Global Internet Governance - Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies

2023 Theme Rationale and Main Topics

While during the early stage of Internet development security concerns were generally dealt with as a regulation matter with law enforcement authorities fighting cybercrime, cybersecurity has recently become one of the most debated and controversial issue in the field of internet governance.

Cyberattacks have changed in nature and intensity: their growing number; the variety of their targets (public institutions, critical infrastructures and utilities, large and strategic companies); in some cases the terrorist and/or quasi-military objectives of their proven or alleged authors, sponsors or beneficiaries; the expansion of their surface, making profit of digitalization progresses in all sectors; together with the escalation of geopolitical tensions and conflicts; are all features pushing cybersecurity issues to the top of the agendas of both public and private actors.

The increasing relevance of cybersecurity is reshaping state powers, public administration, private businesses, civil society and academic research as well. New agencies, procedures, and structures have been institutionalised both by national governments and international organisations to deal with cybersecurity policy problems. New power relations are being established, both inside and beyond the state. Governments, both at the national and local levels, are still struggling to find their own governance structures and set of instruments in the range of different cybersecurity models (e.g. cyber defence, cyber offence, cyber resilience, etc.) and their possible implementations. The provision of public goods and services is undergoing a profound re-design and re-engineering process led by cybersecurity concerns, that implies new models of citizenship and new modes of public administration. Private companies are facing new challenges, often dealing with a shortage of skills and competences of the workforce, while new companies and new business models are emerging around the transnational market of cybersecurity.

At the global level, states, through their representatives at the United Nations and its different bodies, confirmed that international law applies online as it does offline. They also identified the need to better understand how international law could be applied in cyberspace, with issues of attribution, liability, sovereignty, rule of law and due diligence being raised. Given the multistakeholder feature of global internet governance, private companies have also jumped in with their own proposals, promoting their roles as possible norms entrepreneurs. Technical management and standardisation organisations have a prominent role to play as well when dealing with global cybersecurity.

As a consequence, new research agendas and scientific perspectives on cybersecurity are consolidating, shaping a novel multidisciplinary field of inquiry that is not only exceeding the original field of internet governance, but seems also phagocytizing it: internet governance as an issue of cybersecurity governance.

After having addressed “Global Internet Governance as a Diplomacy Issue” at its first edition in 2017, “Overcoming Inequalities in Internet Governance” in 2018, “Europe as a Global Player in Internet Governance” in 2019, “Online Information Governance” in 2020, and “Global Internet Governance and International Human Rights” in 2022, the European Multidisciplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies turns its attention this year to the governance of cybersecurity, in view of further investigating and inquiring the political, economic and epistemic transformations connected to the rise of cybersecurity and how they impact on democracy and human rights.

In addition to general internet governance issues and topics, submissions are particularly welcome on the following themes:

  • Cybersecurity and democracy: civil liberties and human rights;
  • Cybersecurity, citizenship and digital sovereignty;
  • Institutionalisation of cybersecurity as a field of public policy;
  • From cybersecurity to cyber resilience: risk analysis, organisational challenges and capacity building;
  • Models and typologies of cybersecurity;
  • Relationships between cybersecurity and internet governance;
  • New theoretical frameworks and methods for the study of cybersecurity;
  • Cybersecurity and public administration digitalization;
  • The cybersecurity market and business models;
  • New technological developments and cybersecurity;
  • Cybersecurity narratives: policy discourses, cultures and ideologies;
  • Cybersecurity strategies, policies, instruments, and their implementation;
  • Multilateral and multistakeholder discussions and instruments for the global governance of cybersecurity;
  • Cybersecurity in international relations: cyber warfare, cyber peace, diplomacy and international law;
  • Cybersecurity in Europe Union strategy and policies.