ITU’s Line Of Defence On WCIT

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By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

The International Telecommunication Union in a 17 September press briefing tried to dispel what it is describing as “myths and misinformation” about the upcoming World Conference on International Communication (WCIT, December 3-14 in Dubai). “Although there are many important issues before the conference, unfortunately they are not receiving the media attention they deserve due to a paranoia created by claims that ITU wants to take over the internet,” Standardization Bureau Director Malcolm Johnson said tonight.

IP addressing and internet naming were only touched in “older” contributions to the WCIT, ITU Counsellor Richard Hill said. Instead of “internet control,” core topics to be discussed for the future International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) are prevention of “bill shock” in mobile roaming (by more transparency or even price caps), misuse of the telephone numbering system and fraud in general as well as incentives for investment in the telecommunication network.

With regard to the latter, changes in how revenues would be shared between various operators – potentially also between infrastructure and over-the-top providers – were said to be on the table, even if a government take-up of the proposal by the European Telecommunication and Network Operators (ETNO) association had not been taken up in governments’ contributions so far. The same is true for internet-related issues like spam. Yet the spam and security aspects are not new topics for the ITU which in fact, Hill underlined, has been working on certain internet issues, including standards as well as issues listed in ITU resolutions 101, 102 and 133.

“We’re doing more than telephony,” Hill said. Another area of misinformation, according to ITU officials, is the suggestion “of increased censorship.” Member states already had secured themselves the right to block private telecommunication in Article 34 of the ITU constitution, which can be changed only by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. One contribution to the WCIT did ask for due process with regard to the blocking, and therefore the limitations to the human right to communication. Only nobody would write about it.

ITU WCIT page is here.
ITU constitution is here.
ITU internet activities page is here.

Hill’s presentations slides are available here.

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