Making Sense of the WCIT: It’s Complicated!
"Reactions to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) and its resulting treaty have painted a dramatic picture of a world divided into two camps fighting over the future of the Internet...However, the debate in Dubai did not fit the Cold War-type scenario of a world divided on the question of Internet freedom that some critics have imagined. And considering all of the proposals governments brought to WCIT, the text of the treaty that was adopted could have been much worse."
CDT's "WCIT Watch" coverage of the World Conference on International Telecommunications is available here.
NET NEUTRALITY AND ACCESS
CDT to ITU: Promote Access and Openness, Don't Stifle It
"If members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)—a UN agency known for its non-transparent, government-centric structure—vote to expand ITU authority to cover Internet policy and technical standards, Internet openness, affordability, and functionality could be at risk."
Two Page Memo on Telecom Operators Proposal for New Internet Charging Scheme - [PDF] [DOC]
"While the ITRs have played an important role in promoting interoperability and interconnection of traditional telecommunications systems, CDT is concerned that some proposals could bring about significant changes to the way the Internet works. In particular, proposals put forward by the European Telecommunications Network Operators (ETNO) association would change some of the fundamental operating procedures and principles of the Internet."
Radical Proposal Now on the Table at the ITU: Analysis of ETNO European Telco Proposal
"While the ETNO proposal might benefit large, incumbent telecommunications operators, it will not likely expand Internet access in countries that need it most. And the ETNO proposal could negatively impact Internet users, with citizens in less developed countries shouldering the burden of the changes in several concrete ways."
European Telco Proposal to ITU: A Threat to the Open Web?
"A group of European telecommunications companies has made a proposal for global Internet regulation that could fundamentally alter the free flow of information online. In the process, they have highlighted the risks inherent in the broader debate over 'Internet governance.'"
Doubling Down with Double-Speak: ETNO Responds to Critics
"Acceptance of these proposals would mark a dramatic shift in the market for interconnection, upending basic principles of Internet neutrality and resulting in higher costs for end-users and potentially decreased access to information in developing economies"
Economic Impact of the ITRs
"The Member States (governments) of the ITU are currently drafting revisions to the ITRs, many of which could negatively impact the functioning of the Internet and therefore limit the key role it is having in driving global growth."
Adoption of Traffic Sniffing Standard Fans WCIT Flames
"The ITU-T standard barely acknowledges that DPI has privacy implications, let alone does it provide a thorough analysis of how the potential privacy threats associated with the technology might be mitigated. These aspects of the ITU-T Recommendation are troubling in light of calls from Russia and a number of Middle Eastern countries to make ITU-T Recommendations mandatory for Internet technology companies and network operators to build into their products."
'OpenStand' Underscores Commitment to Voluntary Internet Standards
"Having governments – the only formal decision-making members of the ITU – decide which standards technology companies must build into their products would upend the existing process of technological development on the Internet. Those with the most intimate knowledge of technology would be cut out of the loop for technological decision making, replacing them with government officials who do not write software, run networks, or build computers."
'OpenStand' Principles Support Voluntary Technical Standards
"The OpenStand principles demonstrate a landmark commitment from leading Internet organizations to voluntary, open technical standards, which form the foundation of the Internet’s innovation, openness, and freedom. These principles draw a sharp contrast to the dangerous, misguided proposals that would make ITU-T technical standards mandatory."
ITU: Internet Governance or Just Governing the Internet?
"A number of legislators, regulators, and civil society groups, including CDT, have raised concerns about the WCIT's potential to stray into areas of Internet policy. Others have dismissed these concerns as 'rumors,' echoing the ITU Secretary General's assurances that there are no references to 'Internet governance' in the preparation documents for the WCIT."
Two Page Memo on Cybersecurity Proposals - [PDF] [DOC]
"The inclusion of security-related measures in the ITRs could have negative consequences for existing multi-stakeholder approaches to cybercrime and cybersecurity, for the technical functioning of the Internet, and for Internet freedoms and human rights. "
Security Proposals to the ITU Could Create More Problems, Not Solutions
"Several proposals have been made to revise the ITUʼs basic treaty to include provisions addressing the security of networks or information. These proposals have rightly raised controversy not only because of their implications for Internet freedom, but also because of concerns that ITU intervention could distract from or undermine other ongoing efforts by institutions better suited to address Internet security."
PROCESS AND TRANSPARENCY
Civil Society Coalition Asks ITU For a Seat at Global Telecom Conference
"Although the WCIT is over, international debate about Internet governance and policy continue, full speed ahead...Many have attempted to piece together a coherent story of what happened during the WCIT. The not-so-subtle subtext running through all these accounts is that many of the policy issues and concerns raised at that conference will be on the agenda for the ITU’s next big meeting, the World Telecommunication Policy Forum (WTPF). WTPF, scheduled for 14-16 May in Geneva, is a forum for ITU Member States and Sector Members to discuss emerging telecommunication policy and regulatory issues from a global perspective."
EU Parliament Endorses Internet Openness, Transparency Ahead of WCIT
"The European Parliament today approved a Joint Resolution calling on EU Member States to promote and protect Internet openness at the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).The resolve of the Parliamentarians who drafted the resolution deserves recognition. The result is a strong statement of confidence in the civic and economic value of the open Internet, as well as the virtues of transparent, inclusive models for Internet governance."
Civil Society Speaks Out on WCIT - Will Governments Listen?
"Civil society advocates from around the world are weighing in on proposals to the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), but there’s no guarantee that governments are listening."
Civil Society Pressures ITU to Uphold Human Rights, Increase Transprency
"Digital rights advocates around the world are working to make their voices heard at the upcoming treaty conference of the International Telecommunication Union. Leaked documents include proposed treaty revisions that could place limitations on online privacy, free expression, access to information, and ICT use around the world."
ITU Gives a Nod Towards Transparency; Still a Long Road to Full Civil Society Participation
"As they say in sports, 'you can’t tell the players without the scorecard,' and the ITU Council has made a strategic decision not to share its scorecard with the Internet’s users."
As the ITU Eyes the Internet, Where is Civil Society?
"As member states renegotiate the treaty, we ask civil society and other stakeholders to urge their governments to preserve an open and decentralized system of Internet governance. A crucial first step is to ensure that the negotiation process is transparent—starting with publication of treaty proposals and working documents."
ITU Move to Expand Powers Threatens the Internet
"As member states renegotiate the ITUʼs treaty, civil society organizations and other stakeholders must urge their national governments to adopt as their negotiating position a commitment to preserve the open and decentralized system of Internet governance."
ITU Discussions Must be Opened
"…The worldwide protests over SOPA in the US and ACTA in EU make clear that a large, global civil society constituency has emerged that may be deeply suspicious about any process that appears to be a deal cut between powerful private interests behind closed doors. This suspicion is magnified if the regulatory decisions at issue could have long lasting impact on the information society and the ways in which ordinary citizens use the Internet."