International Professional Fora:

A study of civil society organisation participation in internet governance

International Professional Fora:

A study of civil society organisation participation in internet governance

Does civil society participation in self-regulatory fora promote public interest goals in internet governance at the international level? Over a period of three years, the project will lift the lid on standard-setting at the international level with detailed insight into a world which, although highly technical, very much affects the way in which citizens live and work on a daily basis. 

Civil society participation has long been observed in international organisations with state representation such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). However, there has been less analysis of participation of civil society groups in technical standard developing organisations (SDOs) with no formal state involvement which is the goal of the project. There have been recent moves towards active inclusion of a wider number of participants within such fora at the international level. Such developments include a 2012 Joint Statement of Affirmation signed by the IETF, the Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Architecture Board (IAB), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which commits the organisations to an “open participatory process” and a report in 2013 by the Internet Society which states “multistakeholder governance is the only way forward for Internet Governance”. In 2013, the European Commission (EC) established the Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO) which aims to establish an on-line platform to include “all stakeholders across the world in debates and decisions on internet policies” with a “core alliance of countries and non-governmental organisations”.  

The project investigates solutions put forth by different actors in SDOs with case studies on standards for privacy/data protection; mobile communications and open source software. This will be an invaluable study considering that the standards have a salient role to play in the development of markets and citizens interaction in the world today but are, at the same time, immensely technical, technocratic and largely inaccessible to the non-expert.




IntCivSoc Documentary: Net of Rights. The film explores the relation between Internet protocols and the promotion and protection of Human Rights.
10:25AM Feb 21
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10:50AM Feb 20
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05:20PM Feb 19

Project Blog

Digital Object Architecture and IoT standardisation 2018-01-28 - The proposal for the adoption of the Digital Object Architecture (DOA) (also known as the Handle System) as a universal standard for information and data management within the International Telecommunications... More detail
Intellectual Property Rules (IPRs) in Standard-Setting Organisations (SSOs) 2017-11-21 - In standard setting interoperability is key. It ensures that products developed by different vendors can work together to provide the anticipated service to the user. For the creation of interoperable... More detail
QUIC 2017-05-15 - In 2013, Google announced that it was working on a way of reducing latency on the web by developing a new transport protocol called QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections). As explained here, network... More detail


Current Issues in Standard Developing Organisations’ decision-making for the internet - videos During our workshop on the current issues in standard developing organisations’ decision-making... More detail
‘Civil Society & Democracy in the Economic Arena’ at Cass Business School Professor Alison Harcourt spoke at the ESRC funded seminar on 'Civil Society & Democracy in the Economic... More detail
Launch of Centre for Cultural and Media Policy Studies at University of Warwick Project investigator, Professor Seamus Simpson, gave a talk on the role of spectrum governance in European... More detail
Project Workshop 2017 - Current issues in SDO decision-making for the Internet The project team held its second workshop in London on November 15th 2017 at Portcullis House, Westm... More detail
2017 ECPR General Conference, Oslo The project team attended the ECPR General Conference on 6-9 September 2017 in Oslo.  More detail
EuroDIG 2017 The project team attended the EuroDIG conference in Tallinn on the 6th and 7th June. Professor Alison... More detail
Project Panel at Salford International Media Festival The project team presented a panel at the 2016 Challenging Media Landscapes Conference: Access, Participation... More detail
Gikii London 2016 The Gikii 2016 Conference took place in London on 30 September. The event was held at the Notre... More detail

Research Team