Authors: Joseph S. Nye

When we try to understand cyber governance, it is important to remember how new cyberspace is. “Cyberspace is an operational domain framed by use of electronics to…exploit information via interconnected systems and their associated infrastructure” (Kuehl 2009). While the US Defense Department sponsored a modest connection of a few computers called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) in 1969, and the World Wide Web was conceived in 1989, it has only been in the last decade and a half that the number of websites burgeoned, and businesses begin to use this new technology to shift production and procurement in complex global supply chains. In 1992, there were only a million users on the Internet (Starr 2009, 52); today, there are nearly three billion, and the Internet has become a substrate of modern economic, social and political life. And the volatility continues. Analysts are now trying to understand the implications of ubiquitous mobility, the “Internet of everything” and storage of “big data.” Over the past 15 years, the advances in technology have far outstripped the ability of institutions of governance to respond, as well as our thinking about governance. Since the 1970s, political scientists have looked at the international governance processes of various global affairs issues through the perspective of regime theory (Keohane and Nye 1977; Ruggie 1982). This paper is a mapping exercise of cyber governance using regime theory. Regimes are the “principles, norms, rules and procedures that govern issue areas in international affairs,” but these concepts have rarely been applied to the new cyber domain (Krasner 1983). In its early days, thinking about cyber governance was relatively primitive. Ideological libertarians proclaimed that “information wants to be free,” portraying the Internet as the end of government controls. In practice, however, governments and geographical jurisdictions have been playing a major role in cyber governance right from the start.