UN plans Internet governance amid outcry to defund ITU
Report by the Secretary-General of ITU
The Fourth Draft of the Secretary-General’s WTPF Report is not the final draft. The US and an “Informal Experts Group,” as well as US stakeholders in an International Telecom Advisory Council, are working on the Fourth Draft, including adding opinions — on topics that still remain unspecified by the US Delegation.
Report by the Secretary-General of ITU
The discussion1 of the 5th WTPF shall be based on a report by the Secretary-General, incorporating the contributions of ITU Member States and Sector Members, which will serve as the sole working document of the Forum, and shall focus on key issues on which it would be desirable to reach conclusions.
By Violet Blue
Jan 16, 2013
A petition to de-fund the U.N.’s telecom arm emerges just as the ITU readies to hammer out internet governance plans at the World Telecommunication Information and Communication Technology Policy Forum meetings in February and May 2013.
The website De-fund the ITU surfaced on the January NANOG (North American Network Operators’ Group) email list.
Its Whitehouse.gov petition De-fund the ITU demands the U.S. government stop its financial contributions to the ITU.
It comes after the ITU’s recent attempt at internet governance and monetization through tolls at its WCIT-12 summit in Dubai last month.
The U.N. debacle prompted widespread internet outrage, an unprecedented unanimous U.S. House of Representatives vote in opposition, and refusal from 55 countries to sign the ITU’s treaty.
No matter – as usual, the ITU has its own plans.
Five days ago ITU’s Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré released the fourth and final ITU/WTPF-13 report outlining groundwork for internet governance (and internet regulatory topics) at upcoming meetings on February 6-8 and May 14-16.
Discussions at WTPF-13 will be based on this report and will serve as the sole working document of the Forum.
ITU re-defines “multistakeholder”
The ITU/WTPF-13 report explicitly includes the creation of “Global Principles for the governance and use of the Internet” and resolving issues pertaining to “use of Internet resources for purposes that are inconsistent with international peace, stability and security.”
The Report explains the current multistakeholder model of internet governance is “under discussion” and acknowledges that members Cisco, U.K., U.S., and ISOC view the current governance of the Internet as “sufficient.”
However, “with regards to international Internet-related public policy, the role of one stakeholder – Governments – has not been allowed to evolve.”
For the Policy Forum, the ITU also has 64 “informal Experts” weighing in.
The “experts” are comprised mostly of Member State telecom representatives (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, others), plus individuals representing the interests and opinions of Verizon, Cisco Systems, British Telecom, the FCC, The Internet Society, ARIN, ICANN, and PayPal.
Who funds the ITU?
The website promoting the petition, defundtheitu.org, provides details and ITU funding summaries showing which countries contribute to the ITU and the tech companies (Member Sectors) that provide millions to continue the ITU (and its subgroups) respective missions.
According to The ITU’s 2012-2015 membership roll and dues one Contributory Unit is equivalent to CHF 318,000 (1 Swiss Franc equals $1.10).
Note the sole party listed as a “recognized operating agency.” 🙂
One big question is what qualifies you to be a “recognized operating agency.”
The Informal Experts Group page: http://www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/ieg.aspx .
ITAC is an open list that the State Department recently notified its WCIT list they could join if they wished to continue in the discussions on the WTPF. The IEG was also recently announced to be open to requests to participate.
Subject: [ITAC] Discontinuing the WCIT list
Because we are at the end of the formal WCIT process, we will discontinue the WCIT email list on February 1, 2013. We plan to move our continuing meeting preparatory process work to the list for the International Telecommunications Advisory Committee (ITAC). As a reminder, the ITAC list is the vehicle by which the U.S. Department of State solicits public advice under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
If you wish to continue participating in the preparatory work for future ITU and other conference, please let me know and I will add you to the ITAC (if you are not already there). The list is open to all; however, it is focused on the meeting preparatory process.
Julian Minard, secretariat
The WTPF preparatory process is divided into two separate parts:
1. The first part is based on preparatory meetings of an Informal Experts Group (IEG) which is tasked in assisting and contributing to the development of the Secretary-General’s Report to the Forum. This Report, including a number of Draft Opinions, serves as the input “working document” of the Forum.
At this stage, the U.S. preparatory meetings are limited to the IEG only. The Fourth Draft of the SecGen’s Report is scheduled to be posted on the ITU web site on January 10, with comments deadline of January 31 (including the submission of Draft Opinions).
Relevant information on the IEG, including documentation, is available at this link: http://www.itu.int/en/wtpf-13/Pages/ieg.aspx
Also, note the ITU’s open invitation to participate in the work of the IEG as “Relevant Stakeholder” (See second paragraph in above web page).
2. The second part is based on upcoming preparatory meetings of the U.S. Delegation to WTPF-2013.
This cycle will commence on March 1, as the SecGen’s final Report to WTPF-2013 is scheduled to be published on March 1. The U.S. delegation preparatory cycle will extend from March 1 to May 10, 2013.
Mr. Richard Beaird leads the U.S. preparatory meetings for both the IEG and the upcoming Delegation meetings (starting in March). He also heads the U.S. Delegation to WTPF-2013.
I hope this clarifies the WTPF preparatory process, as the formal U.S. Delegation preps for WTPF will commence in March, immediately after the publication of the SecGen’s final report to WTPF-2013 (scheduled for March 1).
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any additional clarifications or information.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB)
Communication and Information Policy (CIP)
2201 C Street, NW; Rm-4634
Washington, DC 20520