Ten more years for the United NationsInternet Governance Forum (IGF): At a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly (GA) on December 16, 2015, the GA adopted an outcome document on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.

In a specific decision articulated in the document, the GA extended the IGF mandate until 2025. The General Assembly also specified that during this period, the IGF should continue to show progress on working modalities and continue to encourage relevant stakeholders in developing countries to participate in internet governance discussions at the UN level.

UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft presided over the meeting, which was attended by high-level representatives from all member and observer states, and…

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Demand for Internet Freedom? An Interview with Erik Nisbet

Dr. Erik Nisbet, associate professor of communication, political science, and environmental policy at Ohio State University, responds to questions drawn from the recently released report “Benchmarking Public Demand: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control,” which seeks to assess the public’s demand for internet freedom in Russia. 

What was the most surprising part of the dataset?

The findings from the survey analysis that surprised me the most were Russian attitudes about the use of the Internet by foreign countries and the censorship of foreign media. There is a robust sentiment among Russians (roughly half of non- and light users of the Internet and about one-third of heavy Internet users) that foreign countries are actively using the Internet against Russia and that foreign news media websites should be censored by the Russian government.  These attitudes are reflective of the political messaging by the Russian government, but I was surprised that they had found such wide-spread acceptance among the population.  Building support among the public to censor foreign mass media and websites is an important part of a much larger information control strategy by the Russian government, as is also the recent legislation limiting foreign ownership of mass media in Russia, to isolate the Russian public from outside information that may be inconsistent with the government’s dominance of news and information dissemination within Russia.


How do Russian attitudes towards internet governance differ from some other places where you’ve done work?

Unfortunately, the demand for democratic governance in Russia is very…


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The GovLab Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance: Issue 30

The Selected Curation of Articles on Net-governance (the SCAN) is a weekly digest on internet governance news, reports, and events produced by the Governance Lab @NYU (the GovLab) as part of the GovLab’s Living Labs on Smarter Governance project. The SCAN is cross-posted weekly from the GovLab on the Internet Policy Observatory. The original posting of the GovLab SCAN- Issue  30, June, 13 2014 can be found here.

This week’s highlights:

  • The World Summit on the Information Society +10 High-Level Event took place this week in Geneva, Switzerland. The event took stock of Internet communications technology (ICT) development in the past decade and will develop a vision for ICT development in the next decade, with a particular focus on bridging the digital divide.
  • ICANN’s 50th public meeting takes place June 22nd to 26th in London, England. The meeting will cover a wide range of topics, including the NTIA-IANA stewardship transition and the ICANN “accountability update”, as well as the new gTLD program.
  • Privacy issues continue to gain great attention worldwide, with the release of Vodafone’s transparency report this week, the European Court of Justice’s ruling that copies of webpages made during web-browsing do not infringe copyright law, and ICANN’s recent report on Whois and gTLD directory systems regarding domain name registrant…


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Internet Governance: The New “Great Game”

John Laprise, an Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, frames internet governance in the context of a “Great Game,” discussing current “players” and their rolls and success in the game thus far.

During the 19th century at the height of the Pax Britannia, Great Britain vied with Russia to preserve its hold on India. This “Great Game” also involved, to a lesser degree, other European states such as France with their own regional interests. The players sought to involve and enlist local leaders and tribes, working to throw their opponents off balance through misinformation and misdirection while avoiding coming to blows directly (though this was not always successful, as seen in the Crimean War). In the end, Great Britain won the Great Game and preserved the Jewel in the Crown.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where we find ourselves in yet another (arguably) monopolar world with real world unrest in the Ukraine. The United States is playing a new version of the Great Game, striving to preserve a kind of internet supremacy, in the face of competition and criticism from other nation states, through subtlety and finesse in much the same way as Britain sought to maintain its hold on India. For players in geopolitics, understanding the rules of the game and the goals of the other players is crucial. Playing a game without knowing the rules or what winning looks like is frustrating and likely results in loss.  It is not apparent that the players…

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