Internet governance and digital policy

Internet governance is a new topic on the global policy agenda and is addressed in a wide variety of global public and business forums. For many small and developing countries with limited resources and institutional capacity in this sector, it is a major challenge to follow and participate in these processes.

Diplo provides capacity development support through online and blended courses, policy research, policy immersion and community support. Browse this portal, and learn more about our philosophy and approach. Get in touch with Diplo’s IG Team.
 

Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystemUpdate: Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystem

The report Science & Diplomacy: How countries interact with the Boston innovation ecosystem, on how diplomatic representations use their science and technology arms to conduct activities in the Boston ecosystem, is now available for download.

Stay up to date!

Subscribe to DiploNews and stay up to date with upcoming events, new publications and research, and Diplo courses and training.

What is Internet governance?

Internet governance can be defined as the development and application by governments, the private sector, and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. (WGIG, 2015)

Although Internet governance deals with the core of the digital world, governance cannot be handled with the digital-binary logic of the true or false, or good or bad. Instead, the subject demands many subtleties and shades of meaning and perception, requiring an analogue approach, covering a continuum of options and compromises.

 

An Introduction to Internet GovernanceThe book An Introduction to Internet Governance, by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, now in its seventh edition, needs no introduction. It 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, and is one of the most widely-used books by IG professionals. The book has been translated into 10 languages. Download the latest edition, or any of the translated versions.

Taxonomy: 40 issues, 7 baskets

MapDiplo’s classification of Internet governance groups the main 40+ issues into the following seven categories, or ‘baskets’: Infrastructure and Standardisation, Security, Human Rights, Legal, Economic, Development, and Socio-cultural. Although this categorisation was needed for the purposes of classifying the policy areas into broad areas, many of the digital policy areas interact with other areas in different clusters.

This taxonomy was first developed in 1997 by Dr Jovan Kurbalija, and then introduced in the book An Introduction to Internet Governance (now in its sixth edition). It was later adopted in Diplo’s Internet governance courses. The taxonomy is under regular development to account for emerging trends and new developments in this vibrant process. Today, it is used as the underlying structure for the GIP Digital Watch observatory, a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory. It has also been adopted in the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development’s report on Mapping of international Internet public policy issues, and in the GIPO initiative sponsored by the European Commission.

Explore each basket on the GIP Digital Watch observatory.

GIP Digital Watch observatory

GIP Digital Watch observatoryThe GIP Digital Watch observatory, an initiative of the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation) in partnership with the Internet Society, is a comprehensive Internet governance and digital policy observatory. The platform – at digitalwatch.giplatform.org – provides a neutral one-stop shop for live developments, overviews and explanatory texts, events, resources, and other content related to Internet governance and digital policy. It draws from the strengths of its partners’ assets: the resources DiploFoundation has developed over the last 15 years, the Geneva Internet Platform’s international reach, and the Internet Society’s network of Chapters that will help shape localised content.

The observatory:

  • maintains a comprehensive live summary of the latest developments in digital policy;
  • provides an overview of issues, actors and ongoing process;
  • maintains a live calendar of upcoming and past events;
  • provides access to the latest research and data on Internet policy.
  • is enriched by quantitative research (e.g. data-mining of open data, topic profiling).

Monthly IG briefings

Hub imageThe monthly Geneva Internet Platform briefings provide a ‘zoomed-out’ update of the major global digital policies and Internet governance developments. Every month, the briefings round-up the developments of the previous weeks, and discuss their impact on other areas and on future developments. The briefings are held every last Tuesday of the month. Participants can join in Geneva, or online, from one of the GIP local hubs. Follow the links on our calendar of Internet governance events to participate in the next briefing. Learn more about the briefings and access the archive of recordings, digests and other resources.

GIP hubs provide a great opportunity to meet others working in Internet governance. We encourage you to establish a GIP hub in your local community to enable you to follow the global digital developments and to have sustainable discussions with others from your local community. The GIP can provide organisational and promotional support. If you are interested in establishing a local hub, let us know.

The GIP briefings are organised by the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation) as part of the GIP Digital Watch initiative. The briefings complement the GIP Digital Watch observatory and the monthly Geneva Digital Watch newsletter.

Digital Watch newsletter

DW newsletterThe Geneva Digital Watch newsletter is a monthly newsletter, published by the Geneva Internet Platform/DiploFoundation, which includes a round-up of developments for each month, interviews with prominent Internet governance experts, features and articles on various digital policy areas, and a just-for-fun section. Read or download the latest version of the newsletter.

The newsletter was created by the GIP and DiploFoundation in 2015 with the aim of providing digital policy practitioners a regular round-up of global developments, and analysis on the most topical issues of the month. Updates on Geneva events and upcoming global events aim to help practitioners keep track of the events that are likely to have an impact on digital policy in one way or another. These aims are achieved by analysing and providing context to the large amount of developments that take place every month. The newsletter is in line with the GIP and Diplo’s mission to build capacity among stakeholders, especially those who are unrepresented or have limited resources.

The newsletter is published every last day of the month, and complements the GIP Digital Watch observatory and the monthly GIP briefings on Internet governance. We invite you to subscribe to the GIP News mailing list to receive notifications about new issues of the newsletter, and to get in touch if you are interested in developing a regional version.

 

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. Learn more about our philosophy and approach. We also invite you to engage in IG discussions, join us for training, research, and other activities, and meet other professionals working in IG:

From our blog

[Podcast] The Diplomat’s Sofa #3: Why diplomats should care about cybersecurity

Editor

Welcome to the third episode of our new podcast series The Diplomat’s Sofa where we speak to diplomats about their craft and the latest developments in international diplomacy.  In our third episode, hosted by D...

[Podcast] The Diplomat’s Sofa #2: Cybersecurity: A meeting place for diplomats and techies with David Koh

Editor

Welcome to the second episode of our new podcast series The Diplomat’s Sofa where we speak to diplomats about their craft and the latest developments in international diplomacy.  In our second episode, hosted by...

What is the future of a cyber detente after Biden and Putin’s Geneva summit?

Jovan Kurbalija

A cyber detente between Russia and the USA started in Geneva with the easing of tensions and kick off of bilateral cybersecurity consultations. Biden and Putin built on the dynamism of successful outcomes in cyber p...

What’s new with cybersecurity negotiations? The second cyber OEWG’s organisational session

Andrijana Gavrilovic

Two weeks ago, the second cyber Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), which will be active until 2025, held its first organisational session to determine how and when it will conduct its work. This second cyber OEWG start...

Training and courses

Events

Data Tour | 12 Tours to Navigate Digital Geneva

24 Jun 21 - 24 Jun 21

Online, Switzerland

#MeetingTomorrow: Digital Geneva 2040

07 Dec 20 - 07 Dec 20

Online

Launch of the Geneva Digital Atlas

30 Nov 20 - 30 Nov 20

Online

Digital Security and Economic Recovery

26 Nov 20 - 26 Nov 20

Online

Launch: Digital Watch weekly digest

28 Sep 20 - 28 Sep 20

Online

Launch: New Digital Watch observatory

14 Sep 20 - 14 Sep 20

Online

7th EAPTC: Technology and peacekeeping

16 Apr 19 - 18 Apr 19

Serbia

Business-Policy Roundtable

02 Apr 19 25 Mar 19 -

Public International Law Day 2018

27 Nov 18 -

Switzerland

The Battle for the Global Internet

27 Sep 18 -

United States

Invest in Cybersecurity workshop

05 Jun 18 -

Switzerland

Diplo & GIP at RightsCon Toronto 2018

16 May 18 - 18 May 18

Canada

Geneva Internet L@w Summer School 2018

18 Jun 18 - 29 Jun 18

Switzerland

Joint Civil Society Meeting 2017

16 Dec 17 -

Switzerland

Half-day course: Cybersecurity in Practice

01 Dec 17 - 07 Dec 17

Switzerland

Governing the Future of the Internet

25 Sep 17 -

United States

October Online Courses

07 Oct 19 08 Oct 18 09 Oct 17 -

Online

Balkan School on Internet Governance 2017

21 Aug 17 - 25 Aug 17

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Diplo at Cyber Week 2017

25 Jun 17 - 29 Jun 17

Israel

Diplo & GIP at WSIS Forum 2017

12 Jun 17 - 16 Jun 17

Switzerland

MAPPING Second General Assembly

31 Oct 16 - 02 Nov 16

Czech Republic

Diplo at IGMENA Summit

30 Sep 16 - 02 Oct 16

Tunisia

ISOC – GIP Digital Watch Webinar

09 Feb 16 -

Switzerland

Cybersecurity: a Strategic View

15 Jan 15 -

Switzerland

Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015

16 Apr 15 - 17 Apr 15

Netherlands

Cybersecurity Winter School

01 Dec 14 - 05 Dec 14

Serbia

PRAU Roundtable on Cyber Security

23 Sep 14 -

South Africa

Diplo @ African Internet/ICT Week

04 Dec 13 - 06 Dec 13

Ethiopia

Arab Internet Governance Consultations

05 Mar 13 -

United Arab Emirates

Training Workshop in Internet Governance and Diplomacy

27 Jun 12 - 28 Jun 12

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Advanced courses in Internet governance

11 Jun 12 - 03 Aug 12

Online

ICANN43 Costa Rica

10 Mar 12 - 17 Mar 12

Costa Rica

IG Workshop at IDLELO 5 Abuja, Nigeria

22 Mar 12 - 24 Mar 12

Nigeria

EuroDIG meeting takes place in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11

Serbia

EuroDIG kicks off in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11

Serbia

ICT policy and IG workshop in Addis Ababa

06 Apr 11 - 08 Apr 11

Ethiopia

ICT policy and IG workshop in Pretoria

12 Apr 11 - 14 Apr 11

South Africa

Workshop on Internet Governance

12 Nov 10 - 13 Nov 10

Trinidad and Tobago

Workshops on Internet Governance

25 Aug 10 - 02 Sep 10

Fiji

EuroDIG 2009

14 Sep 09 - 15 Sep 09

Switzerland

Resources

2018

The Rise of TechPlomacy in the Bay area

Tech diplomacy is becoming a necessity for countries worldwide. Countries need to capture the nexus between technology innovation and economic developments. To be effectively present in the Bay Area, countries need to use innovative diplomatic approaches. This report d... Read more...

2014

Global Inviolability of the Internet Root Zone (Briefing Paper #1)

Dr Kurbalija explains the internet root zone, and highlights the context and controversy of questions about its inviolability. Possible solutions identified by him include legal elements (customary law, diplomatic law, common heritage of mankind), 'software' inviolabil... Read more...

2019

The EU’s New Commission: Digital Policy in the Limelight (Briefing Paper #13)

In this briefing paper, Dr Stephanie Borg Psaila analyses Ursula von der Leyen's new EU Commission's emphasis on digital policy for 2019–2024.... Read more...

2018

Searching for Meaningful Human Control. The April 2018 Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (Briefing Paper #10)

In this briefing paper, Ms Barbara Rosen Jacobson analyses the debate of the April 2018 meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The group was established to discuss emerging technologies in the area of... Read more...