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Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Reach, Choice, and Transparency: Governing the Internet in the 21st Century

| May 2023

As inventions go, the Internet stacks up with the best of them: the lightbulb, the automobile, even fire. In its first thirty years, the Internet’s worldwide adoption and breadth of application has exceeded any other technological advance in history. It expands our reach by bringing people, experiences, and things to us with the click of a mouse. It connects us to an increasing number of gadgets, from smartphones to voice kiosks and soon self-driving vehicles that will no doubt converse with us while we commute, happily oblivious to the traffic around us. We revel in our newfound agility and versatility. Importantly, our precious network kept us sane during a worldwide pandemic and enabled the world to work remotely while most of its population was frozen at home. For resilience against catastrophes alone, the Internet has become indispensable.