Editor   22 Jul 2016   Internet Governance

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The ‘Internet governance (IG) building under construction’ illustration is symbolic of the ever-changing world of digital policy. The illustrations above show the various iterations over the years.


DiploFoundation’s ‘Internet governance (IG) building under construction’ illustration is symbolic of the ever-changing world of digital policy. A new iteration sees new elements that denote emerging trends, in addition to the existing robust foundation of IG topics.

The first illustration, brought to life in 2004, depicted five storeys, which represented the five ‘baskets’ or categories of the IG debate: infrastructure and standardisation, legal, economic, development, and sociocultural. To the left-hand side of the flimsy building was a billboard listing the actors prominent at the time - many of which still are today. Construction materials and building structures represented the main issues falling under each category.

Several years later, a new version of the illustration (updated shortly after) reflected the revised taxonomy which now included seven baskets: the same five storeys, plus cybersecurity and human rights. As Dr Kurbalija explained at the time, the new IG building included elevators moving core IG values and principles between different floors.

Fast forward to 2016. The same taxonomy is behind the GIP Digital Watch observatory (launched in September 2015), a neutral one-stop shop dedicated to IG issues, incorporating live developments, overviews and explanatory texts, events, resources, and other content related to Internet governance and digital policy. It is also a visual classification of the same taxonomy adopted in the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development's report on Mapping of international Internet public policy issues, and more recently, the European Commission’s GIPO initiative.

Meanwhile, the illustration has recently received another iteration. The latest version of the IG building illustration is now more robust. The floors and elements in each section of the building are clearly defined. Pillars, elevators, and machinery transport several crucial components across the storeys. A cloud appears for the first time. Other elements, representing new trends, help further define the building. It is representative of the state of play of digital policy today: we are on our way, but not quite there yet. Will the building be completed soon?

What was your first ‘encounter’ with the IG building illustration? Has it helped you understand the concepts in digital policy? Are any elements missing from the 2016 version? Let us know...


Editor's note: The illustrations can also be viewed on our online gallery. You can use the illustrations for educational purposes; however, you must attriibute the work to DiploFoundation. Please inform us about any non-commercial use. The content is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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