World Web Governance is an rising and comparatively new subject. Though in depth literature has mentioned processes resembling the event of the Web by america, in addition to establishments such because the Web Company for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the United Nations (UN) involvement in processes resembling Web governance Discussion board (IGF ) There is no such thing as a consensus on the present state of governance given a number of rules on the Web. The start of the 2020s signifies an urgency for digital collaboration within the face of crucial moments within the economic system such because the widespread manipulation of electoral processes and the COVID-19 pandemic. The geopolitical part has by no means been extra pronounced in web governance, and its ranges of operation and use are more and more interconnected. These globally used ranges of infrastructure, protocols, and functions are a part of an ecosystem generally known as “Web governance”.
Essentially the most broadly accepted definition of web governance is:
Web governance is the appliance by governments, the personal sector and civil society of ideas, norms, guidelines, procedures and applications that form the event and use of the Web (Web Governance Working Group) [WGIG] 2005).
We consider latest occasions will enable three fashions of governance to coexist: (1) from the US, which prioritizes the free market by way of its giant transnational applied sciences and concentrates knowledge that turns into cybernetic power sources; (2) the European, whose latest motion by the European Union has created strict extraterritorial rules affecting American companies; and (3) the Chinese language, the place authoritarian interventionism allowed international companies to enter restrictions whereas creating giant, transnational technology-market companies past the socio-economic stage. The paradox we discover in web governance is that the community itself is inherent within the idea of “international”. Nonetheless, its governance doesn’t correspond to this concept, as several types of governance and regimes on sure points during which nation states are concerned co-exist. Personal sector and even civil society.
Joseph Nye Jr. (2014) mapped main worldwide establishments and their regimes associated to our on-line world – updating elements of his concept of advanced interdependence developed with Robert Keohane within the 1970s – and revealed the financial interdependence between nations and the position of the Internets. One in all its most vital statements is that nations don’t essentially must cooperate on all points and may prioritize points associated to commerce and economic system, though they often differ extra in accordance with preferences in relation to human rights. It’s also what Farrell and Newman (2020) known as “concatenated globalization”, concerning the robust interdependence that maintains ties between nations that will or could not agree on different points – just like the US and China. One other level raised by Nye and essential for the topic of Web governance is that what the complexes of regimes lack in coherence is compensated for by flexibility and adaptableness, which on this topic of fast improvement are benefits that allow the actors to regulate to uncertainties.
A number of present research on international web governance targeted on remoted useful ranges or analyzed instances of particular nations resembling China and its “digital sovereignty”. The transition state of affairs we’re at present dwelling in makes these analyzes extra advanced by inserting China into infrastructure layers (through 5G and corporations like Huawei) and content material / socio-economic (through apps like TikTok and WeChat) on the identical time. One other vital part on this international state of affairs, together with the normal United States and its tech giants, is the European Union and its extraterritorial rules such because the Basic Knowledge Safety Regulation (GDPR) and probably the upcoming Digital Providers Act (DSA). . Due to this fact, completely different governance fashions exist alongside what remains to be on the protocol stage, a single Web. Requirements imposed by nation states (resembling knowledge safety legal guidelines) exist within the present state of affairs alongside these originating from establishments resembling ICANN, alongside their political implications and personal self-regulatory measures (Belli et al., 2019). ICANN is the worldwide multi-stakeholder group accountable for managing contracts associated to regulating the usage of Web names and numbers or the Area Title System (DNS) (Datysgeld, 2017).
The dialogue is not restricted to platforms and personal firms that occupy a major place on the Web. The multi-stakeholder mannequin developed for this governance is insufficient in view of the nationwide stress and the difficulties of the personal sector in selling efficient self-regulation (Hofmann, 2016). On this sense, the query arises whether or not the transnational origins of the Web are being known as into query in view of the actions of the nation states. This query has existed for many years in several contexts and with the involvement of various actors. Lemos (2020) additionally describes it as web moments of dystopia and utopia; At the moment second of 2020, it’s a robust dystopia because the mechanisms of worldwide cooperation attempt to cling to the “utopian” concepts of multi-stakeholderism, however with a excessive diploma of realism, which suggests prioritizing the Westphalian state-run mannequin .
Understanding how web governance has been organized because the 2010s is efficacious. For the West, the occasion that marks this new state of affairs is the 2013 unveiling of Edward Snowden and the ensuing stress from the worldwide group on the decentralization of the Web. For the East, the rise of Xi Jinping to energy in China in 2012 and a brand new Web mannequin characterised by elevated censorship and the upkeep of robust state management. This is able to quickly be expanded to incorporate nations with frequent pursuits, such because the Belt and Street Initiative (BRI) in Southeast Asia and Africa.
As talked about earlier, there are three fashions of web governance to contemplate: Chinese language, American and European. Therefore, we will use the time period “mannequin” to indicate a nation-state’s pursuits in the best way the Web operates on its territory (and probably past). We perceive by “cybernetic power sources” additionally a sequence of sources that often belong to giant expertise transnational and are in a position to change habits and affect societies, resembling B. private knowledge, info infrastructure, computing capability, consumer base and use of algorithms (Mariano et al.; 2018).
At the moment is completely different from any earlier level within the historical past of web governance, and we will justify this assertion with two examples: For the primary time, within the late 2010s, the business joined the state calling for regulation, like rising from the case of Cambridge Analytica in 2018 (Pigatto, 2020). The European regulation on the safety of non-public knowledge has even put stress on ICANN, which remains to be attempting to implement an entry coverage to the Whois database (a worldwide database that goes again to the start of the web and that was the place all registrants had been saved) for many who owned domains publicly) and attempt to enter the area of the Worldwide Telecommunication Union (ITU) – historically multilateral.
Whereas US firms invested within the web by way of a stage of content material with providers like Fb and Google, China grew to become a serious participant within the infrastructure layer, though it additionally stands out for some apps that threaten US hegemony on this space, particularly in Donald Trump’s protectionist state of affairs. At the moment Fb has 2.7 billion lively customers (Clement, 2020), whereas the favored Chinese language app WeChat has 1.2 billion (Thomala, 2020). ICANN – at present international and multi-stakeholder, but additionally by American creation in a liberal context – begins this decade looking for itself in the course of the protocols whereas complying with authorities rules and sustaining “one web” because the motto is . The establishment appears to be actively attempting to not get entangled in geopolitics.
We thus have a posh web governance paradox during which the globalization sustained by the web contradicts nationalisms, politics and completely different cultures and requires at the least cooperative options from all actors. Confronted with the problem of sustaining a globalized economic system and a transnational movement of providers, sustaining and utilizing the Web lies between favoring nationwide markets or governments, which questions us the way to discover such a stability.
Is there international governance with a number of curiosity teams?
To speak about web governance, we’ve got to start out from the principle attribute attributed to it by america and a few European nations: the multi-stakeholder mannequin. These days it has expanded to different areas, however this mannequin principally opens up area for all events, no matter whether or not they’re nation states, personal firms or civil society. In probably the most incessantly used definitions there are three teams of curiosity teams, with the predominance of the state being legitimized by the Westphalian mannequin during which the state is sovereign. As DeNardis (2020) explains:
A crucial level for understanding Web governance is that there is no such thing as a single system of monitoring and coordination, however fairly an entire constellation of capabilities, every of which is monitored by completely different governance constructions which can be distributed amongst a number of actors. Total, this administration and coordination of the applied sciences required to maintain the Web useful and the heterogeneous tips that apply to those applied sciences is considered as distributed, multi-stakeholder governance, even when in apply multi-stakeholder agreements hardly ever do Correspond to the rhetoric of multi-stakeholderism.
Linked to the composition of the multi-stakeholder is the bottom-up character of the system, during which choices are made based mostly on the necessities of the taking part actors and go by way of all others. In idea, Web governance ought to work on the idea that each one stakeholders affected by an motion will be included within the debate.
The “cyber-libertarian” disposition of the Web epistemy, which was adopted by many scientists within the midst of political and cultural actions from the 1960s and 1970s, must be emphasised. Within the 1980s, beneath the management of his epistemic group, some of the vital establishments for Web upkeep emerged: The institution of the Web Engineering Process Drive (IETF) in 1986 marked the start of an institutionalization for the governance of the community with values from the cyberlibertarian tradition.
Wu and Goldsmith (2006) examine the mechanisms of presidency from prime to backside – that’s, when there’s a chain of command during which residents obey as a consequence of coercive prices – and the alternative mechanism the place dialogue, argument and consensus movement from the underside to the highest. Such an concept is summed up within the well-known line of one in all these group members, Dave Clark: “We reject: kings, presidents and voters. We consider in: tough consensus and operating code ”. This dynamic is essential for the development of the ideas of web governance that exist at the moment. The central concept is that the web protocols are impartial and subsequently transnational. Researchers who had been current on the creation of the community had been in a position to put the tradition and values of their time into apply in a cosmopolitan development. In these pursuits, nevertheless, a sort of “replace” occurs as new actors enter the Web ecosystem, particularly for business functions (and to develop protocol builders and various and extra networks). Utilizing the identical IETF instance at the moment, a number of members on this establishment symbolize pursuits from the personal sector, which signifies that the market determines technical choices that indicate public coverage. DeNardis (2014) calls it “privatization of web governance”, because the variety of actors will increase, so does the interplay between them.
Along with the infrastructure stage, the roles of the person actors had been outlined and usually accepted by the Tunis Agenda, a doc that resulted from the World Summit on the Info Society (WSIS), which passed off between 2003 and 2005 by the ITU, and is usually accepted by the Web Governance Discussion board (IGF), a bigger dialogue area on Web points that embody public tips with out making binding choices. Based on the doc:
Political authority for internet-related questions of public order is the sovereign proper of states. You’ve gotten rights and obligations in issues of worldwide web politics. The personal sector had and may proceed to play an vital position within the improvement of the Web, each technically and economically. Civil society has additionally performed an vital position in web points, significantly on the group stage, and may proceed to play such a task. Intergovernmental organizations have had and may proceed to play a supportive position in coordinating public coverage points associated to the Web. Worldwide organizations had and may proceed to play an vital position within the improvement of internet-related technical requirements and related tips (WSIS, 2005).
As Doria (2014) recollects, nevertheless, this angle was unilaterally imposed by the nation states with out consulting different actors. At current, these definitions should not mirrored in apply. The personal sector carried out a number of capabilities that initially belonged to the state and had the facility to take away posts from customers of any social community, resembling heads of state. Civil society reveals itself to be a high-participation actor, however its concerns should not all the time included into the decision-making course of, leading to a number of customers missing enough data of how the community works and the platforms they use (as in addition to some authorities officers) . Though intergovernmental organizations search to create areas to facilitate dialogue (just like the IGF itself), they fail to create incentives for efficient participation of all actors, which contributes to regime fragmentation
The event of the layers reveals how there’s an growing interdependence between them – infrastructure, protocols and content material – and the way they had been initially conceived by assigning roles that don’t all the time favor dialogue. With the growing presence of the sovereign energy of the state increasing the Web with geopolitical implications, it’s pure that higher demand for worldwide cooperation seeks to maintain the Web’s personal proposition.
On the transnational stage, varied efforts are being made to develop suggestions and greatest practices between actors, because the introduction of binding measures appears tough as a consequence of constraints resembling state sovereignty itself and the excessive velocity of change and technological developments, which require flexibility from all actors . One instance is “The Age of Digital Interdependence” (UN, 2019), a report on UN digital cooperation that was revealed in 2019 on the request of UN Secretary Basic António Guterres and which additionally highlights the necessity for joint efforts by multilateralism and multi-stakeholders. The concept of ”digital collaboration” refers to maximizing the advantages and minimizing the social harm brought on by rising applied sciences on the Web by way of “cooperation techniques”, even when it isn’t exactly specified what sort of “techniques” are concerned a potential approximation to the thought of multi-stakeholder regimes or treaties. The doc additionally reminds that not solely completely different nations must work collectively, but additionally their home entities, resembling regulators, to carry dialogues and share experiences and data.
The world suffers from a “confidence deficit dysfunction”, because the UN Secretary Basic mentioned in 2018 on the UN Basic Meeting. Belief between nations and in multilateral processes has diminished as states focus extra on strategic competitors than on frequent pursuits and behave extra aggressively. Constructing belief and underpinning it with clear and agreed requirements is central to the success of digital collaboration (UN, 2019).
The 2010s and upcoming transformations
In 2013, Edward Snowden introduced that the PRISM system had direct entry to the servers of most main web firms. This in depth monitoring program made it potential to entry knowledge for browsing the Web in addition to the content material of e-mails, voice and video calls, the switch of information and rather more. Corporations like Google, Microsoft, Fb, and Yahoo! seem within the information referred to by Snowden as a few of the “contributors” to the mission. In doing so, this episode revealed the dimension and depth of energy concentrated by these companies and the US authorities, including to worldwide pressures and questions concerning the centrality of the community within the nation.
In response to this motion, varied private and non-private measures have been taken, such because the elevated use of encryption and nationwide rules that present rights and obligations to Web actors, significantly with regard to the safety of non-public knowledge. These had been the instances of the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Web (or Marco Civil da Web) in Brazil and the GDPR within the European Union. “2016 was a milestone in expertise historical past, the primary yr because the invention of the Web during which extra internet visitors was encrypted than unencrypted.” (Snowden, 2019).
Relating to China, earlier than Xi Jinping, when the community had comparatively extra freedom, there was some freedom of expression and VPN use was widespread. Nonetheless, on the identical time that a number of US firms had been blocked from working on Chinese language territory, state controls tightened. As Economic system (2018) notes, “The problem for China’s management is to keep up the advantages of the Web – selling commerce and innovation – with out expertise accelerating coverage change.” And Chinese language progress passed off not solely within the nationwide and company context, but additionally in establishments and worldwide actions.
The Chinese language place initially didn’t achieve in significance in worldwide boards, for instance within the ITU 2012, the place they labored along with Russia for multilateral Web governance. So that they developed their very own technique utilizing the instance of the “Digital Silk Street”, a system of superior IT infrastructure with different nations in Asia. Along with internet hosting the World Web Convention (WIC) yearly, China now has a robust voice in ITU, the place in September 2019 the proposal for a “new Web”, together with a brand new IP (Web Protocol), was submitted by a crew composed by Members of Huawei. (Gross; Murgia, 2020). It’s also value mentioning that, as with ICANN, the ITU is usually not politically lively or doesn’t consider the potential makes use of of technological improvement. For the group, the use relies on every individual or nation, which makes the Westphalian system most well-liked.
They nonetheless existed within the context of the 2010s growth of social networks with the discourse of realizing the “promise” of a democratic web that would give each related particular person a voice. Like all web instrument, Fb was seen as an instrument of freedom and revolution in 2011 within the context of the Arab Spring (Kurbalija, 2014). On this approach, most of the firms which have emerged from social networks apply of their proposals the cosmopolitan beliefs of universalization and connection with out borders, thus gaining robust political outlines.
Nonetheless, this beforehand optimistic side was closely offset within the second half of the last decade in electoral contexts in democratic nations, the place social media resembling Fb, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter had been discovered for use to unfold disinformation. what a “Techlash”Towards these firms. Makes an attempt at regulating content material vary from self-regulatory measures by the platforms themselves to legislative processes that endanger basic values resembling freedom of speech and knowledge safety. That is illustrated by a invoice known as the “Pretend Information Invoice” (Invoice 2630/2020) in 2020 in Brazil. The invoice accommodates a proposal on the traceability of message forwarding in web functions resembling WhatsApp, which violates the precept of the presumption of innocence and doesn’t comprise any ensures of effectiveness.
We argue that social networks present a focus of issues which were current on the Web from the very starting: conflicts with Westphalian jurisdictions, transnational movement of non-public knowledge and developments affecting dimensions “exterior the digital world”, resembling B. Political elections and socio-economic dynamics. This current second will also be seen as an intergenerational battle: one can recall the instances when the web was synonymous with anonymity (because of the anarchic nature of the web to start with) or for sharing areas like blogs about frequent pursuits (or of non-public expression, just like the photologists, and many others.). The arrival of social networks launched some social obligation to establish every consumer, with varied incentives for image posting, localization, real-time actions and different content material for higher interplay and fewer privateness, which additionally contributed to monitoring mechanisms .
Along with this advanced ecosystem, there’s the proposal for additional democratization and attain, which the Web ostensibly ought to provide everybody, in addition to nearer and simpler contact between the rulers and the dominated. Such collectively constructed social phenomena have undergone extreme transformations that had been barely absorbed by their customers, not to mention by legal guidelines and authorities bureaucracies, given the fast advances made by Silicon Valley firms. Mark Zuckerberg’s well-known innovation motto was: “Act quick and break issues”. However what to do when issues are damaged
It has develop into extra notable that many platforms must adapt to native legal guidelines, e.g. B. Apple, which shops knowledge from Chinese language customers territorially on China’s servers. a social community that receives court docket orders to take away profiles worldwide, resembling Twitter and Fb, acquired from a Brazilian minister; or perhaps a Chinese language app like TikTok, which is in peril of being banned from the US, with the choice of being purchased by a big US firm, a measure that goes past pressured knowledge localization.
In view of this multitude of actors and the completely different approaches of nations, specifically the USA, the European Union and China, the time period “international governance”, which is often utilized in research on Web governance, doesn’t seem applicable, but additionally not as “transnational” Governance “”. As acknowledged by Gomes and Merchán (2016, p. 90):
It may be argued that it’s exactly this tangle of relationships between public (i.e., state, its organizations and businesses) and personal actors (i.e., companies, social actions, non-governmental organizations, or multilateral businesses) that’s highlighted that outline the boundaries between state and market turning into cloudy and most well-liked the time period transnational over international, because the second tended to unify these relationships across the superb of the distinctive international and cut back the significance of contextual specifics if that is likely one of the variations between international and transnational governance.
Therefore, that is precisely the paradox we discover in web governance: the community itself is a part of the idea of “international”, however its governance doesn’t conform to this concept, as there are several types of governance and regimes on sure points during which states take part are, coexist, the personal sector and even civil society. Governance that’s certainly “international” would require international efforts in agreements on transnational knowledge flows (e.g. China’s Nice Firewall), moderation of content material by way of the platforms, and different points that usually require versatile and basic guidelines, not rapidly out of date for technological improvement and the ensuing new social conditions by way of the usage of these applied sciences.
The present second of change in web governance, ensuing from an setting extra centered on personal self-regulation and now searching for to stability the facility of huge transnational companies with state regulation, is more and more being pushed by geopolitical conflicts and nationwide actions influenced. The factor that appears to be preserving the Web out of a sequence of “nationalization efforts” is the economic system and the income that include it. Whereas there at the moment are legal guidelines regulating private knowledge, they search to keep up the transnational movement of that knowledge and harmonize safer practices that may make the actors concerned extra dependable. Nonetheless, there’s nonetheless a necessity to research whether or not efforts such because the European Union’s GDPR conflict with bilateral agreements that enable such flows and proceed to advertise excessive ranges of economic income, be it for the personal sector or the state in informational, management or data of preferences in disregard of the essential ideas of human rights. Therefore, web governance appears to be on the best way to an enormous “cyber economic system” which is unified within the “international” idea. Issues about consumer rights and human rights basically are nationalized and fragmented by completely different web makes use of between nations and areas.
There may be an ever growing demand for research on the assorted subjects associated to the Web in an effort to mirror a point of fragmentation in several areas. These embody instances of non-public knowledge safety, content material moderation, monitoring, antitrust rules and developments in synthetic intelligence. The present framework is subsequently a paradox: the Web remains to be distinctive in its protocols, however the content material layer is more and more fragmented and political, with language threatening deeper fragmentation of different community layers. The query stays whether or not the fragmentation of governance can quantity to fragmentation of the Web itself. And if not, we have to discover a strategy to foster cooperation and belief mechanisms between actors in order that governments are as various as potential.
* This examine is funded by the São Paulo Analysis Basis, FAPESP.
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