Tuesday, July 10, 2012

556 ITU conference may shift control of Internet from US to UN, impose censorship & fees

ITU conference may shift control of Internet from US to UN, impose
censorship & fees

(1) ITU conference may shift control of Internet from US to UN, impose
censorship & fees
(2) United Nations wants control of web kill switch
(3) Vint Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP networking, warns against UN attempt
to regulate Internet
(4) Google and Vint Cerf hit out at ITU web proposals
(5) ITU Chief says Internet proposals do not threaten Freedom of Expression
(6) UN fights back against Google propaganda. Says Internet freedom will
not be controlled
(7) ITU proposals would move control of Internet from US gov't &
companies to UN
(8) The Real Threat to Internet Freedom is not the UN, but surveillance
by Governments
(9) Russia wants control of Internet to be decentralized, taken from US,
given to governments
(10) US fails to win backing to stop internet regulation at ITU
(11) Sender Pays model would require sources of Internet traffic to pay

(1) UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference may impose
global internet censorship

From: "Web of Debt" <Web.of.Debt@kpnmail.nl> Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2012
11:45:25 +0100

I would like to alert you to a video about a coming conference where
some kind of global internet-censorship may be agreed upon.

Then there is Julian Assange that tells us how rapid the evolution has
been on the techniques to monitor populations' internet messages.

Finfisher, the example that Assange talks about: their catalog and the
stuff they can provide:

Here is some older news, an investiation of the Washinton Post which
showed that there are 800.000 agents with 'top-secret clearance' ( one
for every 3 muslims in the US) , a bussiness that boomed after 911:


I still put all your newsletters on a blog, and now offer a Word -file
for search purposes.
Here is the blog: http://petermyersnewsletters.blogspot.nl/2012/07/600.html
It is working since march and had 7500 page hits so far.

Best wishes, Jos

(2) United Nations wants control of web kill switch



News Limited Network

November 12, 2012

AN unfettered internet, free of political control and available to
everyone could be relegated to cyber-history under a contentious
proposal by a little known United Nations body.

Experts claim that Australians could see political and religious
websites disappear if the Federal Government backs a plan to hand
control over the internet to the UN's International Telecommunications
Union (ITU).

A draft of the proposal, formulated in secret and only recently posted
on the ITU website for public perusal, reveal that if accepted, the
changes would allow government restriction or blocking of information
disseminated via the internet and create a global regime of monitoring
internet communications - including the demand that those who send and
receive information identify themselves.

It would also allow governments to shut down the internet if there is
the belief that it may interfere in the internal affairs of other states
or that information of a sensitive nature might be shared.

Telecommunications ministers from 193 countries will meet behind closed
doors in Dubai next month to discuss the proposal, with Australia's
Senator Stephen Conroy among them.

The move has sparked a ferocious, under-the-radar diplomatic war between
a powerful bloc of nations, led by China and Russia, who want to exert
greater controls on the net and western democracies determined to
preserve the free-wheeling, open architecture of the World Wide Web.

The battle for control has also seen a cartel of telco corporations join
forces to support amended pricing regulations changes which critics warn
will pave the way for significant increases in the cost of day-to-day
internet use, including email and social media.

While Senator Conroy said this morning he would not be supporting any
changes to the current arrangements, the decisions made by other powers
could also have a huge impact on Australian web users.

"We don't believe the existing system needs any significant or radical
change. We don't believe a case has been made at all," a spokesman for
Senatory Conroy told News Ltd.

Simon Breheny, Director of independent thinktank, The Legal Rights
Project, told News Ltd that Australia would end up with a
"lowest-common-denominator situation" whereby what Australians could
view on the internet could be controlled by dominant member countries.

"If we sign it, it will mean we won't have the freedoms we have no
regarding commerce and sharing of ideas," he said.

"That's the greatest concern - rather than going beyond commerce, it
comes into the field of sharing political and religious ideas."

In a show of unity, civil rights groups, big communications corporations
including Google and international labour unions are to meet in London
today to launch a global campaign and petition titled Stop the Net Grab.

Led by the International Trade Union Confederation, it will appeal to
the UN and ITU itself to immediately open the plan for global debate and
demanding a delay of any decision until all stakeholders - not just
governments are given a voice.

Two influential Australians are at the centre of the move - Dr Paul
Twomey and Sharran Burrow.

They will be joined to launch the campaign by Vinton Cerf, one of the
fathers of the internet and now chief Google evangelist.

Ms Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union
Confederation, warned urgent global action is now needed as the
"internet as we know it" comes under very real threat.

"Unless we act now, our right to freely communicate and share
information could change forever. A group of big telecommunications
corporations have joined with countries including China, Egypt and Saudi
Arabia that already impose heavy restriction on internet freedoms," she

"So far, the proposal has flown under the radar but its implications are
extremely serious. Governments and big companies the world over may end
up with the right not only to restrict the internet and monitor
everything you do online but to charge users for services such as email
and Skype."

Dr Twomey is former CEO of the International Corporation for Assigned
Names and Numbers, the US body that governs domain names and addresses,
and he ed the Australian Government's National Office for the
Information Economy.

He warned that as the internet enters its third decade in mass use, the
need to defend its founding open model is more urgent than ever.

"The ongoing disputes about control have also been compounded by concern
in national security and political elites in the wake of recent events
such as the Arab Spring and London Riots where social media were key
tools," he said.

"And there is the accelerating pace of cyber espionage, targeting North
American and other developed countries intellectual propertyas well as
the global rise of hacktivism.

"The danger is that there is now a growing likelihood of the interests
of more traditional forces for Internet control overlapping with, and
even seeking further to align with, national security and law
enforcement agenda."

(3) Vint Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP networking, warns against UN attempt
to regulate Internet


Internet co-creator urges action against UN attempts to regulate the Web

Dec 4, 2012 by Brad Reed
12:34 AM

Vint Cerf, the legendary computer scientist who co-created the TCP/IP
networking protocols that serve as the Internet’s foundation, is not
happy that United Nations wants to apply old telecom regulations to his
creation. Cerf, who now serves as Google’s (GOOG) Chief Internet
Evangelist, has written a post on Google’s official blog this week
urging people to take action to protest the International
Telecommunication Union’s plan to amend the International
Telecommunications Regulations treaty to regulate the Internet.

The ITU, which is an agency of the UN, will be convening with
governments from across the world this week to decide whether to apply
the treaty to the Internet for the first time in its history. Cerf says
that this meeting has the potential to add several damaging regulations
to the Internet, as several authoritarian governments are likely to
propose highly restrictive rules that would be damaging to freedom of
speech and expression.

“Several authoritarian regimes reportedly propose to ban anonymity from
the web, making it easier to find and arrest dissidents,” Cerf writes in
a separate opinion piece posted on CNN. “Others have proposed moving the
responsibilities of the private sector system that manages domain names
and internet addresses to the United Nations. Yet other proposals would
require any internet content provider, small or large, to pay new tolls
in order to reach people across borders.”

Cerf recommends that anyone interested in voice their disapproval with
the ITU’s meeting can sign a petition at Google’s “Take Action” page to
support “a free and open Internet.”

(4) Google and Vint Cerf hit out at ITU web proposals


Google hits out at ITU web proposals

Vint Cerf says regulation could be damaging

03 Dec 2012 12:46

by Matthew Finnegan in London

Google has hit out at the regulation of the internet proposed by UN
spin-off, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), claiming
that the legislation could increase internet censorship.

The ITU conference starts today in Dubai, with government
representatives from across the world meeting to discuss web freedom.
Ahead of the conference, Google vice president Vint Cerf said that the
proposals could stifle creativity on the net, and could give greater
powers of censorship to governments across the world.

"The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is convening a
conference from December 3-14 to revise a decades-old treaty, in which
only governments have a vote," Cerf said. "Some proposals could allow
governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut
off Internet access in their countries".

Computer scientist Cerf, considered one of the founding fathers of the
internet, added that a founding principles of creating the web was one
of openness.

"This wasn’t merely philosophical; it was also practical," he said. Our
protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet
non-proprietary and interoperable. They avoided “lock-in,” and allowed
for contributions from many sources. This openness is why the Internet
creates so much value today."

Cerf added: "Because it is borderless and belongs to everyone, it has
brought unprecedented freedoms to billions of people worldwide."

He pointed out in his blog post that there are 1,000 organisations from
160 countries which have also spoken out against curtailing web freedoms.

The ITU contends that new regulations will enable the free flow of
information, and not just the richest nations.

In the build up to the event, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I.Touré
said that changes to legislation will help towards a "common goal", and
to "build a Knowledge Society where everyone, whatever their
circumstances, can access, use, create and share information."

The European Parliament earlier decided with a large majority that
member states should oppose the ITU's proposals at all turns.

(5) ITU Chief says Internet proposals do not threaten Freedom of Expression


ITU Chief Says WCIT-12 Is Not About Freedom of Expression

But spokesperson suggests no agreement on U.S./Canada proposal for
dealing with definitional issues first

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/4/2012 10:24:14 AM

The delegates at a plenary session of the International
Telecommunications Union's WCIT-12 telecom treaty conference in Dubai on
Tuesday voted "overwhelmingly" to support the UN's universal declaration
of human rights, affirming freedom of opinion and expression through
"any medium."

That was an effort to allay fears that the conference would be about
giving those countries more control over Internet conference. Tunisia
also introduced a proposal to explicitly extend that to online in the
treaties by adding language that says "the same rights that people have
offline must also be protected online."

But according to a spokesperson for ITU following a press conference at
which Secretary General Hamadoun Touré took no questions, the delegates
did not agree to the U.S. and Canada request that the conference first
deal with proposals to change the definition of telecommunications or
who the treaties apply to before getting down to the details of any
revisions of the treaties. "I don't believe that was the case," he said
in response to whether the definitional changes.

Touré did say that discussion had begun on who the treaties apply to,
but that that would continue.

According to an attendee at the conference, on Monday the European
nations joined the U.S. and Canada in that call for dealing with
definitions first.

At the press conference following Tuesday's session, Touré pointed to
the adoption of support for those general universal freedoms and said
that should dispel the myths about the conference and it could proceed
to important issues. He said freedom of expression is not at issue in
the conference, that all delegations have affirmed that, and that the
goal was getting information and communications to unserved communities,
sounding like an FCC official on broadband build-outs.

But issues he said would be dealt with at the conference include
taxation, roaming and price parity and transparency, issues the U.S. has
concerns about as potential venues for greater government control of the

Touré made it clear that the conference would be very much about
broadband, how to get it to the billions who don't get it now and how to
handle increasing bandwidth demands. The U.S. is concerned that could
translate into taxing the Internet to raise the funds to build out
broadband, particularly given the fall-off of revenues from charges for
international exchange of traditional telecom traffic. Touré said there
could not be "heavy" taxation, but that was likely cold comfort to U.S.

(6) UN fights back against Google propaganda. Says Internet freedom will
not be controlled


UN fights back against Google propaganda

Internet freedom will not be controlled

04 Dec 2012 10:59

by Nick Farrell in Rome

Google is winning a propaganda victory against UN moves to regulate the
internet, but now it appears that the International Telecoms Union,
which is touting the changes, is fighting back.

For a while, the move by the UN telecommunications body has been pitched
as a cunning plan to enable it to bring in tough controls for web users.

The claim comes from the US, which does not want to give up its own
control of the internet under the bogus justification that it invented it.

But the secretary general of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun
Toure, told Security Week that the review of the 24-year-old telecom
regulations would not lead to internet freedom being curbed or controlled.

Toure said that such claims were "completely unfounded" and he found it
a very cheap way of attacking the World Conference on International

The conference is being held in Dubai to review regulations reached in
1988. If you believe the US, it is all part of a plan by autocratic
regimes who want to censor the internet.

Toure told participants at the conference that the freedom of expression
online will not be touched during the discussions.

He said that nothing could stop the freedom of expression in the world
today, and nothing in this conference will be about it. He never
suggested anything about controlling the internet.

Indeed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told the conference the UN must
work together and find a consensus on how to most effectively keep
cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure.

So, if the UN does not really want to bring in internet controls, then
why has the impression been conveyed that the web is about to fall into
the paws of autocratic censorship-happy states?

It appears that part of the problem is that the UN is a global
organisation which wants everyone to use the internet. To make sure that
poorer countries are part of the broadband dream, the UN wants to tax
big multinational telecos to pay for these projects. Google, in
particular, has been named.

Google has been vocal in warning of serious repercussions on the
internet if proposals made by member states are approved at the WCIT-12
meeting. It did not mention the tax but claimed that it was all about
permitting censorship over legitimate content.

Bill Echikson, Google's head of Free Expression in Europe, Middle East
and Africa said that some proposals could permit governments to censor
legitimate speech, or even cut off internet access. He made no mention
of the tax.

Google claims that the ITU is not the right body to address internet

Echikson admitted that the ITU had helped the world manage radio
spectrum and telephone networks, but it is the wrong place to make
decisions about the future of the internet. This is because only
governments have a vote at the ITU.

But Toure pointed out that the ITU worked on "consensus" and dismissed
claims that the meetings in Dubai were secretive, telling reporters that
the sessions are open.

Despite having backing from the US, Google claimed in a blog post
yesterday that preliminary talks saw some "frightening proposals"
discussed, including an Arab states' proposal to have the ITU take over
the allocation of IP addresses.

It warned such moves "would cause duplication with the private sector
ICANN," the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. But
that is not what ICANN's chief Fadi Chehadi thinks. He thinks that his
organisation and the ITU complement each other.

Google said some proposed treaty changes "could increase censorship and
threaten innovation" and others "would require services like YouTube,
Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across

The ITU said that these changes would pay for broadband access for
developing nations, but Google claims that these will actually limit the
ability of developing nations to get the internet.

Toure, referring to the suggested fees, dubbed as tolls, insisted to AFP
that the meeting "is not about that... we are not discussing it."

The US press hinted darkly that the conference is hosted by the United
Arab Emirates, one of the countries that censors internet content,
blocking political dissent and sexual material.

However, if the conference were being held in the UN headquarters in New
York, then it would be fairly clear that Google could find nothing to
point at.

If you look at the social networking sites, it is clear that Google is
winning this particular propaganda war as most perceptions are that is
about censorship - but in actual fact it appears to be about taxing
Google to pay for third world internet development.

(7) ITU proposals would move control of Internet from US gov't &
companies to UN


The Dubai Debacle: Does It Matter?

Dec 04, 2012 12:26 PM PST

By Anthony Rutkowski

The second phase of the Dubai Debacle is now well underway. The first of
the ITU-T bodies, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly
(WTSA) finished its ten day meeting. The second body, the World
Conference on International Communication (WCIT) completed its second
day. WTSA shapes the ITU T organization and detailed agenda, while the
WCIT gives it a treaty-based construct with regulatory mandates. WTSAs
occur every four years; WCITs every twenty-five — although there is a
proposal to hold them more frequently.

The results from WTSA confirmed a limited ability to stem what is an
unfolding debacle orchestrated by a set of players to use the ITU-T to
pursue Extreme Agendas. What will all this mean after next week and
everyone goes home?

The Extreme Agendas consist of a set of objectives by a number of ITU-T
Nation State Members together with its Secretary-General. These
objectives include vastly expanding its jurisdiction and role far beyond
its historical legacy telecommunications focus and competency, and
imbuing it with new powers to provide force and effect to its work. The
expanded jurisdiction includes anything and everything within a vast,
unbounded aegis described as ICT (Information and Communication
Technologies), and explicitly engulfing the Internet, "future networks,"
cloud computing, and data centers. In sum, the implementation of these
Extreme Agendas at the WTSA, although slightly blunted, was very

The WTSA tools for pursuing these agendas consist of a set of
Resolutions, the architecture of the ITU-T organization, the elected
officials, and the specific questions for study. The resolutions also
include directives to the ITU permanent secretariats in Geneva, and
admonitions to Member States and providers.

Those pursuing these extreme agendas successfully drove the ICT
jurisdiction ubiquitously into almost every resolution and ITU-T
function. Attempts to constrain ITU-T to its legacy telecommunications
competency clearly failed. The Legal Advisor's finding gave WTSA
resolutions further force and effect — that seem likely now to be
amplified at the WCIT. Rolling out an ITU-T testing and certification
regime also moved forward.

To cap off the success stories, the Secretary-General, just released an
information document pointing out just which resolutions dovetail with
potential new ITR provisions. Tactically, he also deserves an A+ in
propaganda tactics and chutzpah by portraying to the press that the
adverse reactions to these extreme agendas are all the fault of Google
and Vint Cerf!

The bottom line, however, is the existing ITU-T being relied upon here
has no clothes. If one actually reads the technical content of ITU-T or
General Secretariat material including proposed work over the next four
years, it largely runs the gamut between clueless and ludicrous. With
just a couple of minor exceptions, no one goes to its meetings anymore
or actually uses any of its material. Everything it has done over the
past two decades to stem the degeneration has failed. It is not clear
how testing and certification could be done against vaporware standards.
Arguably the WCIT represents the seeds of substantial ITU
self-destruction — as it is only likely to further accelerate the
decline and participation by industry or Western governments.
Technically competent organizations and companies — which already regard
the ITU as institutional malware — will further shun them.

So what if some set of countries obligate themselves to abide by ITU-T
promulgations? This was tried at WCIT-88 and it totally flopped. The
only entities that suffered were the ITU-T itself as industry started to
leave, and the countries which obligated themselves to standards that
utterly failed in the marketplace. And, that was in the days that some
of the ITU-T standards were actually capable of being implemented.

In the near term, users in some countries — probably largely developing
countries — may suffer from relying on products and services purporting
to be based on ITU-T standards and suffer poor network performance,
diminished security, and content restrictions. Some nations mak make bad
choices based on ITU Snake Oil. In the long-term, however, these kind of
bad choices tend to be self-corrective.

(8) The Real Threat to Internet Freedom is not the UN, but surveillance
by Governments


The Real Threat to Internet Freedom Isn't the United Nations

Governments are cooperating on surveillance in other, less obvious ways.

By Ryan Gallagher | Posted Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at 7:30 AM ET

{photo} Nadine Wolf protests the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and
Protect IP Act outside the offices of Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen.
Kirsten Gillibrand on Jan. 18, 2012 in New York City
Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty Images

This article arises from Future Tense, a joint effort of Arizona State
University, the New America Foundation, and Slate that looks at emerging
technologies and their implications for policy and for society. On
Thursday, Nov. 29, Future Tense will host an event in Washington, D.C.,
on the future of Internet governance. To learn more and to RSVP, visit
the New America Foundation’s website. The event will also be streamed live.

The Internet is often seen as a place of chaos and disorder, a
borderless world in which anonymous trolls roam free and vigilante
hackers wreak havoc. But as a crucial United Nations conference on the
future of telecommunications looms next week, there are fears
governments are secretly maneuvering to restructure and rein in the
anarchic Web we have come to know and love, perhaps even ushering in a
new era of pervasive surveillance. So just how real is the threat of
change and what might it mean?

The International Telecommunications Union is meeting in Dubai on Dec.
3—its first summit since 1988—to update the current international
telecommunications regulations treaty. The ITU is the UN agency for
information and communications technologies, and its members include 193
countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The regulations are important
because they set out the “general principles” intended to assure “the
free flow of information internationally.” But a handful of member
states—like Russia—are reportedly trying to use the upcoming conference
to lobby for more control over the Internet, which some fear could help
pave the way for greater surveillance, censorship, and data retention.

Leaked documents and a draft published by the ITU show proposals to
monitor and filter spam or “malicious code.” Others make the case for
the ability to block computers judged to “cause harm” to technical
facilities or personnel; to establish designated “transit centers” that
would offer a “termination service” for shutting off traffic to selected
destinations; and to upgrade international laws governing how user data
are retained. Internet freedom advocates believe such proposals, if
approved, would be used by authoritarian countries as cover to justify
draconian monitoring efforts involving the filtering of traffic.

Adding to these anxieties is the perceived secrecy around how the
proposals have been drafted. Google last week launched a campaign
calling the “closed-door” conference a potential assault on free
expression. Other activist groups have taken things even further,
agitating for a “global outcry” over what they say is “a panel of
governments, giant corporations, and dictatorships” having “absolute
power over the entire Internet, deciding in secret what you can see & do
online.” The European Parliament has weighed in, warning the United
Nations to steer clear of trying to control the Internet, and the U.S.
government has also had strong words, commenting in one leaked document
that some of the language used in the ITU proposals “does not make sense.”

But is the United Nations really plotting a clandestine Internet coup?
Richard Hill, a counselor at the ITU who worked as an editor on the
proposals, sounded agitated by the question, sharply dismissing what he
called an inaccurate “frenzy of commentary” about the looming
conference. Speaking on the phone from Dubai, Hill said claims any new
regulations approved by the member states in December would lead to a
crackdown on net freedom were “totally overblown” because the
regulations are meant only as a guide and still have to be legislated at
a national level. Further, free speech would be protected, he said,
because any new regulation has to conform to both the ITU’s
constitution, which enshrines the right to communicate, and Article 19
of the Convention of Political and Civil Rights, which enshrines free
expression. (He did acknowledge some of the proposals for more
government control of routing data were controversial, but said “these
are just proposals; they’re going to be discussed.”)

Google counters that it is aggrieved that private-sector companies,
civil society, and engineering organizations have no final say in
decisions made by the conference that could ultimately determine—at
least in part—the future trajectory of the Internet. The Center for
Democracy and Technology takes a similar position. Ellery Roberts
Biddle, a policy analyst at the CDT who will be speaking at the Nov. 29
Future Tense event on Internet governance in Washington, said she would
prefer to see the ITU conference focus on improving access to
information and communications technologies in developing countries, as
opposed to trying to address content-related issues about filtering and

(9) Russia wants control of Internet to be decentralized, taken from US,
given to governments


The not-boring guide to the United Nations’ non-takeover of the Internet

November 30, 2012 By Andrew Couts

On Monday, 193 United Nations member states will gather in Dubai to
decide the future of the Internet. The details are messy, confusing, and
sometimes secret. And nobody knows what's going to happen. Here's a
quick-and-dirty guide to filthy chaos that is the 2012 World Conference
on International Telecommunications.

Next week, the United Nations will take over the Internet. Or, actually,
it won’t take over the Internet, but it’s going to let the Russians take
over the Internet. Or maybe it’s just going to poke the Internet with a
stick. No, no, wait, that’s not right either… Nobody’s going to take
over the Internet, but a bunch of “important people” from around the
world are going to pretend like they know what’s best for the Internet,
and all we can do is sit around hoping they don’t screw it up.

Yeah, that sounds more like it.

I’m talking, of course – of course – about the 2012 World Conference on
International Telecommunications, or WCIT, which kicks off in the
fun-loving city of Dubai on Monday, December 3, and runs through
December 14. During WCIT (pronounced “wicket”), member states of a UN
agency called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will talk
about a whole bunch of complicated stuff that could, somehow, affect the
Internet we all love so much.

Problem is, the whole shebang is a giant mess. Worse, most of the filth
is a secret – one of the many reasons people, Internet advocacy groups,
governments, and companies are freaking out.

Enough dilly-dallying: Here’s what you need to know about the UN
Internet takeover that isn’t.

This is all about a treaty

At this year’s WCIT, member states of the ITU will vote on changes to an
old treaty called the International Telecommunication Regulations
(ITRs). This treaty is what gives the ITU power over things like
long-distance calling rates and other aspects of telecommunication.

Because the ITRs was established in 1988, before the Internet was the
all-encompassing colossus it is today, its language is vague enough that
everyone is bickering over whether the ITU has any power over the
Internet. Some say yes. Others say no. So the purpose of WCIT 2012 is to
clarify what types of rules the ITU can make concerning the Internet.

Everything was a secret – but not anymore

Over the past year or more, governments and groups of governments – the
“Arab states,” the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity Administrations, etc –
have been hard at work crafting proposals for how to change the ITRs. A
big part of the controversy is that most of these proposals were kept
secret – that is, until some rascally researchers at George Mason
University’s Mercatus Center created a document leak website,
WCITLeaks.org. Because of the documents leaked to this website, we now
know far more about what might go down in Dubai.

All hell could break loose

Like all treaties, the ITRs can be adopted by countries, or not. Because
of this, WCIT will be a consensus-building event, with a version of the
ITRs that most member states will agree to sign. But it’s entirely
possible that some countries (like the U.S.) will choose to not sign the
new ITRs. In which case, all hell will break loose – at least, that’s my
understanding of the situation.

Many countries think the U.S. has too much power

One thing that could turn WCIT into some type of apocalyptic, Mad Max
free-for-all is the fact that most countries think the U.S. currently
holds too much sway over the global Internet. That’s because Uncle Sam
has a whole lot’a sway. Mad sway.

See, the primary governing body over the Internet is the International
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This is the entity
that controls things like IP addresses and domain names – the key
components to the Web. ICANN is heavily influenced by the U.S.
government, which maintains key powers over the non-profit organization.

Not only is the headquarters of ICANN in Los Angeles, but the U.S.
Department of Commerce has ultimate control over the underlying
infrastructure of the Web: something called the DNS root zone, which
includes the clusters of servers that make it possible for you to go to
Google when you type google.com into your Web browser.

In other words: The U.S. has the power to control the Internet at its
most basic levels.

Given that the Internet is a global network that has become crucial to
virtually everyone on the planet, it’s not really surprising that most
other countries would want to have greater say in how it works. WCIT is
their chance to do so.

Everyone in the U.S. is opposed to giving anyone else more power

This is one of those rare instances where nearly all interested parties
in the U.S. want the same thing. Both the House of Representatives and
the White House have vowed to oppose giving the ITU or any other
governments more power over the Internet. So has the Internet industry,
especially Google. And even many Internet advocacy groups, like the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and the Center for
Democracy & Technology think the ITU should keep its nose out of the
Internet’s business.

U.S. organizations aren’t the only ones opposed to changing the status
quo; earlier this month, the European Parliament voted on a resolution
that directs EU member states to oppose any attempts to give the ITU or
other governments more control over the Internet.

Governments, not the ITU itself, are what matter

The ITU is made up of world governments. So whatever happens at WCIT, it
will be up to the ITU member states – all 193 of them – to decide which
proposals make it into the ITRs, and which don’t. The ITU is at the
mercy of these governments. Whatever Frankenstein they dream up will be
the monster that crawls off the operating table.

Censorship is a real concern

Not only do they decide on what changes to make, but the governments of
ITU member states could also end up with far greater power to control
the Internet – both outgoing traffic and incoming traffic – in their
respective borders. Critics of the ITU proposals, like Google and
others, say that proposed changes to the ITRs could allow repressive
regimes, like China, Iran, or Russia, to censor Web content, and
otherwise make the global Internet less open.

The ITU itself says these fears are overblown.

Russia is a pain in the rear

Of all the proposals ready to go on the table at WCIT, Russia’s (PDF) is
causing the most outrage. (U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer called the
Russian proposal “shocking.”) That’s because Russia wants to take the
powers of Internet governance and give it to the governments of the
world – a radical change from the way things work now (i.e., the U.S. is
effectively in charge of how the Internet works, at least on a technical
level). Many of the concerns about what will happen at WCIT stem from
the Russian proposal.

The whole thing is really just about money

In addition to concerns from U.S.-based Internet companies, like Google,
that changes to the ITRs could result in more rules and burdensome
regulation, the real worry is money. Some African and Asian nations, as
well as the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association
(ETNO) want to impose something called “sender party pays,” which would
require Web companies to pay local Internet operators around the world
for the data-heavy traffic they send through their system. As former
U.S. Ambassador David Gross told me earlier this year, the ETNO proposal
would impose “a radical change” on “the economics of the Internet.”

According to Amb. Gross and others, the establishment of “sender party
pays” could, at the very least, result in companies like Google deciding
that it is not worth it financially to operate in developing nations
that generate little in the way of advertising revenue. This in turn
could result in these countries being kicked further behind due to a
lack of access to the open Web we enjoy here in the U.S.

Columnist Michael Geist concurs that “sender party pays” would “create
enormous new costs for major content providers such as Google or Netflix.”

“The long-term impact would be to either shift significant new costs to
consumers or lead to a global digital divide in which the large content
companies stop sending traffic to uneconomic countries where the
financial return from sending traffic is outweighed by the new
transmission costs,” Geist wrote.

We don’t know what will happen

At this point, nobody seems to know what is going to happen at WCIT. It
really could go either way – and that seems to have companies like
Google mighty worried. So if you oppose changing the way the Internet
works right now, you can sign Google’s petition here, or the Center for
Democracy & Technology’s anti-ITU letter here.

(10) US fails to win backing to stop internet regulation at ITU


Published 7:57 AM, 5 Dec 2012 Last update 9:56 AM, 5 Dec 2012


A US and Canadian proposal to protect the Internet from new
international regulation has failed to win prompt backing from other
countries, setting up potentially tough negotiations to rewrite a
telecom treaty.

The idea, also supported by Europe, would limit the International
Telecommunication Union's rules to only telecom operators and not
Internet-based companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc.

That could reduce the prospective impact of efforts by other countries
including Russia and some in the Middle East and Africa to obtain more
powers to govern the Internet through the ITU, an arm of the United
Nations. Those efforts, slated for discussion next week, could make Net
anonymity - or the ability to remain anonymous online - more difficult
to maintain and could bolster censorship, critics say.

"We want to make sure (the rewritten ITU treaty) stays focused squarely
on the telecom sector," said US Ambassador Terry Kramer. "We thought we
should deal with that up-front."

Kramer had been hoping that a committee comprising representatives from
six regional bodies would give quick approval to the American request on
Tuesday. But that failed to happen.

An ITU spokesman said late on Tuesday that the talks were continuing and
that the issue would only return to the main policy-making body on Friday.

About 150 nations are gathered in Dubai to renegotiate the ITU rules,
which were last updated in 1988, before the Internet and mobile phones
transformed communications.

The 12-day ITU conference, which began on Monday, largely pits
revenue-seeking developing countries and authoritarian regimes that want
more control over Internet content against US policymakers and private
Net companies that prefer the status quo.

The Internet has no central regulatory body, but various groups provide
some oversight, such as ICANN, a US-based non-profit organisation that
coordinates domain names and numeric Internet protocol addresses.

US companies have led innovation on the Internet, and this stateside
dominance is a worry for countries unaligned with the world's most
powerful country.

The United States has also led in the development and use of destructive
software in military operations that take advantage of anonymous
Internet routing and security flaws.

Some of the proposals now being contested by the American and Canadian
delegations are aimed at increasing security and reducing the
effectiveness of such attacks, though the West and several rights groups
argue that is a pretext for greater repression.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré told Reuters last week that any
major changes to the 1988 treaty would be adopted only with "consensus"
approaching unanimity, but leaked documents show that managers at the
147-year-old body view a bad split as a strong possibility.

If that happens, debates over ratification could erupt in the United
States, Europe and elsewhere.

(11) Sender Pays model would require sources of Internet traffic to pay


[...] World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12)

The ITU will facilitate the The World Congress on International
Telecommunications or WCIT, a treaty-level conference that addresses the
international rules for telecommunications, including international
tariffs.[11] The previous conference to update the International
Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) was held in Melbourne in 1988.[12]
The next conference is taking place in Dubai in December 2012.

The treaty itself consists of ten articles and 73 reservations from
various of the 111 initial signatory countries. It covers both
inter-country communications as well as maritime communications,
governing privileged and emergency communications, accounting for
services, and exceptions for bilaterally agreed communications.

In August 2012, ITU called for a public consultation on a draft document
ahead of the conference.[13] It is claimed the proposal would allow
government restriction or blocking of information disseminated via the
internet and create a global regime of monitoring internet
communications – including the demand that those who send and receive
information identify themselves. It would also allow governments to shut
down the internet if there is the belief that it may interfere in the
internal affairs of other states or that information of a sensitive
nature might be shared.[14]

Telecommunications ministers from 193 countries will attend the

[edit]Changed context since 1988

The current regulatory structure was based on voice telecommunications,
when the Internet was still in its infancy.[15] In 1988,
telecommunications operated under regulated monopolies in most
countries. As the Internet has grown, organizations such as ICANN have
come into existence to manage key resources such as Internet Addresses
and Domain Names. Some outside the United States believe that the United
States exerts too much influence over the governance of the Internet.[16]

[edit]Proposed Changes to the Treaty And Concerns

Current proposals look to take into account the prevalence of data
communications. Proposals currently under consideration would establish
regulatory oversight by the U.N. over security, fraud, traffic
accounting as well as traffic flow, management of Internet Domain Names
and IP addresses, and other aspects of the Internet that are currently
governed either by community-based approaches such as Regional Internet
Registries, ICANN , or largely national regulatory frameworks.[17] The
move by the ITU and some countries has alarmed some within the United
States and within the Internet community.[18][19] Indeed some European
telecommunication services have proposed a so-called "sender pays" model
which would requires sources of Internet traffic to pay destinations,
similar to the way funds are transferred between countries using the

The WCIT-12 activity has been attacked by Google, who has characterized
it as a threat to the "free and open internet".[22]

On 22 November, 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution which
urged member states to prevent ITU activity at WCIT-12 which would
"negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content
and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow
of information online".[23] The resolution asserted that "the ITU […] is
not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over the

[edit]WCIT-12 Conference Participation

The conference itself is managed by the International Telecommunication
Union (ITU). While certain parts of civil society and industry are able
to advise and observe, active participation is restricted to member
states.[25] The Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed concern at
this, calling for a more transparent multi-stakeholder process.[26] Some
leaked contributions can be found on the wcitleaks.org web site.
Google-affiliated researchers have suggested that the ITU should
completely reform its processes in order to allow openness and
participation to align itself with other multistakeholder organizations
in the Internet.[27] ...

This page was last modified on 4 December 2012 at 04:28.

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