WRR highlights urgent need to protect the Internet through international policy

Second WRR Policy Brief entitled The public core of the internet.

The growth and health of our digital economies and societies depend heavily on the backbone protocols and infrastructure of the internet. This backbone is now in urgent need of protection against unwarranted interference in order to sustain the growth and the integrity of the internet.

The internet’s backbone of key protocols and infrastructure can be considered a global public good that provides benefits to everyone in the world. Countering the growing state interference with this backbone requires a new international agenda for internet governance that departs from the notion of a global public good. Core ingredients of this strategy are:

  • To establish and disseminate an international norm stipulating that the internet’s public backbone – its main protocols and infrastructure– must be safeguarded against unwarranted intervention by governments.
  • To advocate efforts to clearly differentiate at the national and international level between internet security (security of the internet infrastructure) and national security (security through the internet) and have separate parties address these different forms.
  • To broaden the arena for cyber diplomacy to include new coalitions of states (including the so-called ‘swing states’) and private companies, including internet giants as well as internet intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers.

This is argued by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) in a Policy Brief entitled The public core of the Internet: an international agenda for Internet governance which is published on the eve of the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015 (GCCS2015) that will take place in The Hague on 16-17 April 2015.

The policy brief was written by prof. dr. Dennis Broeders on the basis of the Dutch report De publieke kern van het internet. Naar een buitenlands internetbeleid, which was presented to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, on 31 March 2015. 

Note for editors – not for publication

WRR policy brief nr. 2: The public core of the internet: an international agenda for internet governance is available from the WRR website. A full length English version of the report will be published shortly with Amsterdam University Press under the same title as the policy brief.

Information on this publication: M.C. van Leijenhorst/ tel.: +31 (0)70 356 4619/ +31 (0)6 815 79533/leijenhorst@wrr.nl.

About the WRR

The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) is an independent advisory body to the Dutch government. The task of the WRR is to advise the government on issues that are of great importance for society. The reports of the WRR are not tied to one policy sector. Rather, its reports go beyond individual sectors; they are concerned with the direction of government policy for the longer term.