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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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Events

Policy Meets Tech: Cryptography

24 Jan 24 - 24 Jan 24

Geneva AI Community launch

23 Nov 23 - 23 Nov 23

Visit to Nairobi by DiploTeam

09 Nov 23 - 10 Nov 23

Kenya

Diplo @ UNCTAD eWeek

04 Dec 23 - 08 Dec 23

Policy Meets Tech: Artificial intelligence

21 Nov 23 - 21 Nov 23

Switzerland

2023 Global Cybersecurity Forum

01 Nov 23 - 02 Nov 23

Saudi Arabia

4th AI Policy Summit

03 Nov 23 - 04 Nov 23

Switzerland

2022 Diplo Week in Geneva

07 Nov 22 - 11 Nov 22

2023 Diplo Days in Geneva

04 Dec 23 - 08 Dec 23

AI Policy Summit 2022

10 Oct 22 - 13 Oct 22

Data Tour | 12 Tours to Navigate Digital Geneva

24 Jun 21 - 24 Jun 21

Switzerland, Online

#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

RightOn #14: Our Future, Our Voice

25 Nov 20 - 25 Nov 20

Online

Start of contemporary diplomacy courses

05 Oct 20 - 05 Oct 20

Online

Launch: Digital Watch weekly digest

28 Sep 20 - 28 Sep 20

Online

Launch of the humAInism Speech Generator

21 Sep 20 - 21 Sep 20

Online

July 2020 online courses

20 Jul 20 -

Online

May 2020 online courses

04 May 20 -

Online

Data 2025 – Conference

19 Mar 20 -

Switzerland

DataGovAI Summit & Awards 2019

06 Nov 19 - 08 Nov 19

Indonesia

October 2017 Online Courses

07 Oct 19 -

Online

Indonesia Lokadata Conference

28 Aug 19 -

Indonesia

July 2017 online courses

22 Jul 19 -

Online

Diplo at the APrIGF 2019

16 Jul 19 - 19 Jul 19

Russia

But first, privacy!

14 Jun 19 -

Indonesia

Diplo at AI for Good Gobal Summit

31 May 19 -

Switzerland

Diplo at STI Forum 2019, New York

14 May 19 - 15 May 19

United States

7th EAPTC: Technology and peacekeeping

16 Apr 19 - 18 Apr 19

Serbia, Southeast Europe

2nd Western Balkans Digital Summit

03 Apr 19 - 05 Apr 19

Serbia

Business-Policy Roundtable

02 Apr 19 25 Mar 19 -

AI and diplomacy

19 Feb 19 -

United States

Public International Law Day 2018

27 Nov 18 -

Switzerland

The UN World Data Forum 2018

22 Oct 18 - 24 Oct 18

United Arab Emirates

The Battle for the Global Internet

27 Sep 18 -

United States

Ministerial Conference on High-Tech Crime and Information Security

20 Sep 18 - 21 Sep 18

Serbia, Southeast Europe

Geneva Internet L@w Summer School 2018

18 Jun 18 - 29 Jun 18

Switzerland

Invest in Cybersecurity workshop

05 Jun 18 -

Switzerland

Diplo & GIP at EuroDIG 2018

05 Jun 18 - 06 Jun 18

Georgia

Diplo & GIP at RightsCon Toronto 2018

16 May 18 - 18 May 18

Canada

Exhibition – Inside Internet corridors

07 May 18 - 11 May 18

Serbia

SEE Hub: Internet governance in April 2018

24 Apr 18 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

Diplo & GIP at the UNCTAD E-commerce Week

16 Apr 18 - 20 Apr 18

Switzerland

SEE Hub: Internet governance in February 2018

27 Feb 18 -

Online, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in January 2018

30 Jan 18 -

Online, Southeast Europe

Diplo at State of the Net Conference

29 Jan 18 -

United States

Joint Civil Society Meeting 2017

16 Dec 17 -

Switzerland

Half-day course: Cybersecurity in Practice 2017

01 Dec 17 - 07 Dec 17

Switzerland

SEE Hub: Internet governance in November 2017

28 Nov 17 -

Online, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in October 2017

31 Oct 17 -

Online, Southeast Europe

Blockchain lecture for students in Belgrade

27 Oct 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

Diplo at Brandsand.Domains Conference

02 Oct 17 - 03 Oct 17

Netherlands

Diplo & GIP at the WTO Public Forum 2017

26 Sep 17 - 28 Sep 17

Switzerland

SEE Hub: Internet governance in September 2017

26 Sep 17 -

Online, Southeast Europe

Governing the Future of the Internet

25 Sep 17 -

United States

Diplo at MyData 2017

30 Aug 17 - 01 Sep 17

Balkan School on Internet Governance 2017

21 Aug 17 - 25 Aug 17

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Southeast Europe

[Briefing] Internet governance in June 2017

27 Jun 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in June 2017

27 Jun 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

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

Partnership for a secure cyberspace

12 Jun 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

[Briefing] Internet governance in May 2017

30 May 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in May 2017

30 May 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

Diplo at third South Eastern Europe Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG)

24 May 17 - 25 May 17

North Macedonia, Southeast Europe

[Briefing] Internet governance in April 2017

25 Apr 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in April 2017

25 Apr 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

Diplo at RightsCon Brussels 2017

29 Mar 17 - 31 Mar 17

Belgium

[Briefing] Internet governance in March 2017

28 Mar 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in March 2017

28 Mar 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

[Briefing] Internet governance in February 2017

28 Feb 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in February 2017

28 Feb 17 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

[Briefing #31] Internet governance in January 2017

31 Jan 17 -

Switzerland, Southeast Europe

Creating favourable cybersecurity posture in Serbia

20 Dec 16 - 22 Dec 16

Serbia, Southeast Europe

SEE Hub: Internet governance in November 2016

29 Nov 16 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

MAPPING Second General Assembly

31 Oct 16 - 02 Nov 16

Czech Republic

Diplo at IGMENA Summit

30 Sep 16 - 02 Oct 16

Tunisia, Africa

SEE Hub: Internet governance in September 2016

27 Sep 16 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

ISOC – GIP Digital Watch Webinar

09 Feb 16 -

Switzerland

Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015

16 Apr 15 - 17 Apr 15

Netherlands

Cybersecurity: a Strategic View

15 Jan 15 - 15 Jan 15

Switzerland

Cybersecurity 2014 Winter School

01 Dec 14 - 05 Dec 14

Serbia, Southeast Europe

Jurisdiction in the Internet era

06 Nov 14 -

Switzerland

PRAU Roundtable on Cyber Security

23 Sep 14 -

South Africa, Africa

Diplo @ African Internet/ICT Week

04 Dec 13 - 06 Dec 13

Ethiopia, Africa

Summer 2013 online courses

22 Jul 13 -

Online

Online Learning Day

17 Apr 13 - 17 Apr 13

Switzerland

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

Serbian Internet Dialogue this week

19 Apr 12 -

Serbia, Southeast Europe

IG Workshop at IDLELO 5 Abuja, Nigeria

22 Mar 12 - 24 Mar 12

Nigeria, Africa

ICANN43 Costa Rica

10 Mar 12 - 17 Mar 12

Costa Rica

EuroDIG kicks off in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11

Serbia

EuroDIG meeting takes place in Belgrade

30 May 11 - 31 May 11

Serbia

ICT policy and IG workshop in Pretoria

12 Apr 11 - 14 Apr 11

South Africa

ICT policy and IG workshop in Addis Ababa

06 Apr 11 - 08 Apr 11

Ethiopia

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 - 14 Sep 09

Switzerland

3rd Global Knowledge Conference, GK3

10 Dec 07 - 13 Dec 07

Malaysia

Online Learning in Diplomacy

29 May 06 - 30 May 06

Switzerland

Resources

Reforms to the International Financial Architecture | Our Common Agenda Policy Brief 6 

The international financial architecture is outdated and failing humanity. From egregious borrowing costs for developing countries to underinvestment in global crises like climate change and pandemics, the system is rife with inefficiencies and biases. It's a tale of t... Read more...

2022

Rapport: Des voix africaines plus fortes dans le numérique : construire une politique étrangère et une diplomatie africaines du numérique

À mesure que le dynamisme numérique de l'Afrique s'accroît, sa participation à la politique numérique mondiale doit augmenter. Dans cette transition, les pays africains doivent composer avec les réalités géopolitiques de notre époque.... Read more...

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2022

Stronger digital voices from Africa: Building African digital foreign policy and diplomacy

As Africa’s digital dynamism grows, its participation in global digital policy must increase. In this transition, African countries have to navigate the geopolitical realities of our times.

The report is also Read more...

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2022

Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Declaration

Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Declaration Recognising that growing Internet connectivity and the digitisation of the global economy have resulted in the rapid increase in the collection, use, and transfer of data across borders, a trend that continues to accelerate... Read more...

2022

Digital Markets Act

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to ensure the proper functioning of the EU internal market by 'promoting effective competition in digital markets' and, in particular, a fair and contestable online platform environment.... Read more...

2021

Report: The geopolitics of digital standards: China’s role in standard-setting organisations

Standards for digital technologies are all around us, enabling devices to interact with each other, allowing us to connect to mobile networks, and facilitating the exchange of information. By providing rules or guidelines for the development and functioning of techno... Read more...

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2021

Improving the practice of cyber diplomacy: Training, tools, and other resources – Final study

This study analyses the capacity development of cyber diplomacy, including training opportunities, tools, and other resources, and looks at their reach, take-up, and what should come next. Why? Because although cyber diplomacy, the conduct of diplomacy with respect to ... Read more...

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2021

Digital Commerce Course: a five-year assessment

The publication evaluates the impact of the Digital Commerce Course, aimed at providing capacity building on e-commerce to trade professionals. Over the years, the course has helped trade negotiators navigate an ever more complex e-commerce agenda, which currently enco... Read more...