Ambassador Kramer: Reports of WCIT Walkout Threat Untrue
But ITU reps indicate no consensus on host of Internet regulation-related issues U.S. has said should not be on table
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/10/2012 9:47:43 AM
"In the past few days, a small number of media reports have characterized the United States as 'threatening' to withdraw from the WCIT negotiations," he said in a statement. "These speculative reports are inaccurate and unhelpful to the Conference," Kramer said. "The United States has made no such threat, and it remains fully committed to achieving a successful conclusion to the WCIT. The U.S. Delegation will continue to provide information to the media as negotiations continue throughout this week."
But Kramer has said in the run-up to the conference that proposals by countries like China, Russia and some Arab states to incorporate new Internet-related regs into the treaties were a nonstarter and could be a conference-ender, at least as far as it was concerned.
Lack of consensus is not the nonstarter for the U.S., so long as that lack of agreement means that the current language of the ITRs -- which means the continued absence of Internet regulation -- remains the default position.
According to WCITLeaks, a site hosting leaked WCIT proposals, a proposal backed by those countries would establish that "Internet governance shall be effected through the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society of shared principles, norms, rules, decision -Â âmaking procedures and programs that shape the evolution and use of the Internet."
The U.S. is afraid that opening the ITRs to government Internet oversight is an invitation to censorship and economic models -- like new taxes -- that could threaten the health of the Internet.
At a press conference Monday, an ITU representative provided a wrap-up of the final meeting of the committee dealing with key Internet access and payment issues and suggested many of the most contentious issues including a sender-pays model for Internet traffic, Internet security, spam, routing and nondiscriminatory access to information had yet to be resolved. "There are quite a few square brackets remaining, so a lot of text still in dispute," they said, which will now go to plenary sessions.
ITU said there had been good progress on issues including quality of service and provision of facilities and a new agreement on a global emergency number. "We do not have good consensus on security, spam, routing and questions on whether the topics should even be included in the International Telecommunications Regulations [ITRs]," ITU said. The U.S. is firmly in that camp.
Cuba was said to have offered a proposal related to nondiscriminatory access to the Internet that generated "quite a lot of discussion in the committee." The U.S. said the conference was not the place to discuss access regulations, joined by Sweden, Canada, Costa Rica and Britain. Supporting the proposal were Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Russia, Palestine and Bahrain.
That issue has been spun out into an ad hoc group for more discussion before reporting to the plenary session.
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