The Global Governance of the Internet

in Duncan Snidal & Michael N. Barnnett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Institutions (OUP, Forthcoming 2023)

Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-17

19 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2022 Last revised: 18 Oct 2022

See all articles by Duncan B. Hollis

Duncan B. Hollis

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Kal Raustiala

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: August 22, 2022

Abstract

This essay surveys Internet governance as an international institution. We focus on three key aspects of information and communication technologies. First, we highlight how, unlike natural commons such as sea or space, digital governance involves a socio-technical system with a man-made architecture reflecting particular and contingent technological choices. Second, we explore how private actors historically played a significant role in making such choices, leading to the rise of existing “multistakeholder” governance frameworks. Third, we examine how these multistakeholder structures favored by the U.S. and its technology companies have come under increasing pressure from multilateral competitors, particularly those championed by China under the banner of “internet sovereignty,” as well as more modest efforts by the European Union to employ an approach akin to “embedded liberalism” for digital governance. The future of the Internet turns on how what we term these Californian, Chinese, and Carolingian visions of Internet governance compete, evolve, and interact. Thus, this essay characterizes Internet governance as a heterogenous, dynamic, multi-layered set of principles, regimes and institutions—a regime complex—that not only governs cyberspace today, but has adapted and transformed along pathways that may serve as signposts for international institutions that regulate other global governance challenges.

Keywords: cyberspace, internet, internet governance, digital governance, multilateralism, multistakeholder, 'splinternet', regime complex

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Hollis, Duncan B. and Raustiala, Kal, The Global Governance of the Internet (August 22, 2022). in Duncan Snidal & Michael N. Barnnett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Institutions (OUP, Forthcoming 2023), Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4197418 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4197418

Duncan B. Hollis (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Kal Raustiala

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-794-4856 (Phone)

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