The Google campaign – An ITU view

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ITU notes the recent comments made by Google in relation to the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai.

Google has erroneously claimed that WCIT-12, which will take place in Dubai from 3-14 December, will be used as a forum to increase censorship and regulate the Internet.

The freedom of expression and the right to communicate are already enshrined in many UN and international treaties that ITU has taken into account in the establishment of its Constitution and Convention, and also its mandate by the Plenipotentiary Conference, which is the Supreme Organ of ITU. These treaties include Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

These Articles – as well as Article 33 and 34 of the ITU Constitution – clearly establish the right to communication and the limits that governments can impose on those rights.

Since the ITU Constitution prevails over the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), nothing in the ITRs has the power to result in a reduction of freedom to communicate.

ITU’s mandate in the Internet is laid down by the Plenipotentiary Conference Resolutions which were agreed to by consensus in 2010. Nothing can be agreed at WCIT-12 to change this mandate.

Google has also incorrectly stated, on its official website, that governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct the Internet’s future.

The so-called closed-door meeting is however inclusive of 193 national delegations which are participating in WCIT-12. In addition, ITU is pleased to note that private sector companies and civil society organizations have registered to attend WCIT-12 in large numbers.

The United States, where Google itself is headquartered, has confirmed more than 125 people in its delegation to WCIT-12, with a large majority of these delegates representing the private sector and civil society.

It is interesting to note that Google representatives are part of the United States delegation.

We regret that Google did not take the opportunity to choose to join ITU as a member, which would have enabled it to participate in its own right in the WCIT-12 preparatory process.

The very thorough and inclusive preparatory process leading up to the WCIT-12 has been completely transparent.

At ITU, transparency is achieved at the national level, through national consultations in national languages. A process we believe more inclusive than simply posting an English language text online.

ITU firmly believes that a revised treaty can help harness the power of ICTs to deliver social and economic benefits in every nation on earth, including across every sector.

The current ITRs paved the way for today’s information and communication technologies.

This includes mobile and the Internet. The revised ITRs have the exciting potential to pave the way for a broadband revolution in the 21st century.

ITU’s goal is to continue enabling the Internet, as it has done since the Internet’s inception.

We must keep the Internet open for business to sustain growth in the vast and inter-dependent global digital economy.

By:Paul Conneally
Head of Communications and Partnership Promotion Division, ITU

65 comments

  1. So you’re saying Google’s accusations are misguided? Okay. Then how do you explain this?

    http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/isps-ask-itunet-neutrality-81945

    And soon after that ITU seems to have magically agreed that net neutrality is not needed:

    http://itu4u.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/proposal-for-ict-and-internet-ecosystem-setting-new-rules-on-trade-order

    I don’t know about censorship and mass surveillance of users, and trying to decrypt user communications. That may or may not be true, but there have been some leaks about it, including Russia’s proposal for stuff like that, and I’d have to assume China is right behind it.

    But as far as net neutrality goes, ITU clearly seems to be against it, and that alone is worth the outrage that has appeared against ITU. Killing net neutrality is bad for Google, but it’s also very bad for users, so you if ITU thinks they will get away with it, they are in for a big surprise, as the outrage will grow exponentially once that proposal is officially made, or worse, if it’s passed.

    So although I know ITU is formed purely to serve the interests of carriers and ISP’s, I urge them to reconsider, and make the user’s right the #1 priority, not the carriers.

    1. Dear Lucian – thanks for your feedback. There seems to be a general misunderstanding that we (ITU Secretariat) need to improve on communicating more clearly. The ITU is the sum of its 193 Member States and more than 700 private sector and civil society organizations. The ITU Secretariat is headquarterd in Geneva to facilitate members, convene conferences at their behest etc. We (staffers of the ITU Secretariat) do not have a position as we work on behalf of all our members who do not have a consolidated position (hence the need for a forum such as WCIT to debate and discuss, to achieve consensus and agree on a way forward). To say “ITU is against” means that 193 Member States ‘are against’ net neutrality (etc.) which is clearly not the case. This may not be the most exciting of clarifications but it is a fact.

      1. Sorry, but the ITU needs to clarify what the members are talking about. If you are the host of a forum it is also your task to inform those from the outside what the participants of the forum are talking about from a neutral perspective. If there is such a “storm” coming, it most be clear even for the ITU that something has gone wrong.

  2. Gary Gapinski · · Reply

    “At ITU, transparency is achieved at the national level, through national consultations in national languages. A process we believe more inclusive than simply posting an English language text online.”

    Are there any reasons both processes cannot be accomplished together, thus enhancing inclusion, awareness, and transparency?

    Texts to be posted need not be translated from their national language into English, and Internet posting would provide an effective method of dissemination to a wide audience.

    Regards,

    Gary

  3. I’m sorry to disagree… the last few pages of this: http://files.wcitleaks.org/public/WCIT12%20-%20ITRs%20and%20QoS.pdf

    Are a perfect example of exactly what a psychotic telco needs to kill net neutrality. Let’s say I have a new protocol, and I’d like to make it a big thing. As it stands, there’s nowhere for it to fit in. What about SCTP? Where does this fit in into a scheme like this?

    This kills innovation and locks in an ecosystem that we’ll inevitably outgrow.

    1. Musora – please read our latest blog post. It is very disingenuous for the EU to say our process is closed when they have full access to everything and when their members have been actively participating. It is unfortunate that such posturing is happening – I suppose we will be told that they ‘saved the day’ despite the fact that a resolution is being passed (to stop UN control of the Internet) against something that was never planned and would be legally + technically impossible.

  4. So what are you going to be discussing?

    1. issues such as transparency in mobile roaming (its about who pays, not about who governs!); enabling almost a billion people with some form of disability to fully benefit from ICTs; creating an environment of investment for mobile broadband and in anticipation of major data growth; green energy – just some of the positive topics that will be covered but which don’t reach the scaremongering headlines.

      1. Okay, so these are “just some of the positive topics” that will be talked about. What are the negative topics?

  5. I think what Google and everyone else is getting at is, there is no need for anyone to govern the internet. We all want Government to stay out of our business. The internet belongs to the people, and we want it left that way. I fully support Google in this.

  6. Despite all what have been said in this article, there is still no reason for posting the transcript of the “meeting” for the public. You only have to post it in one language (preferably, English) and people would do the translation into other languages. People can even use web translators (such as Google and Bing Translate services) if they cannot read it in Arabic.

    I think that ITU is neglecting the fact that governments all around the world are trying to perform many practices that would allow them to control the content of the Internet, ITU should not help them collaborate their effort to content-control the internet, implicitly or explicitly, under the cover of the UN!!!!!

  7. “The so-called closed-door meeting is however inclusive of 193 national delegations which are participating in WCIT-12. In addition, ITU is pleased to note that private sector companies and civil society organizations have registered to attend WCIT-12 in large numbers.”

    Are these private sector/civil society companies invited to the closed-door meeting, and do they have a vote or access to the draft proposals to know what they should be lobbying for? That’s Google’s main point: we have to put immense trust in a few individuals who aren’t very knowledgeable about the Internet. Without knowledge of what draft proposals may exist, we don’t know what is going on until it’s already passed and too late.

    1. closed-door is a misnomar. Everyone is welcome. Delegations are composed by Member States and can include whomever they wish (members or not of the ITU) including private sector and civil society. There are no limits on numbers and it is up to Member States to ensure that their national delegations are representative. They have access to all documents and indeed Member States and ITU members can share all documents with whomever requests them. Google have chosen not to join ITU but they own Motorola who is a member and therefore they have access to all proposals. Alternatively they would have requested from the US Administration who would have provided them or from the Internet Society (also an ITU member).

      1. Sacred Bob · ·

        This post is real great and all, calm, non-accusatory, and very descriptive. There’s just one thing I don’t like: You claim that it’s not closed-door and you claim everyone is welcome. But you did not explicitly state that the general public (I mean EVERYONE, not just “civil society groups”) is privy to the proceedings and negotiations. This is what people mean when they say transparent: the whole event can be an open book in real time to a damn toddler if requested. You can’t put windows on a brick house and say it’s made of glass. You seem to imply that it’s just Google being a little irritated at not having direct involvement that is afforded to ITU members, however in this comment you state that Motorola, who is a member, is owned by Google, so what would stop Google from using Motorola as a proxy? I remain unconvinced of the ITU or the UN’s claims that there is nothing to worry about. There will be no change and no control of the Internet. Regardless of the actions of the ITU or the UN, if any attempt is made to control or blockade the Internet, the Internet will treat it as damage and circumvent it. It doesn’t matter how hard any individual government tries, all the Internet has to do is wait for its moment. Water is patient. Water just waits. Wears down the clifftops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins.

    2. Have you seen the way UN really operates? it leaves the majority of those countries without a lot, so its really Germany, China, USA and Britain imposing. in Mexico for example we are left withut a vote. ONU is far from speaking for mankind.

      1. I respectfully disagree — the Group of 77 wields enormous negotiating power (http://www.g77.org/)

  8. We don’t need the UN or ITU regulating the internet and taking away INTERNET FREEDOM–go away and find something else to do. YOU are NOT trustworthy. We do not believe a word you say. Quit blaming Google for the fact you are attempting a “power grab.”

    1. A power grab is a great and scary headline but is utterly false. The UN has no mandate to control the Internet; regulation only takes place at the national level and nothing that comes out of this conference will change that'; it is legally impossible for the ITU to control the internet. I could go on but do you want to hear the truth or believe the more interesting misinformation?

      1. You don’t “get it”–we don’t want government regulation–we want internet freedom! You are dangerous and misguided–is it any surprise that the MOST REPRESSIVE governments in the world support your “power grab!”

  9. Internet access must be free from any government interference and regulations, it is the last bastion of freedom of speech and expressions.

  10. reverend green · · Reply

    being a fully educated member of a modern democracy, meaning that, i am both conceited and generally ignorant, i however feel the right to convey to the readers the following thought

    if i was asked to make a decision, that would require of me to grant a vote of trust to either a multibillion corporation in persuit of further riches, or a veritable agency of united nations, which is essentially the same thing, i would deduce that in the end of the day, all things considered and not to put too fine a point on it, there wont be anything in it for a member of general public one way or the other;

    and before rushing headlong in the polemic battle, i would sit down and try to understand who will benifit from the outcome of the current situation, and whats in it for google

    1. i get your point, really i do. But maybe you are not considering this fact: what does the normal end user gain from regulating the internet? less content, which means nothing, regulations are allways in favor of companies which are loosing a lot of money from the sharing of information over the internet, and on the other hand internet DOES NOT belong to any country it is a humanity milestone, have you considered the countries which have zero to none vote on ONU, mexico for example, do we have to watch idle as germany us an britain decide what to do with it?

      1. reverend green · ·

        man, i wont be google advocate even if my brain would be replaced a cauliflower;
        nor will i defend itu;

        there is nothing there for the little guy nothing at all

        – you talking less content for the end user; what kind of content? half of the internet lurkers are there for free pron, music and films; that contet is illigal already;

        are you afraid that freedom of speach will deteriorate? where is it now? its all just a game of chess;

        as Mcluhan said in the sixties – the medium is the message; huff and puff, try regulate what you will, its like hammering a nail with an inflatable woman – some things are only good for one purpose;

        as Neil Postman added in the eighties – its not Orvellian future that daunts us, but Huxlean; with tons of garbage making knowledge unwanted and unsought;

        go open youtube – look up Noam Chomsky (greatest anti-propaganda writer usa had in years), go look up Howard Zinn – a venerable pacifist spokesman – what does the view counter saz? three hundred

        on the other hand we have Frisky the Copter Cat – an astonishing millions of views;

        so what freedom of speach are you talking about; you think in a democracy people have a right to know? nah, they have a right to be ignorant;

        what else is in danger of being wiped out by evil ITU? collaboration? go collaborate – emails and chatrooms are there; could be set up easily again and again even as a FIDO net if the chips are dow;

        so – a resume – end user looses nothing or hardly cares if he does;

        but what are they after, both ITU and Google?

        Cpt Obvious here reminds us its the holly dollar;

        so will you and me be used as pawns in game of chess we dont begin to comprehend? No sir!

      2. Well the internet is what people make of it, i for one learn have to program in there, cause i wanted to, and i was interested in it. That alone makes me very worried about something like the ITU. Well more than what the ITU or google have to gain i would ask myself what would I, the end user, loose or gain from this thing. I get that you dont like google, but google havent charged me anything in… well… never. Now let me put an example now i researched a little bit more, one of the inicatives is that internet service providers are able to charge more services that draw a lot of traffic to themselves because they imply extra work, well that seems fair enough… yeah but it breaks the structure, this is how: the websites will obviously not respond for the cost of having a popular service, they do not run charity, so all that extra money they have to pay will be charged to, yeah you guessed it, the users. And as easy as that is how you loose an open free access to information, say goodbye to wikipedia cause they are no longer able to run and moderate based on donations as they do now, i for one live in Mexico and internet is actually helping break the gap between social classes, why? because i can learn english and to program in a 200 bucks computer and paying 20 bucks montly for internet. Ok what do we gain? please, tell me reverend Green or ITU blog manager, what on earth do i gain from this?

  11. Paul, could you give us a brief summary of your experience in Internet Governance and participation at IETF, ICANN, regional RIR and regional operator group forums? Roughly how many have you attended and for how long?

    I would like to understand what new issues the ITU or its delegates are finding and why these cannot be handled by the existing multi-stakeholder organizations?

    1. Thank-you for your question Steve.

      ITU remains firmly committed to the multi-stakeholder WSIS process and has been accorded the leading managerial role in terms of responsibility for, among others, the annual WSIS Forum and the WSIS+10 Review Process. Further, since the beginning, ITU has been at the forefront of contributors to the IGF and, as an example, the Secretary General of ITU, Dr Hamadoun I Toure, was the only head of the UN agencies participating in the 7th IGF in Baku. ITU has also heavily involved in various Internet Governance For a, including ICANN, RIRs, and IETF. For instance, ITU is one of the leading UN agencies actively participating in the ICANN meeting regarding the issue of IGO name protection under the new gTLDs.

  12. What is really going on at the WCIT Dubai conference this year and who is the ITU? Google and Facebook have gotten involved and the scrum is hitting the media machine. http://globaldiplomacy.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/the-internet-in-uproar-over-itu/

  13. and just exactly who give you the autorization to regulate anything? who are you and who do you think you are?

  14. John Poole · · Reply

    “Euro MPs: Do not let the ITU take control of the internet | ZDNet: “”Some ITR reform proposals being presented by the ITU member states would negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online,” Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and other lawmakers said in the motion for resolution. In addition, “the ITU, or any other single, centralised international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over either internet governance or internet traffic flows,” lawmakers said. At the moment, large, primarily US-based organisations such as ICANN and IANA have oversight of parts of the internet. In ICANN’s case, it controls the allocation of IP addresses. Euro MPs also fear that if more significant control of the internet is handed to the ITU, this could end up stifling net neutrality, hindering innovation and driving up prices.”

    http://goo.gl/4IQd1

  15. Apodjunkie · · Reply

    Lets see – The ITU has primary members that are well known for wanting to censor the Internet.
    For example, Russia’s current jump in to Internet laws is priceless:

    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20121126/01165821142/russian-supreme-court-isps-need-to-proactively-block-illegal-content.shtml

    And then there is the UK:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121010/03520020672/uk-continues-to-criminalize-bad-taste-stupidity-online-postings.shtml

    And lets not pretend the US is not in the hip pocket of the entertainment industry:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121126/13420421149/annual-cyber-monday-ice-take-down-blitz-2012.shtml

    Why the UN feels that it needs to regulate the Internet can only be interpreted as a power grab for tit’s members.
    IF the UN really wants the citizens of the world to trust it, all the UN has to do is fight against ANY regulation efforts. I think the Egyptian Spring is a clear example of why censorship and regulation is a horrible move.

  16. Anonymous · · Reply

    I hope, all news coming up these days are not true. Because if in those meetings you will set the regulation of the internet, many people will get angry and I won’t let that happen. You could control the internet, but we’ll always find the way to fight injustice.

    FOR THE FREEDOM OF THE INTERNET!

  17. reverend green · · Reply

    @slow moving man

    providers in mexico, do they have to be backed by the ITU directive to get the rates up? In my part of the world a firm that ‘provides’ can set prices as high as they see fit;

    the only thing that keeps the services (both internet, and others) cheapish (barely within the grasp of consumers) is the fact that population is kind of poor, and they have to make good buisness, or else some one will damp prices;

    i dont know about mexico but in ex-soviet states the question of prices is very much up to the consioscness of individual bosses + its regulated by the ahem free market (i know, i know);

  18. Paul,

    I for one appreciate the greater openness the ITU has shown in the last few years.

    However, contrast this one nation-one vote, limited access to documents style with the truly open, transparent bottom up process that we will use this week in Khartoum @ AfriNIC17.

    I can (and have) proposed policies that will be discussed this week, and they may even be adopted. I am not a government nor do I represent a large company, just myself. It is this kind of openness that has built the Internet we have today.

  19. ITU spokesman, Paul Conneally, wrote a blog post last week that defended the organization against allegations of secrecy.

    http://www.ocean92.com/u-n-summit-may-usher-in-more-internet-regulations.html

  20. [...] What is the ITU? How does it work? First and foremost, the ITU is us! As a United Nations organization, it is made up of representatives from 193 member countries. Delegates are selected by each member country to represent the country’s interests. Members from the private sector and civil society organizations can participate in the dialog as well. Generally, country delegates bring an entourage to ensure that their country’s interests are well represented – for example, the United States is bringing 125 people to the WCIT-12 as part of its delegation. Interestingly enough, Google has chosen not to attend. [...]

  21. Apodjunkie · · Reply

    Paul,
    All other arguments aside, if the ITU really wants to make this an open event, which I would like to participate in, how about they move the meetings to an open forum? And in a place that is not so hard to get to? Dubai is a bit out of the way for most people on the planet, myself included.

    Good comments about how this meeting is being received by the rest of humanity can be seen here:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121127/18051121165/dear-itu-complex-process-where-delegates-who-fly-to-dubai-can-lobby-is-not-transparency.shtml#comments

  22. Michel Gauthier · · Reply

    As a French citizen aware of the internet architectural flaws I am amazed at the Google’s attitude. It reminds me Middle-Age War Lords, fighting their King and their people for the sole sake of their own interests. What the entire world is increasingy asking is to get rid of merchant cyberpowers, (why do these American peoples calling for google’s democracy do not start reading neutral and pertinent litterature by the IAB, the wise people of the IETF? The first part of RFC 3869 should be the reference today. To be neutral Internet R&D should be paid by States and people, not by commercial sponsors like Google. The internet has to be the everyone’s network, not the Google network.

    The internet must become people centered as unanimously demanded by the WSIS, Not Google’s money centric. Many people on this list should have a look at the Platinum and Gold ISOC Members and at the Unicode commercial consortium members. Since Aug. 29th, the Internet is not designed anymore to “work better” but to be “market accepted” (the pseudo http://open-stand.org). We want an open-use internet, we want it to be free from cybermafias, we want to end the technical “status-quo” (do they know that TCP/IP and DNS have NOT changed since 1.1.1983. Do they know that the only real technical progress of the internet comes from infrastructures, bandwidth increase (what ITU is responsible for) and computer speed and capacity (what ICANN, IETF, IAB, ISOC, W3C are not responsible for).

    The Internet must be operated by enhanced multipartite cooperations under the control of dynamic coalition including the govs, the civil society, the private interests and the international bodies. We are fed up with the US industry and investors blocking the enhanced cooperation process. We want the ITU to contain the dollars interest and continue an open dialog with the a true and free civil and technical society. We want Unicode and Google to stop barring innovation and neutrality, we the people are not for sale. We also want help to be technically represented in discussing innovation and neutrality. Because, regular civil society members cannot foot the travel fare to Dubai, and would like to know who are paying the “civil society” reps T&L there.

    1. apodjunkie · · Reply

      Michel, your comment touches upon several ideal points that I would like to discuss.
      I am aware of the French HADOPI law ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HADOPI_law ) which represents an agreement between the French government and the commercial interests of the Entertainment Industry. Which is also looming for the US in the near future. As a educated French citizen, do you not see this sort of Internet commercial regulation/enforcement as dangerous step in future Internet legislation? It appears to be the case in French legislation as the French newspapers are also pushing to have Google fined for linking to their sites, which is effectively driving Internet traffic to the French Newspapers. (I thought that was the general idea of using a search engine?) http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121018/13484820754/google-to-french-media-we-may-have-to-cut-you-off.shtml

      Or perhaps this is a further representation of bias against Google from the Entertainment Industry impacting French politics? Lobbyist have clearly showed their influence in France and American politics. What makes you so comfortable that with the ITU, this will not be a worse situation with multiple governments and commercial organizations pushing for many more regulations? Remember SOPA, PIPA and TPP?

      In review of the players that stand to benefit the most from the ITU regulating the Internet appear to be morally rigid governments and worldwide corporations. These two entities benefiting from the ITU’s representation will effectively usher in a new regime of pay as you go Internet usage. i.e. Pay more for certain services usage such as Hulu, Youtube, Facebook and other popular services. At first blush, many people would install think that this is fair but upon a deeper look, the additional cost for using these (And many other.) services will serve to deter usage, effectively keeping those away that cannot afford the additional cost (Beyond subscription to an ISP.) and strangle the traffic for those services that are thriving and could be considered useful. Think of it as a usage tax applied to both ends of the transaction. See this for an idea of how this would affect all parties: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120322/04315618197/is-comcast-threat-to-internet.shtml

      Regarding governmental influence on the ITU for regulation of the Internet, this topic is not a enlightened one either. The examples are many and depressing. Keep in mind that the Internet can represent many voices. Each voice is valued by it’s own group and beliefs. While you and I may not agree with any single voice or group of voices, it is that ability to hear multiple facets of any topic that makes the Internet the best bastion of true, unfiltered speech. Sadly, nearly every prominent member of the UN has seriously considered some form of censorship.

      Russia:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121113/09574521034/russia-blacklists-cultural-wiki-without-explanation-site-just-moves-to-circumvent-block.shtml

      UK:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121010/03520020672/uk-continues-to-criminalize-bad-taste-stupidity-online-postings.shtml

      Iran:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121008/02233020633/irans-latest-aggressive-censorship-plan-block-all-audio-video-files.shtml

      China:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110812/10553415491/china-gleefully-uses-uk-desire-censorship-to-validate-its-own-censorship.shtml

      US:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111208/08225217010/breaking-news-feds-falsely-censor-popular-blog-over-year-deny-all-due-process-hide-all-details.shtml

      France:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110210/10042213039/france-latest-country-to-approve-internet-censorship.shtml

      Brazil:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120925/12085520509/brazilian-judge-overreacts-orders-arrest-head-googles-operations-brazil-over-refusal-to-censor-youtube-video.shtml

      And so on. Clearly the governments of the world are not interested in protecting the citizens rights to free speech. I do want to point out that many ideas regarding the right to Free Speech came from France. For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Council_of_France
      I hope you can see fit to encourage your country to get back to these core principals, that in the past have lead to worldwide freedoms.

      Your comments about the general technological stagnation that Google would encourage are well rebutted by Vint Cerf · November 29, 2012 – 2:11 pm. Simply put, your comments about RFC’s and technological status are reminiscent of decades ago.

      I think it is fair to say, that while much of what is said, done and available on the Internet can be considered distasteful at best, none the less, the Internet in it’s current form and application best represent the multitude of voices trying to be heard. I ask that just because something is seen as distasteful by you are I, doesn’t mean that we get the last say on that subject. And neither should any Government or corporate entity.

      I have tried to clarify why the major players that have a stake in what the ITU does or does not do cannot be trusted. Due to the nature of Governments and commercial entities, adding regulation and censorship is the natural result of their participation. Given the vastly differing motivations each entity has, often in conflict with each other (For example the US in contrast to Iran.), it is not difficult to see how and why they would want to stifle certain voices from ever being heard on the Internet. That would be clearly regrettable.

      What would I like to see? I would like to see the UN/ITU pursue adding voices to the Internet. ensuring that impoverished people can contribute to what is said and opinions given. Keep in mind that this would be a difficult position to maintain, as many organizations will foreseeably fight this. This is where strong leadership with clear intent would be critically valuable in ensuring the freedom of speech, in all of is distasteful forms, is protected and heard.

      Finally, on a personal point, obviously I have deep feelings on this topic. I want to participate in the discussion. However, I feel cut off from this due to the location of the conference, the format (Closed door.) and the requested attendees. Simply put, you and I are not invited. And many decisions will be made in Dubai. My feelings are best covered here:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121127/18051121165/dear-itu-complex-process-where-delegates-who-fly-to-dubai-can-lobby-is-not-transparency.shtml

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. While I obviously disagree with you on many points, it is over the very medium we are talking about, that we can discuss the issue freely and voice opposing opinions.

      Cheers

  23. Lubino385 · · Reply

    Corporations & Governments in cooperation = Fascism

  24. Gaithier must not be tracking the large number of RFCs with new protocols, the addition of internationalized domain names, the introduction of IPv6, the introduction of DNSSEC and plans for RPKI, the addition of new gTLDs, — a great deal has been happening in the protocol space since the Internet was launched on January 1, 1983. It is simply wrong to imagine that all of the progress has been innovation in underlying carriage. By the same token, I would be the first to celebrate the introduction of broader bandwidths in the core and edge; the introduction of mobile access to the Internet with the hundreds of thousands of apps that have been developed. The US industry is supporting multi-stakeholder enhance cooperation. What do you think ICANN, RIRs, IGF, Internet Society and W3C are all about? Google has been a major sponsor of multi-stakeholder processes and will continue to be in the future. The absence of direct, non-governmental actors in the ITU processes is a glaring deficiency. Google has fought strongly for neutrality principles. Mr. Gauthier is simply and completely wrong in his characterizations. He is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.

    1. @Dear Vint Cerf,
      Good to see you here. I’m impressed with all the energy you deploy all over the places to fight the ITU, and any possible coming change of the ITRs. Your answer to Michel Gauthier (not Giathier) is a poor one. Please play the ball, don’t go ad hominem. I’m afraid your ‘listing’ impressed nobody. A listing doesn’t make an argument. Are these the evidences to say that today’s Internet governance is just fine as it is? Technical achievements? And why being so blunt to someone just because he doesn’t share your views. What are your evidences of any imminent governmental and UN danger?
      You perfectly know that your so-called multi-stakeholder cooperation is a pure fairytale. You, the first chairman of ICANN, are more than anyone aware of that.
      Some memory issue?
      Do you remember what happened to Jon Postel in 1998 (full story here : http://theglobaljournal.net/article/view/904/http://theglobaljournal.net/article/view/904/).
      Don’t you remember how he tried to keep the control of Internet into the hands of independent Academics, true to the original spirit of the Internet? Why was he so concerned with the take-over by the US government of the Internet backbone? Were you helping him? Or, to the contrary, helping the US government? Are you this Vinton Cerf? So you must remember how you helped Ira Magaziner, the special envoy of the White House at the time, to do the dirty job and convey the control of the first IANA and the root server system to ICANN and, as I just wrote, gave to yourself the first chair of ICANN, an ex nihilo and ad hoc non profit under contract with the Internet Community. Oh, no sorry, with the US government. Of what kind of multi-stakeholderism are you talking about? There are words to describe what is going on : collusion, conflicts of interests, corruption… We would love you to be the good guy! Defending Internet Freedom against governments! Also the White Knight of Net Neutrality! The Grand-Daddy of all Netizens! Are you some kind of ‘Occupier” of the Internet world, ready to launch a global referendum to learn what to do next in IT technology? Are you talking with Shimri Zamaret who wants to see Global Congress discussing global politics? Shimri is a young promising global politician, you should meet him. Let us know what is the fair, democratic, decentralized, one-voice-one-vote kind of venue you’re talking about? What kind of legitimacy has it got? What kind of Democrat are you? In all your speeches, your first enemy is Governments. Except one.
      Let’s refresh your memory a little bit more.
      You’ve just declared during the last NANOG meeting: “Not only the telephone industry should have died a long time ago, but the ITU should have died along”. A fairly direct view in a meeting organized by the North American Network Operators Group. Interestingly, NANOG is another independent group part of your multi-stakeholderism. It is chaired by Sylvie Lapierre, herself an employee at Google. I believe anyone will enjoy to read your full NANOG introductory remarks on our website next week. You’re a good salesman, selling fear to protect the interest of your multi-billion revenue. How many this year, 43, 44, more? Could it be that your multi-stakeholderism would only be there to protect your dominant position over the Internet, that the only government you can deal with is the US government? What was this medal you accepted from former president George Bush Jr.? I cannot imagine John Postel going after such vanities. What would this true founding father of the Internet would think and say today?
      At the end of the day, all the big US IT corporations must be happy with you. The idea of defending an Internet-run-by-nobody fairytale, reminds me of the Punk history, with Malcolm McLaren, its inventor, honest enough to speak of the Punk movement as the greatest rock ’n’ roll swindle.
      Shall all Internet end-users travel to Dubai? We’re many citizens who would love to participate more directly. We can’t. But we have representatives, and our vote to change them democratically if necessary, in particular when they let themselves being subordinated by interest groups.
      When you were invited at this last May 31 US Congress hearing concerning the Internet, were you forced to attend? Who was seated right by your side? Yes, it was someone from the Internet Society, supposedly representing the netizens, right. This charming and smart women has a résumé with a 9-year senior position record at the US State Department as the principal policy advisor on Internet governance to US Ambassador for Communications and Information Policy, later on organizing US negotiations for UN Treaty conference, now keeping up with the job to defend US interest in the Internet Society, or the Internet Community Interest against the US government an all other governments? You don’t remember her name? She was also one of the NANOG panelists with you and Bill Graham, a former Canadian Government official, now a senior staff at the Internet Society. All anti-ITUers. Who’s that other former State Department official during the May hearing, speaking as chair on behalf of the World Conference on International Telecommunications Ad Hoc Working Group, a lobbying firm representing AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Google, Intel, Microsoft, News Corporation, Oracle, Telefonica, Time Warner Cable, Verisign, and Verizon? (Certainly not a philanthropic ‘multi-stakeholderistic’ mandate). He was for many years representing the US government before the ITU and to International Telecommunications meetings, conferences and summits ( 2001–2009). Don’t you see who is Ambassador Gross? I’m just kidding, you’re good friends. Naturally, the three of you signed the ‘Truth in Testimony’ form, testifying on behalf of an entity that is not a government entity!
      Who selected such a perfect balanced panel to inform the US Congress in order to obtain a bipartisan resolution against ITU? Certainly someone with a multi-stakeholder mind-set. Someone concerned with bringing an honest view to the US Congress regarding the upcoming WCIT. You did well. Congrats for the bipartisan resolution vote. A remarkable achievement for someone who hates governments!
      I could, and will keep refreshing your memories, so to understand what’s behind the veil! Should we talk about the Stanford Technology Law Review and the article published by this serious academic review, and signed by a Google employee? Surprising to me from such a distinguished publication. Shall we talk about all the people the author thanks for their gentle support in writing his anti-ITU prose? You? That’s correct. Anyone else of your acquaintance? I would bet that you know pretty well at least three others. For example, this other gentleman, a senior network engineer at Google, active in the IETF, participating in the DNS-OARC, on the board of RISG, and serving on ICANN’s SSAC. Mélange des genres, collusion?
      Did you ever met this professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, Geoffrey Mane? He wrote a “Google Antitrust Case is Built On a Shaky Foundation” article in Forbes few days ago. A friend of yours, I suppose. He did more than condemning the investigation, he attacked the lawyer hired to coordinate the antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission heading toward an “unwarranted” power grab by Google. The argument was rather simple : she’s a litigator not an antitrust lawyer, therefore not good for the job. Mane acknowledged at the conclusion of his article that Google was funding some of the studies he conducts, alas, not saying how much money he was accounting for. Mélange des genres, collusion?
      All this just gives a tiny idea of the magnitude of Google’s power. And the way it is using it.
      Dear Vint Cerf, does this define your vision of a true multi-stakeholder approach? Or something else?
      Will you say that all of this has nothing to do with the WCIT? Well, based on our investigation, it seems to us that this is exactly the issue: today the US control the Internet, its business, its revenues and want everyone to sing a song about Internet Freedom and fear of (other) governments, or any behind the doors process. I would say that this last argument fits pretty well to Google. Do you believe that all member states from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East are evils dreaming of controlling the Internet? Do you see the UN killing the Internet – by the way, the UN was founded by a US President.
      Multi-stakeholderism is a beautiful project if sincere, if not a synonym for collusion. Does it need a “major sponsor” as you write to secure its own interests? Democracy is a pretty valuable asset, and Democracies are still based on elected representatives. Even if you do not like it.
      Let them do their job, come to consensus, and bring fair principles for all to play the Internet open game. Or let us know that you don’t trust Democracy.
      (Maybe you should answer some of my questions. Right here, in front of everyone. And play the ball if possible. Please avoid listings.)

      Jean-Christophe NOTHIAS
      
Editor, The Global Journal
      http://www.theglobaljournal.net

      1. PS. Just to be clear : I support Shimri Zamaret views, concerning the necessity to build a Global Democracy and address global issues and challenges.

  25. By the way, from a developing country perspective some of us would welcome the ITU controlling allocation of IP Addresses just like the ITU governs allocation of spectrum to the different regions of the world and the .164 number etc. Why should the IP Addresses be controlled by the US? Issues of Internet Governance are rather complex and if anybody thinks Governments have no business in this matter, tough luck!! The ITU is the only forum through which member states have an opportunity to influence internet governance.

    1. Freddy, where are you referring to? – Africa for example has its own RIR (AfriNIC), operator groups etc that are run by the local community. The US does not manage policies outside of its remit. It is lack of understanding for the basic multi-stakeholder community led institutions that you have that seems to provide the ITU with the legitimacy here. The Internet is extremely successful and there are many many groups governing it – apparently a lot of people are yet to know about this.

      The ITU has been on the sidelines throughout the Internet’s history – it has no experience in this and the world of telecoms it regulates is now archaic. We should work within the existing frameworks unless anyone can clearly say what the issues are with that. Moving control to governments and international bodies is helping no one, other than the people who’s jobs gain from it in the ITU..

  26. Just because the room is large and the people in the room represent a lot of governments doesn’t mean it isn’t a closed-door meeting. Yes, some governments are including non-government industry experts in their delegations, however, those delegates do not have equal footing to speak their minds and cannot speak in opposition to the position of the government that invited them.

    The WCIT is, most definitely a meeting of governments or representatives of governments behind closed doors.

    If you want an example of the kind of open meeting that Google is advocating, come to an RIR policy meeting some time. They are open to anyone and everyone attending (locally or remotely) has an equal voice.

  27. Louis Pouzin · · Reply

    Google is now champion for arrogance and disinformation. They believe they reached a State statute whereby they can dictate other States what they have to do. Actually this not so different from the US gov attitude.

    Google’s dominance of the advertising market is in no way a guarantee of quality and neutrality. They just leverage their dominance for promoting their own business. And they conflate their particular interests with grand ideologies as free information for all.

    Let’s assume that drugs are free for all. Then the web would be swamped with ads for drugs, seminars praising the benefits of using drugs, training sessions for acquiring drug consumption art, testimonies from drug users telling how it changed their life for the good, mass campaign vilifying institutions or governments advocating drug control, and so on. Just because the drug maffia has enough resources for controlling a free market. And the saying is “the market is right”.

    As expected, the simple association of information and drug will immediately raise fury. It’s just taboo. Like associating Google interests with information freedom.

    There was a time when the US gov would resist and break excessive and abusive dominance in certain market segments, like oil, bank, telecom. Now it’s the opposite. Excessive market dominance is good for US world dominance, as long as the dominant firms are based in the US. Then where are checks and balances mechanisms ?

    Let’s not be fooled by Google stylish propaganda. The real issues in WCIT 2012 have nothing to do with internet censorship, and Google knows it too well. The issues are finding a more equitable balance between stakeholders interests and profits.

    Most dangerous threats to information freedom are proposed US laws (e.g. SOPA, PIPA, CISPA) and secretly negotiated treaties by multi-national lobbies (TPP, CETA, CleanIT). More are coming, still secret, basically a rehash of those that failed (like ACTA), hiding under Google smoke screen, .. watch out.

    Louis Pouzin

    1. Steve W. · · Reply

      Louis – Google is a small part of the global internet but they are well organized and are willing to be public about their position on these matters and raise awareness. But Google is not leading this, there are many people who have been involved for years in operating the Internet who are the people associated with IETF, Network Operator Groups, Regional Internet Registries, etc

      Also, Vint Cerf who is the front person on this at Google is one of the people who invented our Internet and for his entire career has been involved in good stewardship of the Internet. I believe he certainly would not put his name to anything that was not continuing his work in this tradition.

      Unfortunately, there are now various groups lobbying towards the ITU position who are well organized and are well funded. But these are not groups who have been involved in building the Internet during the last 20 years – arguably one of the greatest technological achievements the world has seen. All of the names and faces coming out against the ITU are those who have made what you have today.

      Compare this to countries now in favour of the ITU who have held back development of the Internet in their country through aggressive regulation, censorship etc. This is now the opportunity for them to impose their ideas onto the world.

      Remember this isn’t looking at whether we take option 1 or option 2, this is questioning whether the current systems that have created what you see today are not working and need to move to a government regulated alternative – like the telephone network. Its a question of continuing with the success story we have now or changing that.

      Telephony accounts for a tiny percentage of traffic exchanged worldwide, the ITU standard systems it was built on – T1s, E1s, DS3s, SDH, SONET are disappearing in favour of modern IP networks and non-ITU developed protocols such as SIP. It is difficult to see how the ITU with its telephony-era mindset is emerging as our future here.

      Louis, Jean-Christophe – ignore Google if you wish, thats perfectly fine. But look who else is taking the same stance and see how they compare to the pro-ITU side of governments and dinosaur telcos.

  28. Steve W. · · Reply

    An open letter signed by 49 members from 37 Internet Exchange Points across 24 European countries opposing this. Most European IXs are membership led, meaning that these 37 IXPs in turn represent thousands of ISPs and content networks in Europe and beyond.

    https://www.euro-ix.net/documents/1050-Euro-IX-WCIT-%20OpenLetterCEPT-pdf?download=yes

  29. Shall we see more of the ISOC “Internet Hall of Fame Pioneers”, such as Louis Pouzin speaking truth to Internet power, as he just did now? Richard Kahn maybe. Kahn could tell exactly what Vint Cerf did for him, and for the Internet years ago. And why not calling Vint Cerf himself at the bar so to confirm that Google is a small part of the Global Internet. They’re a few ‘Steve Anonymous’ who deserve an update on both topics. Such a small company does 70 percent of the overall data traffic, 60 to 70% (more?) of the global advertising digital revenue.

    Pouzin is certainly not an ignorant of the Internet. He is pointing to the real issues. Thanks to him for having the courage to speak clear and load.

    Regarding censorship, no sincere Democrat should vote at WCIT for any proposal to enforce more of it or to justify what is already existing – please everyone put pressure on your government if they support rogue proposal to the WCIT! That would be very a useful and truly democratic way, unless you’ve got a better way to pressure them.

    We certainly do not want to see an omnipotent US “Mister-Clean” alliance giving lessons to every one when we only see abuse of power, collusion, conflict of interests on their end… The Internet Governance is worth the discussion which is now taking place in Dubai. Everyone should be concerned with what is going ‘inside’ the Internet, not just at the end-user edge. For Google, the solution to any broadband investment even in developing countries is simple: end-users. But what do Google pay for using the free interconnected networks (the Internet) and to push all of its content for making digital advertising revenue? I bet that would about as much as they pay royalties to writers, photographers, authors of Internet content!

    Someone wrote in this blog that he paid nothing to Google : he should wonder if the disruption of Democracy is not a high price to pay for having a giant controlling what can or cannot be found by the largest search engine on earth. Google plays search and the Internet by his own book. Like the US. Not by the citizen voice. Plus, who could tell us how many employees, former employees or future employees of Google are now at ICANN, IETF, ISOC… Any serious ‘research’ on that?

    One should also wonder about today’s announcement by Eric Holder, the US Attorney general and the Swedish European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malström: they launch a global alliance including the US, the EU and 20 other states to fight Internet pedo-pornography. A timely and appropriate announcement. We should remember that ITU, sorry about that, has been pushing this issue on the international agenda for years, with a reluctant US government to move on that. We should also notice that, according to Interpol, many of the servers used by such criminals are US based. Why haven’t the US, on their own territory, use their powerful legal power to stop these criminals? Life is full of paradoxes, don’t you think.

    Jean-Christophe Nothias
    Editor, The GLOBAL JOURNAL

    1. apodjunkie · · Reply

      So your entire argument is “For the children”?
      And the cast of characters you listed, Eric Holder and others are not exactly known for being truthful individuals.
      The Internet does not need regulation. The Internet is under assault by governments and organizations that want to blacklist voices or opposiotion or find a way to charge for further access. The whole argument for pricing on Quality Services is just a fancy way to get another payment out of a transaction that is already paid for.

      Your support for regulating the Internet is sobering and tends to discredit your concern for the average person getting further access.
      The rallying cry of “for the children” is simply a whitewash to finding ways to silence voices in opposition to governments and applying a meter to each byte transferred. Are you in favor of censorship? With the new regulation efforts underway, do you think the Arab Spring would have happened? I doubt it.

      Iran is implementing biometric identification for any computer access, Russia is implementing website blacklist or apparently arbitrary reasons, France is trying to find an effective way to ensure the Entertainment industry is scaring/exhorting money from its citizens, and so on. Do you really think given the sad laundry list of ongoing efforts to control some aspect of the Internet, worldwide, that any organization can be trusted to not eventually enforce censorship?

      Rather than use the “for the children” rallying cry, detail specific examples of what wrongs you want fixed. List exactly what goals you want to achieve that will benefit the average person, rather than the average industry or government that you seem to favor.

      The ITU is failing the world’s population by siding with industry and governmental agencies.

  30. apodjunkie · · Reply

    And the ITU continues to meet all dismal expectations of colluding with the telcos.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121201/02022121196/why-itus-plans-to-divert-money-to-lazy-telcos-will-slow-internet-buildout-not-increase-it.shtml#comments

    Sadly, the ITU continues to meet all expectations of giving everything to corporations and governments. So far, the ITU has not surprised anyone with protections or benefits for the average person.

  31. WhoCares · · Reply

    This issue is not about Google just because Google chooses to be very actively involved. The ITU is not transparent in the true sense of the word.. that is a fact. It is a psuedo transparency that is controlled by membership and other such shenanigans. It is certainly an organizational problem that has perhaps no other easy answer than what ITU has come up with for some of the problems it has tackled… But the ITU model was born long before we have had some innovation in communication models in the world. So I certainly feel (and seems that many others do too) that the ITU process is not transparent by current standards. It is just funny that they keep arguing that they are when there is a clear model and definition that the newer generations understand and accept. So as a first step we need to agree that there is that big difference.

  32. WhoCares · · Reply

    To further support my point.. posts here are moderated.. now I wonder what was the point of following the debate here because I have no confidence that what show up is actually a true representation of public opinion. Of course this post itself might not make it through the moderator.

    1. The policy of the ITU4u blog is to post all comments and opinions. Unless they are of an abusive nature.

  33. ITU issued a blog post criticizing Google for erroneously saying WCIT will be a forum for increased censorship.

    http://blogs.elis.org/isa/ietf-vs-itu-internet-standards-face-off/

  34. Mr Conneally says:

    “closed-door is a misnomar. Everyone is welcome. Delegations are composed by Member States and can include whomever they wish (members or not of the ITU) including private sector and civil society. There are no limits on numbers and it is up to Member States to ensure that their national delegations are representative. They have access to all documents and indeed Member States and ITU members can share all documents with whomever requests them.”

    It’s what is a closed-door meeting. Or I might have misunderstood the explanation.

    An open process would include:

    * Full minutes of meetings published on a Web site in the public with maintained URIs for life.
    * Discussions on publicly opened Web archived mailing-lists.
    * Call for comments from the public on documents
    * Public answers to each of the comments in the open.
    * In case of technology making, a Royalty Free policy for each technology document.

    Which is something very close on how W3C and IETF are operating.

    Then yes we can start to talk about non-closed door meetings.

  35. I think I can see both sides, but it’s troubling to see you are involved with things like QoS and Deep Packet Inspection. Is that correct? I don’t see it being possible for the internet to be understanding about those types of technologies which are the very definition of intrusive.

  36. I like looking through a post that can make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  37. Why didn’t Google join the ITU as a member? What though was going on? There is a lots of talk regarding SOPA and all that. Is it really possible for any government body to shutoff the Internet?

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