Global Survey of Policy Approaches to Protecting Citizens Online

Madeline Carr, Jose Llanos – University College London

There are a number of ‘directories’ or ‘rankings’ of governmental approaches to civil society privacy, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression online. While these can be useful in terms of clustering states at one end of a spectrum, they tell us little about the thinking and policy processes behind those outcomes. For an issue like Protecting Citizens Online (PCO), which has so many elements, interests, values and requirements – many of them competing or even conflicting with one another – a much deeper understanding of how governments approach this is needed.

  • Which departments or agencies take the lead and which others contribute?
  • How is stakeholder engagement managed?
  • How is PCO conceptualised in different political communities?
  • Which ‘soft’ initiatives have been implemented and with what success?
  • Which governments have taken a legislative approach and what form has this taken?

A global survey of efforts to address PCO, including policy successes and failures, would support best practice policy development in the UK and internationally. While governments will have different objectives and goals, a better understanding of the policy process around this complex issue would provide valuable insights and learning opportunities and, critically, it would provide clear indications of areas of common approach that could lead to international policy collaborations or alignment.