Internet governance and digital policy

Internet governance, also referred to as digital policy, deals with the policy issues associated with digital technology.

Diplo has been providing capacity development support to digital policy practitioners for almost 20 years. This includes online and blended courses, policy research, policy immersion, and community support. Since many small and developing countries have limited resources and institutional capacity in this sector, Diplo provides special assistance to practitioners from these countries.

What is internet governance?
Internet governance refers to the shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. Governments, the private sector, and civil society each contribute to developing these principles, rules, and processes, in their respective roles. (WGIG, 2015)
The book An Introduction to Internet Governance (7th ed.), by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, is one of the most widely-used books by digital policy professionals and across universities. It has also been translated into 10 languages. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the main issues and actors in the field through a practical framework for analysis, discussion, and resolution of significant issues. Download the latest edition, or any of the translated versions.


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The internet governance taxonomy: 7 baskets, 40+ topics

Diplo classifies the main issues in internet governance and digital policy into seven categories, or ‘baskets’. These are Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Human Rights, Legal and regulatory, Economic, Development, and Sociocultural. Many of the digital policy topics falling under each area are cross-cutting.

Diplo’s executive director Dr Jovan Kurbalija developed the taxonomy in 1997, and then introduced it in his book An Introduction to Internet Governance. Diplo later adopted it in its internet governance courses.

Diplo’s digital policy experts review the taxonomy regularly to account for emerging trends in this vibrant process. Today, the Digital Watch observatory uses the taxonomy as its underlying structure. 

The Digital Watch observatory

The Digital Watch observatory is a comprehensive internet governance and digital policy observatory which serves as a one-stop shop for ongoing developments and overviews of the main issues. It also provides an up-to-date calendar of global events, an overview of the actors active in each field, just-in-time event reports, and other resources related to every topic and process in internet governance and digital policy. 

Homepage of the Digital Watch observatory

The observatory includes quantitative research (e.g. data-mining of open data, topic profiling), and relies on a team of 30+ digital policy experts from around the world, for digital policy research and analysis.

Our monthly internet governance briefings

The online briefings provide a zoomed-out update of the major  developments. Every month, the briefings provide a much-needed space to discuss the main trends, and highlight key developments from previous weeks, all in a neutral way. The briefings are held on the last Tuesday of every month. Access the archive of recordings, digests and other resources.

The monthly Digital Watch Newsletter

The monthly Digital Watch Newsletter provides in-depth analysis of digital policy developments taking place each month. It is published on the first week of every month (excluding July and December).

Since 2015, the newsletter has been providing digital policy practitioners a regular round-up of global developments. It also provides analysis on the most topical issues of the month. The barometer measures the prominence of policy topics compared to the previous month. Updates on events help practitioners keep track of events that may impact digital policy in one way or another. Read or download the latest newsletter.

Front cover of one of the monthly Digital Watch Newsletters

The Digital Watch weekly digest

The weekly digest is a subscription-based newsletter, published every Friday. Since 2020, the digest has been providing practitioners with the latest updates on global policy developments. Subscribe for the weekly digest.

What’s next?

Diplo has been providing online and blended courses, policy research, policy immersion and community support in internet governance and digital policy for many years. We invite you to:

  • Read the book An Introduction to Internet governance or the translated versions.
  • Enrol in courses on Internet governance, cybersecurity, infrastructure, and more.
  • Visit the GIP Digital Watch observatory, for the latest updates on developments, explanatory texts, events, instruments, resources, and more.
  • Attend our monthly webinar briefings.
  • Subscribe to our weekly and monthly digital policy newsletters.
  • Get in touch with Diplo’s digital policy team.

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09 Feb 16 -


Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015

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