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Geopolitical conflicts and wars have been affecting access to the Internet since the Internet became more formalized and in a way, industrialized. This project focuses on “economic sanctions”, their effect on access to the Internet and the value of interconnectedness without discrimination.

Because of its history, the Internet and access to it were always affected by geopolitical conflicts and wars. Once it became widely accessible to consumers, however, the Internet became subject to trade sanction regimes in the US and Europe and possibly elsewhere.  There are debates about whether sanctions are effective for changing States’ behavior and what can be effectively sanctioned. As the Internet is a relatively new industrial area, this project proposes to adopt a systemic approach and document how sanctions are currently applied to the Internet, why there have been previous attempts not to apply sanctions to the Internet, whether contemporary problems necessitate application of sanctions to the Internet, and what a desirable outcome might be for sanctions and Internet access in the future.

We will use interviews, desk research and analytical narratives to provide a background on how sanctions have directly or indirectly affected access to the Internet. 

- Policy solutions: considering past sanction exemptions, what are the potential pathways to arguing for policies that can diminish the impact of sanction on access to the Internet but at the same time help governments achieve their sanction goals. 

- Strategies for compliance with sanctions while keeping the Internet global: the research discovers why businesses over comply with sanctions and how the risk strategies can change to maintain provision of services while still being in compliance with sanction rules. 

- Institutional changes: the research will also look into whether we need institutional and governance changes in Internet governance organizations in order to maintain interconnectedness.

Related meetings


Progress reports


  • Farzaneh Badiei, Digital Medusa 
  • Zhenye (Ryan) Pan, Columbia University 


This project is being funded by RIPE NCC 


Human Rights Lifecycle of a Terrorist Incident Online

From January 15 to May 31, 2022, the Working Group on Crisis Response Protocols (CRWG) – a subgroup of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) – met with stakeholders across civil society organizations, governments, academics and companies (through a series of individual and group meetings in addition to tabletop exercises). The output of this effort is the present report that aims to: 1. Outline the lifecycle of a terrorist incident on the Internet and its human rights impact; 2. Propose a framework for crisis protocol operators and GIFCT to use for explicating the lifecycle of incidents and to consider human rights implications in crisis response; and 3. Clarify the relationship between human rights and GIFCT’s mission through explaining the human rights impact at each stage of the crisis lifecycle. It also provided one of the first “categories of terrorist attacks with an online angle”.

Digital Medusa led the working group and wrote the report with the help of the working group members.

  • Year of collaboration: 2022
  • Status: Complete

Syllabus for Schools on Internet Governance

This syllabus was designed for the United Nations Internet Governance Forum. The syllabus is an advisory document that may guide those who wish to convene a school or teach Internet governance, or know more about the structure of IG courses.
In addition to explaining how the syllabus was created and how it could be used, the document contains the following sections:.

  • Core Internet governance modules and elective modules, learning outcomes as well as a sample of faculty members and topics they teach.
  • Teaching methods such as practicums, hands-on industry presentations, moot courts and others, How to find lecturers and experts?
  • How to build coalitions, contribute to the Dynamic Coalition on Schools of Internet governance (DC-SIG)?
  • Teaching methods such as practicums, hands-on industry presentations, moot courts and others, How to find lecturers and experts? How to build coalitions, contribute to the Dynamic Coalition on Schools of Internet governance (DC-SIG)?
  • Year of collaboration: 2022
  • Status: Complete

Trust and Safety Outreach and Engagement

Digital Medusa supports stakeholders outreach and engagement activities for Digital Trust and Safety Partnership. The activities entail liaising with civil society, academics, governments and external stakeholders. The outreach and engagement takes place through a series of workshops, one-on-one meetings with various stakeholders, taking part and speaking at different digital governance and digital trust and safety gatherings.

  • Year of collaboration: Started in 2022
  • Status: Ongoing

Related Events

Immersive technology is poised to transform the way people work, play, and learn. From an emerging creator economy of virtual goods and services to cutting-edge applications that can improve education, health care, and manufacturing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies are unlocking new opportunities to communicate, access information, and engage with the world. These changes raise important questions, and how policymakers respond will have profound implications for the economy and society.
Watch here: ARVR Policy Conference 2022
Trust and Safety Research Conference 2022:
OECD Ministerial meeting: Building an Inclusive Digital Future: Digital Ministerial 2022

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