Regulation

The highlights and low points of WCIT

It was both very fast and painfully slow. The key moments


Iran forces a vote, and presages the end of WCIT. Credit: ITU

One thing that everyone could agree on in the build-up to the World Conference on International Telecommunications was that anything could happen during the two weeks in Dubai.

The logic of forcing the world's governments into a box to rewrite a global treaty that has stood for 24 years in just 14 days may be questionable, but it definitely creates an event and along with that moments that stand out and set the general tone and atmosphere of the meeting itself.

Here are that main ones from WCIT 2012:


Highlights

Opening ceremony

Beyond WCIT – WSIS+10 and the coming year in Internet governance

A great deal of ink has been spilt in recent weeks outlining threats to Internet governance from changes to a global telecommunications treaty negotiation that just concluded in Dubai at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), including an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal that inelegantly compared government bureaucrats to gorillas.

While important, the focus on WCIT has detracted attention from another set of United Nations deliberations that wrapped this week in New York, with potentially far greater consequences than the haggling of 1,500 delegates in the under-ventilated halls of the Dubai World Trade Center.

Waiting for WSIS

The UN General Assembly’s Second Committee has spent the last month quietly crafting the process that will lead to a ten-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10). The last WSIS concluded in 2005 and set the stage for many of the current debates around the role for government in Internet policy, including at WCIT.

Internet humbles UN telecoms agency

ITU forced to face modern realities as WCIT conference implodes

Having turned industries and governments upside down, the Internet has claimed its first organizational scalp, subjecting the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to a humiliating failure at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai earlier today.

No sooner had applause run out after a vote on what to include in the preamble to an updated global telecoms treaty than the United States took the floor and announced it would not sign it.

"It's with a heavy heart and a sense of missed opportunities that the U.S. must communicate that it's not able to sign the agreement in the current form," said Ambassador Terry Kramer. "The Internet has given the world unimaginable economic and social benefit during these past 24 years. All without UN regulation. We candidly cannot support an ITU Treaty that is inconsistent with the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance."

Internet power-grab looms large as world conference enters final day

Vote taboo broken at WCIT as chair asks for "feel of the room"


Moment of the non-vote vote at 1am. Credit: Dominique Lazanski

Fears that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will award itself a role in governance of the Internet, despite the promises of its Secretary-General, are looming large on the last day of the World Teleconference on International Telecommunications (WCIT).

At the end of a confusing and fast-paced day of discussions yesterday, the issue that has haunted for the conference for the past six months finally exploded into the open with discussion of a new proposed resolution that would see the ITU "play an active and constructive role" in deciding the evolution of the global communications network.

WCIT petition attracts 500,000 online citizens


Half a million and counting...

More than a half a million people have signed an online petition calling on the ITU to reign in proposals that would given governments greater control over the Internet.

The 500,000 benchmark was reached at 7pm local time while attendees to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai reconvened for a night session where they hope to reach agreement on most changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).

ITU embraces multistakeholderism

Proving that you can teach an old dog new tricks, the ITU embraced multi-stakeholderism today, as the picture below proves.

Forming a huddle in order to find a suitably worded fudge and so prevent Saudi Arabia from stamping its foot any harder, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure found himself discussing a solution to an impasse over wording by taking views from civil society (Wolfgang Kleinwacher) and business (Marilyn Cade) as well as a number of government representatives.

And following the grand tradition of multistakeholderism, the end result was a semantic fudge that makes no real sense, added additional words, could not be practically applied, and left everyone uncertain as to what it actually means. ICANN's CEO is said to be preparing a congratulatory email.

Coming out of the huddle, Toure told us he felt energized by the whole experience. "Normally I would just tell anyone who was not a government representative an unrelated story, or a mildly sexist African proverb and hope they were suitably confused to stop asking questions," he told us.

Draft ITR text seeks role for ITU in Internet governance

Key concern of WCIT conference lives on

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is seeking to give itself a role in Internet governance, despite strong resistance and an earlier promise by its Secretary-General that it would not do so.

According to draft text of a revised version of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), being discussed currently at the WCIT conference in Dubai, the ITU would take an "active and constructive role in the multi-stakeholder model of the Internet". The draft resolution also notes that "all governments should have an equal role and responsibility for international Internet governance".

Additionally, a proposed new article 3.8 argues that countries should have the choice to opt-out of the global Internet addressing system and "be able to manage the naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources used within their territories".

WCIT goes dark: deadlock hits key telecoms conference

Chair leads even smaller group of regional representatives in crunch talks

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is going dark with just one day left to rewrite the international telecommunication regulations (ITRs) and a number of significant issues remaining unresolved.

Despite 1,700 participants representing 189 different countries and organizations, large sections of the text will be decided by a group of 24 regional representatives this afternoon.

The decision to call the closed meeting, without many of the issues ever having been discussed in plenary sessions, has been a conscious strategy adopted by the chair and ITU throughout the meeting.

But while that approach has kept embarrassing public fights to a minimum, it also raises serious questions over the ITU's processes and ability to act a global convener and resolver of modern telecoms issues, particularly when it comes to the Internet.

Where we are with WCIT

A full rundown of all the issues up for discussion in Dubai

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) continued this weekend with full-day meetings on both Saturday and Sunday.

There are multiple issues on the table so here is a rundown of the most significant and where negotiations currently are.




The "compromise" bomb

All work is currently being overshadowed by the decision by the ITU and host country to introduce what has been promoted as a "compromise text" at the plenary session on Monday morning.

The most troubling parts of leaked 'compromise text'

A leaked draft of a so-called "compromise text" to be introduced on the first day of the second week of the WCIT conference contains a number of proposed changes that will have some governments and most Internet organizations fuming.

Here are the most troublesome parts:


Article 3.3

MOD 3.3: A Member State has the right to know the international route of its traffic where technically feasible.

This was already a controversial proposal, with civil society groups claiming that it would allow for widespread online monitoring.

The addition of the word "international" is this text makes it plain that the intent is to track traffic not just within a country's own borders but outside as well.


Article 3A - The Internet

Syndicate content