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Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


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    Diplomatic Arm-Wrestling Over Scope Of International Telecommunication Regulations Treaty

    Published on 30 April 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    As the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) treaty comes under review, some observers are warning that it could change the rules of the game in internet governance. Others are trying to give reassurance that the new ITRs aim at enabling better access to telecommunications everywhere.

    UN International Telecommunication Union Secretary General Hamadoun Touré said during the penultimate preparatory meeting in Geneva last week that internet governance was a topic not for the treaty negotiations, but rather for the 2013 World Telecom Policy Forum. Still there are proposals from several member states that try to extend the original regulation to the internet realm.

    The ITRs are the “only global treaty addressing international telecommunications,” according to Malcolm Johnson, director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. Of the ITU’s 193 members, 178 are bound to its general principles on phone interconnection. But as the treaty was adopted in 1988 many of its provisions are outdated due to privatization of the sector, globalisation, and the triumph of the internet nearly worldwide.

    Fluid Scope

    The text was “overdue for revision,” Johnson said in an official interview, and after years of discussion among ITU members, a date has been set for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), for December this year. The new ITRs are expected to address some of the pressing concerns of the industry and allow especially “low-cost access to the internet” everywhere, he said.

    Phil Rusthon, numbering and standards strategist at British Telecom, told participants at a recent meeting of the IP address managers for Europe and the Middle East that the outcome of the WCIT conference is highly uncertain and the scope of the new ITR “fairly fluid.”

    Among the hotly debated high-level issues was that if ITU recommendations become mandatory instead of voluntary. This could shift ITU standards into quasi-legal norms and give them privileges over standards from other standardization bodies. Yet the 47-member European regional group, represented by the Conférence Européenne des Administrations des Postes et des Télécommunications (CEPT, one of six regional groups at ITU), warned the ITR could “not be used to change the non-binding nature of ITU recommendations.” [corrected]

    Other issues of contention are additional provisions on security, from anti-spam provisions to the obligation to provide a calling line identification (CLI), potentially also for internet telephony, to allow tracking misuse. “If I cannot provide the full international CLI,” Rushton explained rules in classical telecommunications, “I have to provide country of origin. Can this be done on an IP network? Can it be done using the session initiation protocol [SIP, a protocol enabling internet telephony]?” he asked.

    Clash of Systems, Economy-Wise

    Internet telephony using SIP protocol is seen by some ITU member states as siphoning off revenues from classic telephony providers, as a statement by Iran’s ITU representative made clear. He had paid only a few cents for a call home which would normally cost 10 Swiss francs, he said. “My country and Switzerland lost money,” he said.

    African countries want to see cost-based transit, termination, and roaming rates, transparency, and an effort from member states to act against asymmetries of charging. The US favours a completely hands-off approach, and Europe is trying to get compromise on administrations pushing for economic efficiency, competition and price transparency for customers.

    Compromise about the paragraph on charging for international telecommunication services given the diametrically opposed proposals, on one hand leave charging to the market (as proposed by the US and also CEPT) versus having regulators involved in the pricing on the other hand (as proposed by the Arab states, but also Russia) are still on the to-do list for the last prep meeting in June.

    From the point of view of the IP address managers, what is even more scary are considerations with regard to state intervention on routing. “There is a proposal that member states should have the right to dictate what routes are used into their national sovereign area,” said Rushton.

    Variations on how deep states could get into the routing decisions range from a general right to know how traffic is arriving or leaving the country to the possibility of imposing routing regulations, when it comes to security or countering fraud measures.

    Clash of Systems: Politics

    Member states at the meeting in Geneva have considered putting all security-related provisions in a special, new paragraph of the ITR, but after three days of discussion last week this is another of the highly sensitive parts to be left over for yet another three day meeting.

    Organisations like the Internet Society highlighted the broad range of topics which are dispersed over the hundred or so contributions to the WCIT process that states think the ITR should address, including content-related issues like online child protection, the hot issue of data protection or CEPT-supported promotion of anti-spam legislation. The Internet Society analysis is here [pdf].

    The Russian proposal for a new Article 9 includes protection of the confidentiality of communication, but also clear “processing and protection” of subscriber information.

    From the standpoint of the various internet self-governance bodies, especially the IP address registries that follow the WCIT process closely, resurrected proposals with regard to changes in IP address management – not yet clearly written down by the proponents, but given placeholder numbers in the stack of preparatory documents – also are of some concern. Were the new security related paragraphs accepted, the Internet Society wrote in an analysis of proposals, member states would be required “to take on a very active role in patrolling and enforcing newly defined standards of behaviour on telecommunication and internet networks and services.”

    More state intervention on the internet is what a phalanx of US officials prominently came to speak against, with White House Deputy CTO Danny Weitzner joining the club of critics at the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s Washington caucus. Weitzer, according to a Washington Internet Daily report, said the US was going to make sure that UN organisations such as the ITU don’t step too far into the internet environment. Organisations like the Internet Engineering Task Force, the World Wide Web Consortium (for which Weitzner acted as head of technology and society activities) and ICANN are up to the task of continuing to grow the internet environment, he said.

    Many Western – and some Asian – countries are clearly pushing for a “lean” follow-up ITR treaty. And with many of the major issues not solved – nor even touched – during the penultimate prep meeting, a thick pile of papers can be expected to go to the Dubai treaty conference in December.

    Government officials, when asked if there is a possibility of failure, point to earlier ITU conferences, for example, the last edition of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, and their last-minute, late-night compromises.

    To the internet community, which looks somewhat bewildered by the ITU processes, Rushton gave a clear warning not to wait until the last minute: “Unless you engage in the debate going forward as an individual, through your government or through RIPE NCC [Network Coordination Center], then the potential is that you will be left with the results that maybe you don’t want – if you are a pessimist.”

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Diplomatic Arm-Wrestling Over Scope Of International Telecommunication Regulations Treaty | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] Diplomatic Arm-Wrestling Over Scope Of International Telecommunication Regulations Treaty | Intellec…. << UN Moves on Internet Governance: Latest [...]

    2. Monika cobus | Greatstatescho says:

      [...] Diplomatic Arm-Wrestling Over Scope Of International … Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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