ITU: WCIT-12 Can't Empower Governments to Exercise More Regulation of Internet
UN arm says it is not about to grab Internet control
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/16/2012 4:46:16 PM
That will come as news to the U.S. delegation to the upcoming WICT-12 telecom treaty conference in Dubai, a conference where extending that treaty from traditional telecom to broadband, and whether that should even be on the table, is the hot-button issue. The U.S. sees a number of proposals as threatening the multistakeholder model.
ITU was responding to a letter from Greenpeace and the International Trade Union Confederation UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (ITU is an arm of the UN) suggesting the ITU was trying to take over governance of the Internet, a concern, though not in quite as stark terms, shared by the Obama administration, both parties in both houses of Congress, and others. They, like Greenpeace and the confederation, have been advocating for a continued multistakeholder model of Internet governance.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that certain countries are preparing to undermine this inclusive governance model," said Greenpeace and the confederation in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
"ITU will continue to fully support the multi-stakeholder approach which it initiated some ten years ago for the World Summit of the Information Society," Conneally said. "WCIT-12 cannot empower governments to exercise greater regulation of the Internet.
TourÃ© also applauded countries, like the U.S., that have included members of private industry in their delegations to the conference, a conference where extending that treaty from traditional telecom to broadband, and whether that should even be on the table, is the hot-button issue.
In a statement, Touré called on the delegations from each country to "engage with a broad range of stakeholders from across industry and civil society to ensure all voices are heard."
That also followed criticism in the Greenpeace letter. "We are becoming increasingly concerned at the lack of transparency inherent in the approach of the ITU in its preparations for this conference," they wrote. They point out that the ITU Governing Council rejected Touré's request that all stakeholders be given access to preparatory documents for the conference. "This decision on the part of governments alone undermines any suggestion that ITU might itself constitute a multi-stakeholder organization," they wrote.
"ITU Member States are entirely free to determine the size and composition of their national delegations," said Touré. "We are delighted to see some governments taking a broad multistakeholder approach by including key private sector players and civil society groups as part of their national representation to the conference -- a trend ITU applauds and encourages," he said.
The U.S. delegation is concerned that the conference could be hijacked by countries looking to boost their control of the Internet, either to tax broadband traffic to make up for declining fees from exchanging traditional phone traffic, or to gain greater control over content.
Broadband will obviously have to be part of the discussion, but Terry Kramer, who is leading the U.S. delegation, has said the conference should only be about asking questions on the broadband side, not trying to answer them through expanding the ITR's (International Telecommunications Regulations) to cover broadband issues like access, taxes, cybersecurity, or trying to regulate International data roaming charges.
Touré's description of some of the proposals that have been submitted for the conference -- Russia's is said to be particularly broadband-regulation centric -- provides a sense of the many flashpoints that could erupt.
The U.S. is one of them. It has most of 100 members drawn from the public, private and "civil society," the current collective noun for public interest/activist groups. The list includes some familiar names, including William Check, senior VP, science and technology, for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association; Ed Black of the Computer and Communications Industry Association; Harold Feld from Public Knowledge; David Gross, now with Wiley Rein and formerly U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the State Department and with the rank of ambassador; and Mindel De La Torre, chief of the FCC's International Bureau.
No related content found.
Most Popular Pages
No Top Articles