Theme: Multi-stakeholderism

3 April 2013

DNS security and stability report big on bark, light on bite

Operator of the dot-com registry and the Internet's primary address book, Verisign, has warned that a plan to add hundreds of new Internet extensions over the next year may destabilize the domain name system if key issues are not addressed.

In a report from the company's technical labs to the organization running the "new gTLD" program, ICANN, the Internet infrastructure company warns that there could be "significant consequences" if the program does not address technical issues before the program launches that could "perhaps even destabilize global operations of the DNS".

28 February 2013

How the MAG is undermining the IGF's credibility

Despite increasing relevance in the uncertain post-WCIT world, the advisory group to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) remains incapable of fixing long-identified problems and is undermining its credibility.

30 November 2012

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.

22 November 2012

A raft of changes, including cybersecurity, are under consideration at WCIT

It was just after the fifth meeting of the ITU Council Working Group in Geneva in September 2011 that a powerful group of ambassadors, former ambassadors and under-secretaries in the United States decided they had to build public awareness over a series of obscure telecoms regulations - the ITRs - drawn up back in 1988.

At that stage, the ITU working group had already been working for a year on preparations for a World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). And some within the ITU had been working for several years before that to get agreement on the need to revise the International Telecommunication Regulations at all.

Agreement had finally been reached to revise the regulations, and everyone knew that meant a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restructure how telecoms are dealt with at a global level, and how communications will develop into the future for everyone on the planet. Some frantic activity ensued.

22 November 2012

Today, we are publishing all documents related to the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) that will take place in just over a week in Dubai.

We would like to explain why.

As interest has grown over the outcomes of this conference (thanks largely to concerns raised about what they may be) the issue of availability of related documents has itself become a major bone of contention.

These documents are widely available to those within the telecommunications industry, and they are available for download to all members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Membership of the ITU is open to all and the organization relies on the resulting fees to carry out its important global work. It is a system that has worked for decades.

Times have changed however and we feel that there is an overwhelming public interest case for bypassing this agreed approach and making the WCIT documents available without charge.

Here is why.

22 November 2012

Unswayed by a meeting with the ITU Secretary-General, ITUC head tell us: "We will continue to oppose these proposals"

Burrow: Trade union federation will 'stay the distance' in opposing WCIT proposals.

The world's largest trade union organization, the ITUC, has rejected efforts to explain concerns over the WCIT conference next month as "misunderstandings" and will continue to oppose its proposals, Secretary-General Sharan Burrow told us.

Warning that the implications for e-commerce and jobs were "extraordinary" and slamming the conference proposals for "having been kept secret until a month ago", Burrow has promised that the ITUC will lobby hard within the United Nations to prevent was she termed "mandate creep" on the part of the ITU.

22 November 2012

Conferences are very fluid and often go at a breakneck speed, especially when there are many hundreds of changes to be discussed and approved, modified or rejected.

Adding to that is the fact that it is a closed conference. You need to be a formal representative of an ITU Sector Member or be invited onto your government's delegation to be allowed into the room.

Documents are only available through a password-protected website and there will be no live-streaming or scribing of events.

So how on earth are you going to find out what is happening, let alone follow events as they happen?

We have the answer for you.

We hope to make it possible to follow events live in three ways:

  • Documentation - We will be updating our document pages as the conference progress. See Your Guide to WCIT documentation for full information. As we update proposals, the newest one will appear at the top of pages.
26 July 2012
Premium content

According to Saki, “a man is known by the company he keeps”. When you cut through the hysteria, hyperbole and doomy predictions about WCIT, you’re left with the now-familiar Internet governance binary choice: ICANN or ITU.

Let’s leave aside for the moment the unanswerable, and unanswered, question of how a transition from one to the other would be made, whether the “Internet community’ would accept any forced change, or whether it would just go off and do its own thing (as usual). Let’s focus instead on which is better, ICANN or ITU.

It’s clear that if these things were done on merit, neither organisation covers itself in glory. ICANN, the enfant terrible of Internet governance is the once-beautiful child, full of potential, capable of greatness, now transformed into the spotty, grunting adolescent, slouching in doorways and developing unsociable habits. It continues to baffle observers by its capacity to ignore the things it should be doing, and do the things it shouldn’t.

9 July 2012
Premium content

The International Telecommunication Union is an old and august institution, created in 1865, making it the first ever international body.

It was created to help make the most of the then-new telegraph technology by getting countries to agree how they would deal with information that was relayed to, from and through their territories.

Having been successful in that, the ITU picked up more and more work as the human race entered the telecommunications age, eventually becoming the de facto body for telecoms, including standards, financing, metrics, and even installation.

In the same way that ICANN has change written into its structure, the ITU is notable for how it has changed over time, in many cases leading the way. It was the first United Nations organization to pull in the private sector; it values academics; it started developing new standards around the advances in technology that led to the Internet as we now know it; it tries to ensure equal participation from developing countries, as well as gender balance.

9 July 2012

The Internet Governance Forum has been a novel hybrid of a traditional inter-governmental approach with the open Internet policy model since its inception.

A long series of careful compromises, brilliantly engineered by its original leaders (Nitin Desai as Special Advisor and Markus Kummer as Executive Coordinator), meant that the annual four-day forum made sense to the broad range of attendees.

Key elements of the IGF include:

  • Set-piece plenary sessions (that make governments comfortable)
  • Small, flexible workshops (which give civil society an opportunity to discuss particular topics)
  • An advisory committee (the MAG) comprising all stakeholders that provide a decision-making body
  • Two open preparatory meetings for each forum, typically in February and May in preparation for the November event
  • MAG meetings (originally closed) held after the preparatory meetings to make decisions
  • Light requirements on workshops allowing for a large number (around 100) to be approved
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