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There remains a widespread perception among both the public and elements of academia that the Internet is “ungovernable”. However, this idea, as well as the notion that the Internet has become some type of cyber-libertarian utopia, is wholly inaccurate. Governments may certainly encounter tremendous difficulty in attempting to regulate the Internet, but numerous types of authority have nevertheless become pervasive. So who, then, governs the Internet? This book will contend that the Internet is, in fact, being governed, that it is being governed by specific and identifiable networks of policy actors, and that an argument can be made as to how it is being governed.

This book will present a new conceptual framework for analysis that deconstructs the Internet into four policy “layers” with the aim of formulating a new political architecture that accurately maps out and depicts authority on the Internet today. Foremost, it will seek to draw a distinction between those actors who have a demonstrable policymaking authority versus those who merely wield influence. The book will then apply this four-layer model to an analysis of U.S. national cybersecurity policy, post-9/11. Ultimately, it will seek to determine the consequences of these political arrangements and governance policies.


This book chapter was originally published in Who Governs the Internet? A Political Architecture by Robert J. Domanski (2015), reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield. All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.


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