The Democratic Nature of the Internet’s Infrastructure

Discussion Paper 3/2023
465
This publication is only available in electronic format
Published: 
26 May 2023
Language: 
English
Pages: 
29
ISBN: 
978-91-7671-641-0 (PDF)
Author(s): 
Konstantinos Komaitis

The strength of the Internet lies in its original design, which in some ways mirrors democratic ideas. As with the separation of powers in a true democratic state, the architecture of the Internet has no centre of control and allows power to flow from the bottom up and even from the margins, rather than always from above. During the past few years, policymakers have directed their attention towards the top layers of the ‘Internet stack’, those where the effect on democracy is more easily observable. Little attention has been paid to the infrastructure of the Internet—the part that is invisible to users yet constitutes the essence of what the Internet is really about.

This paper seeks to alert democratic stakeholders to often ignored aspects of the digital threats to democracy, and to highlight the key weak spots of the Internet as an infrastructure upon which democracy itself partly rests.

Contents

Executive summary

Introduction

1. The Internet, its design principles and democracy

2. Recommendations

Conclusion

References

Appendix A. Open Systems Interconnection