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Journal of Cyber Policy to Publish Special Issue on Internet Consolidation

Call for papers is now closed

The Internet Society and Chatham House are collaborating on a special issue of the Journal of Cyber Policy, on the impact of consolidation in the Internet’s fundamental architecture, including structural dependencies across its many layers. All articles in the special issue will be open access.

In recent years there has been a growing debate around the influence of a few large Internet technology companies and the concentration of providers in consumer-visible and audible services. As a result, what was once widely viewed as a collective platform for limitless permissionless innovation, competition, and growth is increasingly experienced as a consolidated environment dominated by a few. The Internet Society and Chatham House are planning a special issue of the Journal of Cyber Policy, aimed at discovering the extent to which similar forces for market dominance could be affecting the Internet’s fundamental architecture.

Through this call for papers, we were looking for interdisciplinary research across the fields of computer science, development, engineering, economics, mathematics, law, and political science to help us understand the extent, origins, and impact (both positive and negative) of consolidation. Researchers must produce evidence-based research, with the possibility of financial support for the collection of the relevant data.

Specific topics included, but were not limited to, the cyber policy implications of the following:

  • Impact of consolidation on “digital divides” and network developments in developing economies.
  • Economic or technical dependence, including those that inhibit innovation, competition or constrain the Internet’s natural evolution.
  • The extent to which consolidation is a result of particular characteristics of the service involved.
  • New Internet traffic patterns and network practices as a result of consolidation.
  • The impact of consolidation on the development of new protocols, standards, or practices.
  • Technical drivers for large-scale operations and consolidation.
  • Regulatory consideration, whether from the perspective of consumer protection, competition, or administrative law.
  • Impact of consolidation on innovation and/or cybersecurity
  • Consideration of how emerging technologies (e.g. 5G) may impact consolidation and fiber access networks.

Internet Society offers funding for related research

In February 2019, the Internet Society released its annual Global Internet Report, which confirmed that the Internet is facing change, due to trends of consolidation in services at all levels. While this study highlighted some key features of consolidation and emerging trends in Internet development, it also generated more questions than answers.

The Internet Society is separately offering funding opportunities for data collection on related issues (Applications open on March 1st). Further details can be found here.

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