A major inquiry into the future of the Internet was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, intended to address the issues raised by the Edward Snowden spying revelations.
The independent investigation was set up by Chatham House and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) thinktanks and will be led by Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt.
The commision - comprised of 25 academics, politicians and former officials from intelligence agencies - will look into issues of state censorship, online privacy and surveillance.
The main focus will be on the wide-reaching implications of the American National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal, which emerged last year following leaked documents from former contract worker Edward Snowden.
"In most countries, increased attention is being given to all the issues of net freedom, net security and net governance," said Bildt. "They are, in my view, closely related to each other.
"The rapid evolution of the net has been made possible by the open and flexible model by which it has evolved and been governed. But increasingly this is coming under attack."
Bildt went on to state that net freedom is as fundamental to society as freedom of speech.
It is the first major independent inquiry into the practices of the NSA and other intelligence agencies, following investigations undertaken by the White House, the US Congress and the European parliament.
Dr. Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, said: "The issue of Internet governance is set to become one of the most pressing global public policy issues of our time.
"The Commission will work to develop ideas and propose a policy framework that enhances the legitimacy of Internet governance whilst preserving innovation."