solely a legal issue misses an important facet of the problem. Understanding the applicable legal rules, both domestically and internationally, is important. However, major state actors are using concerted efforts to engage in nefarious cyber activities with the intention of advancing their economic and geostrategic interests. This paper explores the recent unsealing of a 31-count indictment against five Chinese government officials and a significant cyber breach, perpetrated by Chinese actors against Western oil, energy and petrochemical companies.
In December 2012, numerous news outlets reported on the debate over Internet governance that took place at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai. It was the first time in nearly a decade that the topic attracted major international media attention. A key aspect of the post-WCIT discussion has centred on the role of “swing states” in this global debate.
The current approach to Internet governance is politically untenable because it lacks legitimacy in the eyes of many new Internet users. Legitimacy is a central issue for Internet governance. A clear division of labour among the multi-stakeholder community that explicitly recognizes where governments must play a leading role would be a useful and achievable first step.
Since 2010, digital direct action, including leaks, hacking and mass protest, has become a regular feature of political life on the Internet. This paper considers the source, strengths and weakness of this activity through an in-depth analysis of Anonymous, the protest ensemble that has been adept at magnifying issues, boosting existing — usually oppositional — movements and converting amorphous discontent into a tangible form.
The distributed nature of Internet infrastructure and relatively malleable user engagement with content can misleadingly create the impression that the Internet is not governed. At technologically concealed layers, coordinated and sometimes centralized governance of the Internet’s technical architecture is necessary to keep the network operational, secure and universally accessible.
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.