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The Deliberative Poll at the Internet Governance Forum 2015

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The Deliberative Poll at the Internet Governance Forum 2015 (DP@IGF2015) project is a joint initiative between CDDRL's Program on Liberation Technology and the Center for Deliberative Democracy. It is designed to extend deliberation and consultation within Internet governance through a proven consultative mechanism, the Deliberative Poll, which brings together a representative sample of a community for discussions among participants and with stakeholders. A pilot project will launch at the 2015 Internet Governance Forum in Brazil this November.

Summary  | Full Report


16661373722 f39966a1c2 o e1467558708785 469x400 The Internet Governance Forum (IGF). (Image by ITU Pictures under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, no changes made)

Read: The public voice in internet governance


About DP@IGF2015

Under the aegis of the United Nations, there has been an ongoing international effort to develop shared principles shaping the global Internet. This Internet Governance (IG) process is set to grow in significance as cyberspace evolves. In keeping with the consensus statement from the 2014 NETmundial conference, there are fundamental principles that need preservation – human rights, cultural and linguistic diversity, security and stability, and an open unfragmented space, among others. But many of these principles pose tradeoffs and challenges when examined through a policy lens. They deserve - indeed they require - evidence-based, multi-national, multi-stakeholder deliberations. The purpose of this project is to hold a Deliberative Poll on IG at the next Internet Governance Forum in João Pessoa, Brazil in November 2015.

A Deliberative Poll (DP) in this unique context will tackle the problem of democratic representation in a global, multi-stakeholder and multi-layered governance context. It will:

  1. Provide specific results, based on the aggregation of all the individual deliberative judgments;
  2. Move the dialogue beyond general consensus statements, which often just paper over differences, to confront trade-offs and the pros and cons of specific proposals; and,
  3. Clarify where genuine movement is possible by revealing the reasoning in support of and opposition to the policy choices provided.

More concretely it will produce the following outcomes: First, it will allow IG decision makers around the world to be able to consider polling results from well-informed “netizens” as a reference. Second, the project will also surface the effect of informed deliberation by analyzing the delta between the preferences of stakeholders as they developed their opinions through “normal” media coverage and campaigning, versus the preferences they hold after they have been exposed to balanced briefings and deliberations. Third, we believe that the creation of balanced briefing materials about global Internet policy challenges contribute an important resource and reference point in this very complex and fast moving policy sphere. This unique experiment is the first of its kind seeking to address global IG challenges and policy trade-offs within the framework of a Deliberative Poll. For more information on Deliberative Polling see:

Working in close collaboration with an expert advisory committee to vet various issues of importance to this field, this project would use the DP as an experiment in multi-stakeholder Internet governance. The results of this project would provide informed opinions of “netizens” to the public and policymakers on topics related to global Internet system, its substantive challenges and how it can arrive at decisions. This project will produce balanced briefing materials for use by the DP participants and providing them with an opportunity to share their opinions in confidential questionnaires. In addition, the small group discussions will allow for qualitative analyses in addition to the quantitative data captured in the surveys. A stratified random sample of the IGF (approximately 300 participants), will be engaged to deliberate in a pilot Deliberative Poll either online or face-to-face. There are plans for a full scale Deliberative Poll at a later date. A control group that does not deliberate would also be surveyed on the same topics in this experiment. This unique experiment is the first of its kind seeking to address the topic of access to the Internet and policy trade-offs within the framework of a Deliberative Poll.


Project Team Members

PI: Prof. Jim Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University, where he is Professor of Communication and (by courtesy) Professor of Political Science. He is also Director of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy. His most recent book, When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation, was published by Oxford University Press in fall 2009. He is best known for developing Deliberative Polling® – a practice of public consultation that employs random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed. 

PI: Prof. Larry Diamond is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute and founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy. He is also director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and faculty co-director of the Haas Center for Public Service. His research focuses on the development, consolidation, and performance of democracies around the world.

Lead: Dr. Max Senges is a visiting scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the Information and Knowledge Society Program at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Barcelona as well as a Master’s in Business Information Systems from the University of Applied Sciences Wildau (Berlin). He works as Program Manager for Google Research and Education, where he leads an Internet of Things research and open innovation program and manages the Faculty Research Awards in the Policy & Standards field under Vint Cerf. He has published, jointly with Vint Cerf, Patrick Ryan and Rick Whitt, “Internet Governance as our Shared Responsibility” and “Ensuring that Forum Follows Function” (in Beyond Net Mundial: The Roadmap for Institutional Improvements to the Global Internet Governance Ecosystem).

Advisory Group: Vint Cerf (Google), Eileen Donahoe (Human Rights Watch), Urs Gasser (Harvard University), Hartmut Glaser (Brazilian Internet Steering Committee,, Janis Karklins (IGF), Wolfgang Kleinwächter (ICANN), Jeremy Malcolm (Electronic Frontier Foundation), and Yurie Ito (JPCERT)