Is ITU Trying to Control/Manage the Internet as some pundits claim?
Disclaimer: This article was stimulated by IEEE member Pat McClung on the IEEE member discussion group maintained by ComSocSCV.
In an editorial “The Internet at Risk,” published in the March-April 2013 issue of Internet Computing, Google’s Vint Cerf states: “In some ways, the most pernicious proposals to limit the Internet’s openness to users and applications comes from some of the members of the [ITU] …”
Pat McClung: “Mr. Cerf goes on to describe the attempts of the ITU to put forward revised International Telecommunications Regulations treaty language (ITRs), that would have the effect of restricting or governing content or applications on the Internet.”
Here’s a Nov 27, 2012 Reuters post with add on commentary from Mr. Cerf:
“Google’s Vint Cerf, the ordinarily diplomatic co-author of the basic protocol for Internet data, denounced the
proposed new rules as hopeless efforts by some governments and state-controlled telecom authorities to assert their power.
figured out that they are dead yet, because the signal hasn’t traveled up their long necks,” Cerf told Reuters.”
On the right upper side of that web page I clicked on Chairman’s report http://www.itu.int/md/S13-WTPF13-C-0016/en
and extracted the following:
Dr Touré underlined the need to work together. ITU will continue its bridge-building role and can leverage its unique position as a neutral convenor, where Member States, Sector Members and other stakeholders can come together. The timing of this year’s WTPF, with its focus on International Internet-related public policy matters, was particularly appropriate – as we stand at a ‘tipping point’ between the Internet as a vital enabler of social and economic progress in the industrialized world, and the Internet as a valuable global resource and a basic commodity of human life everywhere. The WTPF can create a shared vision that can be transformed into effective action to bring connectivity to the two-thirds of the world’s people who are still offline. He reminded delegates that WTPF is a forum for free-thinking debate and discussion on new and emerging issues.
Significant progress on key issues of Internet Governance
It’s a tutorial leading up to the fifth ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum, which is an ongoing series of CONFERENCES and not a standards meeting. In particular:
“The run-up to the WTPF included three preparatory meetings of the Informal Experts Group – a cross-sectoral, multistakeholder group, comprising some 180 experts, which advised the Forum and supported the drafting of the Secretary-General’s Report which was the main input document to the conference.”
The ITU World Telecommunication Policy Forum is not a standards body, but rather a series of conferences and forums.
A key point is that ITU is serving as a “neutral convener” where various members and stakeholders can come together for dialog and discussion. ITU is not going to produce any rules or regulatory documents over how the Internet is to be controlled, governed, managed! So in no way is it trying to exert control or govern the Internet.