Participation and Policy Positions in Global Internet Governance

Research question/goal: 

Much has been said and written about how the Internet is transforming politics. However, what are the politics of the Internet? The rise of the Internet confronts policy-makers with many contentious questions on matters such as data protection, copyrights and access to information, or net neutrality. This project investigates who participates in the diffuse, global arenas and spaces of internet governance, and seeks to understand variation in attendance and in the policies governments, businesses, civil society, and the “technical community” hope to realize for the internet.

The project assembles systematic and comprehensive data on the characteristics of the public and private actors participating in arenas such as the Internet Governance Forum and networks such as the Internet Engineering Task Force. The aim is to identify and study the sources of variation in participation between governments, businesses and civil society organizations, or the technical community. Furthermore, relying on automated text analysis, we use the speeches of Internet policy-makers to examine which topics they address and which positions they adopt on these topics. On this basis, this project provides a systematic map of the political space of global Internet governance.

Current stage: 

We have complemented our data on participation in internet governance arenas with information on the authorship of so-called Internet Standards—a key internet governance output. This enables us to analyse coalition formation and influence during the internet governance process. We have revised existing working papers and submitted one of them to a journal. Furthermore, we presented interim results at a conference of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network in the pre-programme of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum 2019. In a still unpublished paper, we use our information on Internet Standards authorship to examine cooperation patterns in transnational expert networks and to test whether these patterns depend on political factors.

Fact sheet

2017 to 2021
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Documents (debate transcripts, meeting attendance records etc.)
Geographic Space: