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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a video message to the conference, underlined the power of ICT that continues to transform our world. “The Arab Spring showed the power of ICT to help people voice their legitimate demands for human rights and greater accountability. As we strive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and shape the post-2015 development agenda, you here at this conference are well placed to help further unleash the benefits of ICT while promoting an environment that drives innovation,” Mr Ban stated.
Mr Ban went on to underline that the management of information and communication technology should be transparent, democratic and inclusive of all stakeholders, adding that he was pleased that steps had been taken “to open the process – including the vital voices of civil society and the private sector.”
“The United Nations system stands behind the goal of an open Internet. The right to communicate is central to the ITU’s mission. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of expression across all media and all frontiers,” Mr Ban said.
Referring to the World Summit on the Information Society, which affirmed that the free flow of information and ideas is essential for peace, development, and progress, Mr Ban stressed that these freedoms are not up for negotiation. “We must continue to work together and find consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure. I trust that together – governments, industry and civil society will rise to this occasion,” Mr Ban told delegates.
“I recognize the ITU’s deep impact on the development of the telecommunication industry, and the broadband infrastructure of which we all benefit every day, especially in the developing world – the world I come from. The ITU and ICANN have complementary roles; and moving forward, we shall cooperate in good spirit, while clearly respecting our distinct roles. I therefore join my fellow Internet organizations, ISOC (the Internet Society), IETF (the Internet Engineering Task Force), the regional Internet registries, in our continued deep commitment to service the world’s needs for Internet governance.
The Chairman of the Conference, Mohammed Nasser Al-Ghanim, addressing the opening Plenary, pointed out that “WCIT occupies a special place in the ICT industry, on account of the significant and indeed radical developments and changes witnessed by the industry during the past two decades, which have not been matched by any changes in the International Telecommunication Regulations that have governed the industry at the global level since 1988.” Hence the need to update and develop the regulations to reflect this evolution, the Chairman observed, underlining that “the topics to be discussed at this conference are both extremely important and highly sensitive, and require us to cooperate fully to forge a compromise in the common interest of all countries of the world.”
“To build a knowledge society – where everyone, whatever their circumstances, can access, use, create and share information,” the Secretary-General underlined, adding “We have the power to create a brave new world, where social and economic justice prevails. So let’s get to work!”
UN Control of the Internet? An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come
The Persian Gulf is receiving plenty of press this week, as climate negotiators debate in Doha and political turmoil buffets Bahrain. But another important drama is unfolding in Dubai, where more than one hundred and fifty nations are meeting for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) from December 4-13. Topping the agenda is the future governance of the internet. A bloc of developing countries and authoritarian states is pushing for a sweeping new treaty that would wrest authority for regulating the internet from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and hand it to International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Historically, the ITU is among the most venerable of international organizations. A direct descendent of the International Telegraph Union (1865), the ITU’s mandate evolved over the past century and a half as new communications technologies emerged. Today, it serves as the UN’s leading standard-setting agency for telecommunications issues—including the allocation of orbital slots for satellites, the division of the global radio spectrum, and the harmonization of national mobile phone networks. The yawning gap in its portfolio, however, remains the internet, which launched in 1988, the last time the ITU endorsed a major overhaul of global telecommunications regulations.
One of the beauties of the internet has been its reliance on a multi-stakeholder governance structure—one in which governments, the private sector, and independent organizations all have a role to play. Such an approach, which would be impossible to replicate through a top-down treaty arrangement, has been integral to the open, dynamic character of the internet. A messy governance system may be a “nightmare for the tidy-minded, and especially for authoritarian governments,” as the Economist notes, but it remains critical for the future of global innovation and human freedom.
Originally posted by Hefficide
And the ITU? Well they own all of the fiber optics, phone lines, satellites, cables, etc. An analogy would be that the ITU owns the roads and ICANN sells all the cars. Take away either? No access to Cyberspace.
Early reports suggesting failure of support for a joint U.S. - Canada proposal for early discussion on the scope of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) are inaccurate. The proposal called for priority discussion of certain “foundational” issues and definitions at the WCIT. As of the end of Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, the following progress had been made:
As proposed by Canada and the United States, the WCIT took up the foundational issues at a high level, within the first two days of the Conference;
As a result, the Preamble of the ITRs was retained with only minor changes, preserving the original scope and purpose of the treaty;
The definition of telecommunications in Article 1 of the ITRs was retained with no change;
The discussion of which entities the treaty would apply to - recognized operating agencies (RoAs) or operating agencies (OAs) – was taken up by a high-level working group reporting directly to the Chairman of the Conference. The RoA issue remains an important point of discussion for the United States, which will continue to work for its retention in the ITRs.
The US House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose any efforts to give the United Nations new authority to regulate the Internet.
The 397-0 vote, following a similar vote in the Senate, came as delegates were meeting in Dubai to revise a global telecom treaty, a gathering which some say could be used to impose new controls on the Internet.
Representative Greg Walden said ahead of the vote that lawmakers should “send a strong bipartisan, bicameral signal about America’s commitment to an unregulated Internet.”
He said Washington should not “stand idly by while countries like Russia and China seek to extort control over the Internet.”
Representative Marsha Blackburn echoed the comments, saying that “several hostile countries are seeking to use this opportunity to impose new international regulations on the Internet.”
She added: “We need to send a strong message to the world that the Internet has thrived under a decentralized, bottom-up multi-stakeholder governance model
Internet Society's Statement Addressing Reported Attacks Against the ITU Website
The Internet Society releases the following statement from President and CEO Lynn St. Amour
"The Internet Society is a strong proponent of openness, transparency, and collaboration. Actions that disrupt these principles and impact dialogue or collaboration are counterproductive to an open and globally accessible Internet.
Currently, numerous media reports suggest that attacks are being planned against the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) website to disrupt the WCIT proceedings in Dubai. Such actions would be wholly counterproductive, making it more difficult to have the kind of collaboration and thoughtful discussions that are needed at this critical point.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Organizers of a controversial global conference tasked with deciding the future of Internet regulation said today they are “bracing” for cyber attacks as the meeting passes its halfway point.
“There were a lot of people claiming victory for that in the moments after it happened,” Coneally said. Coneally said his group is “bracing” itself for another attack Saturday that he said had been advertised online.
Coneally would not say who he believed was behind Thursday’s attack but said it was “ironic that people championing transparency don’t give you their name.”
In an unusual twist, part of Anonymous’ argument appears to line up squarely with that of a historic foe, the United States government, which is proposing the revised treaty should have no impact on the way the Internet is already run. Some other governments disagree. Russia, for instance, has proposed the treaty be extended to cover the Internet so that governments can “regulate the national Internet segment” and ensure universal cyber security, according to a leaked version of Russia’s proposal posted online.
As one Anonymous-linked Twitter user said, “A few old ladies [and] gentlemen are flying to Dubai to protect us from the Internet.”