Shaping the Internet: History and Futures

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Internet governance is the development of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. As policymakers and technical experts work to bring the next 3-4 billion online, they must be equipped with sufficient knowledge to address the complex issues that impact how the Internet continues to evolve.

These tutorials provide an overview of Internet governance, touching on key areas such as its history, policy principles, actors and stakeholders, infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, multilingualism, cybersecurity, and others. They also analyse the multistakeholder model, examine the developmental aspects of Internet governance, and look at the collaborative nature of achieving Internet security and resilience.


On 1 March we will move this tutorial to a new platform! Learn more and register to access it.

Module 01: History of the Internet

In this module we will navigate the chronology of the main technical innovations and explore certain key underlying principles, principles that remain as valid now as they were in the early days of the Internet.

Module 02: Internet Invariants

'Internet Invariants' are the characteristics of the Internet that should remain unchanged. Without them, the Internet's evolutionary path could lead to a network that does not yield the benefits and opportunities for end users that it does today. In this module we explore 8 Internet Invariants.

Module 03: Introduction to Internet Governance

This module starts with a discussion about defining Internet Governance. It then explores the different ways in which institutions have attempted to create taxonomies - or classification systems - of Internet Governance issues.

Module 04: Internet Policy Principles

In this module, we look at Internet principles and how they have evolved as the Internet has grown. 

Module 05: Internet Actors and Stakeholder Groups

In this module we introduce the actors and institutions of the Internet Ecosystem and discuss the concept of 'multistakeholderism' - one of the most widely used terms in Internet Governance.

Module 06: Internet Infrastructure, Standards, Protocols, and Systems

In this module, we cover a number of important topics, beginning with technical information on Internet infrastructure and networking protocols.

Module 07: Regulatory Frameworks

In this module we will briefly review the major components of regulatory reform, the characteristics of an open and competitive telecommunications market, and the role both of regulation and of the regulator. The second part of this module focuses on the pressing issue of Network Neutrality.

Module 08: Internet Governance for Development

This section of the course will focus on the role of policy frameworks and regulatory initiatives in spurring Internet deployment and communications growth to address core development issues, such as the Digital Divide.

Module 09: Legal Aspects of Internet Governance

There is no single, universally agreed-to law or set of regulations for the Internet. International, regional, and national legal regimes, and the various institutions which create and influence the development of laws and policy, all play a role in regulating Internet activity.


With thanks to Niel Harper, Susan Chalmers, Laureana Pavon, Toral Cowieson, Jean-Paul Nkurunziza, John Klensin, Sally Wentworth, Christine Runnegar, Phil Roberts, Nicolas Seidler, Day One Technologies

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