WATERLOO, Canada — May 6, 2014 — A new report from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) identifies a much larger group of potential “swing states,” whose behaviour will influence the future of Internet governance and international relations more broadly.
In Tipping the Scale: An Analysis of Global Swing States in the Internet Governance Debate, Tim Maurer and Robert Morgus define a “swing state in foreign policy” as “a state whose mixed political orientation gives it a greater impact than its population or economic output might warrant and that has the resources that enable it to decisively influence the trajectory of an international process.”
The authors explain how, following the December 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, much of the debate over Internet governance centred on predefined groups of countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa (or the “IBSA” group).
But, citing new data — including the countries’ respective voting records at the WCIT and various memberships — they identify a new group of 30 potential swing states that includes Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Ghana and Malaysia.
“Their behaviour will shape what norms and institutions will govern various aspects of international relations in the future, including the Internet,” Maurer and Morgus write.
The paper is the latest in the Internet Governance Papers series, part of CIGI’s global security project “Organized Chaos: Reimagining the Internet.” The opinions expressed in the reports are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Tim Maurer is a research fellow at New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute focusing on cyberspace and international affairs. His research has been published by Harvard University, Foreign Policy, CNN and Slate among others. In October 2013 and February 2014, he spoke about cyber security at the United Nations, and his work has been featured by print, radio and television media, including National Public Radio’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, Public Radio International’s The World, Al Jazeera, the Los AngelesTimes, the Russian newspaper Kommersant and the German newspaper Die Zeit. His current projects centre on the international cyber security norm process, information technology in the context of sanctions and export controls, and swing states in the global Internet policy debate. Prior to joining New America, he worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and gained experience with the United Nations in Rwanda, Geneva and New York. He conducts his academic research as a non-resident research fellow at the Citizen Lab.
Robert Morgus is a research assistant at New America’s Open Technology Institute, where he works on Internet governance, international cyber security and human rights online, specifically sanctions and export controls. He has written on a wide range of topics revolving around international security, conflict and development, including the interaction of economic shocks and violent unrest, civil society and postwar reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has spent significant time in the Balkans researching the region’s history, conflicts and politics. He holds a B.A. in diplomacy and world affairs from Occidental College.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (BlackBerry), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.cigionline.org.