EU-US Relations on Internet Governance - 14 Nov 2019

As internet governance issues emerge in the wake of innovations such as the Internet of Things and advanced artificial intelligence, there is an urgent need for the EU and US to establish a common, positive multi-stakeholder vision for regulating and governing the internet.

  • Political, economic, sociological and technological factors are poised to challenge EU and US ideological positions on internet governance, which will make it difficult to find consensus and common ground in the years to come.
  • The EU and US share core values and perspectives relating to internet governance, such as openness, freedom and interoperability, as well as a human rights framework for cybersecurity. There have been many examples of successful multi-stakeholder cooperation between the EU and US, including the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) transition and the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG).
  • There are also subtle differences between the EU and US, and each has different reasons to support multi-stakeholderism. Cases that highlight growing tensions in EU–US coordination on internet governance include the controversies surrounding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the WHOIS system that governs domain name registration data, and the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which undermined an independent cybersecurity review.
  • Internet governance is becoming more complex, with a multiplicity of actors and no obvious authority for important emerging issues. Additionally, the rise of China and its authoritarian vision for the future of the internet is a threat to the current internet governance institutions that have been shaped by and reflect Western values.
  • To bridge ideological gaps the EU and US should build capacity between likeminded stakeholders, create a taskforce on effective multi-stakeholder internet governance, and work through non-governmental stakeholders to improve participation.
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  • Publisher: Chatham House
  • File Type: PDF
  • Page Count: 33
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