Digital Foreign Policy

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Almost all digital communication is currently based on the technical infrastructure of the internet. This infrastructure has a physical component in the form of a global cable network, but also depends crucially on software standards such as the TCP/IP protocol. Regulating this digital infrastructure was long regarded as an apolitical and purely technical coordination task. Increasingly, however, we are seeing that decisions about global digital infrastructures have enormous consequences for the future of digitalisation. Such decisions create path dependencies and alter power constellations, and increasingly represent an arena of political contestation. Internet governance, therefore, is far more than technical coordination; regulatory decisions in this field crucially shape the political development of digitalisation.

Analysis of institutional structures and actor constellations is one important starting point to approach this issue. Internationally, questions of digitalisation are negotiated at different levels and in a wide range of formats. Alongside classical inter-governmental forums like the EU and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) there are also multi-stakeholder formats like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Governance Forum, as well as bodies composed largely of technical experts, such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The debate on “digital diplomacy”, moreover, poses the question of the impact of digitalisation on modes of interaction in international politics.


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Jan Melissen, Emillie V. de Keulenaar

The Case for Critical Digital Diplomacy

Working Paper, Project “Diplomacy in the 21st Century”, No 07, February 2017, 7 Pages
Marcel Dickow

EurasiaNet – How They Split the Internet

in: Sabine Fischer, Margarete Klein (eds.)
Conceivable Surprises

Contributions to Research Papers 2016/RP 10, October 2016, 78 Pages, S. 43-46
Annegret Bendiek, Christoph Berlich, Tobias Metzger

The European Union’s Digital Assertiveness

SWP Comment 2015/C 43, September 2015, 8 Pages
Ben Wagner, Patricia Mundus

Multistakeholder Governance and Nodal Authority – Understanding Internet Exchange Points

In: NoC Internet Governance Case Studies Series, Centre for Internet and Human Rights, January 2015
Christian Schaller, Johannes Thimm

Internet Governance and the ITU: Maintaining the Multistakeholder Approach

The German Perspective

in: Council on Foreign Relations, 23.10.2014 (online)
Annegret Bendiek

Beyond U.S. Hegemony: The Future of a Liberal Order of the Internet

in: Transatlantic Academy Collaborative Report 2014, pp. 57-69
Displaying results 11 to 17 out of 17
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