WCIT and ICANN issue index (29 November 12)

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This is the second in a series of posts that takes a critical look at claims that proposed changes to the international telecommunications regulations (ITRs) at the WCIT meeting later this year could see the ITU establish “international control over the internet”.

My previous post described some of the background to the issues, and three key claims that are being made: (1) the ITU currently has no role with respect to the Internet but is hell-bent on changing this at WCIT; (2) the ITU is a state-run telecom club; (3) that it is a Trojan Horse for a plot by authoritarian states and legacy telcos to impose a new Web 3.0 Model – Controlled National Internet–Media Spaces – over the open global internet.


The following post and its three companion pieces are reproduced by permission. It was originally published on 19 June 2012 at https://dwmw.wordpress.com.

This is the fourth in a series of posts on the potential implications of proposed changes and additions to the ITU’s international telecommunications regulations (ITRs) on the internet (earlier posts are here, here and here).


The following post and its three companion pieces are reproduced by permission. It was originally published on 14 June 2012 at https://dwmw.wordpress.com.

This is the third in a series of posts on the supposed threat of an ITU/UN take-over of the internet. As I’ve already said in two previous posts (here and here), I think the charges are vastly overblown, although there are interesting things to argue about and legitimate worries to be had.

Facts and Norms

There might also be victories for global internet governance to be had, if we take the ITU’s role seriously and that it, in turn, adopts only regulatory guiding principles that meet a minimum standard of liberal norms governing markets, human rights, a free press and freedom of expression.


So which one are you, ITU?

Just when you thought the shouting over the WCIT meeting couldn't get any more shrill…

The conference, run the by the ITU and reviewing the 1988 International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), starts next week.

But rather than discussions growing more sober and serious as discussions grow close (and despite some IT journalists' efforts to provide honest summaries) the past week has seen an increasingly aggressive stance from US-based groups who fear the conference will adversely impact the Internet… and their influence on the Internet.

The normally diplomatic Vint Cerf (Father of the Internet, ex-ICANN chair and Google's "chief Internet evangelist") stole headlines when he used a Reuters interview to launch an attack on the ITU itself.


Note: drop-down menu will only appear when users sign in to .Nxt

Track progress at WCIT in real-time and with the actual words

Starting today and running through to the end of the WCIT conference on 14 December, .Nxt will be making every proposed change to the International Telecommunication Regulations accessible with a single mouse-click.

With hundreds of changes (we count 908 so far) spread across dozens of documents, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to make sense of what the substantive changes are that will be discussed at the WCIT conference starting on Monday, 3 December 2012. Even if you have the documents, which come in Word doc or PDF format.

So we have inputted every proposed change into a database and broken them out by article in the ITRs, including the many new proposed articles.


The following post and its three companion pieces are reproduced by permission. It was originally published on 10 June 2012 at https://dwmw.wordpress.com.

Over the past few weeks, a mounting number of commentators in the U.S. have pushed a supposed new threat to an open internet into the spotlight: the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

According to those raising the alarms, preparations to revise the ITU’s international telecommunications regulations (ITRs) at a meeting this December are being hijacked by a motley assortment of authoritarian countries, legacy telecoms operators, as well as the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and other developing countries. Their goal? To establish “international control over the internet”. Indeed, the issue is deemed so serious that congressional hearings on “International Proposals to Regulate the Internet” were held in the U.S. at the end of last month.

There seem to be three main claims behind the charge.


The European Parliament has joined the voices protesting against the upcoming WCIT conference by approving a resolution that some of the proposals under consideration "could seriously threaten the open and competitive nature of the internet".

More worrying for the organization running the conference, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the 12-point resolution incorporates a point repeatedly pushed by the United States in recent weeks - that the organization itself is not the correct place for such discussions.

Point five in the resolution reads:

The ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows


Chehade aims to "bring clarity" over organization's role

ICANN's CEO and chair will attend the opening ceremony of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) as the guest of the ITU and the government of the United Arab Emirates.

The invitation, as well as the decision to accept, is noteworthy after more than a decade of barely concealed mistrust and contempt between the two organizations.

Clearly expecting some criticism from the Internet community for attending the event, CEO Fadi Chehade pre-recorded an interview in which he gave his reasons for attending.

"It’s time to engage," Chehade said in the ICANN-produced tape, arguing for a "new season of understanding" and pledging to avoid the "public wars" between the two organizations. He also stated that both the ITU and ICANN have roles that are "clearly separated and well-defined" but that they may be "confusion" over what those roles are. He would bring clarity to the situation.


The WCIT conference will revise the existing International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). This whole exercise will comprise retaining, deleting or editing existing regulations or adding new regulations to the list.

We have broken down every proposals for change to its particular regulation or proposed new regulation and placed them on a single page for easy review. Each regulation is listed below with hyperlinks to those individuals pages.