Light Reading
The ITU is on the defensive over Internet control issues ahead of major Dubai conference

Is Internet Freedom in Danger?

Ray Le Maistre
11/27/2012
50%
50%

Tension in the global networking community is growing ahead of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12), which begins next week in Dubai, as claims about Internet governance conference proposals are published online.

The conference is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) , the United Nations body best known for its standards and spectrum frequency allocation work. The event, which runs from Dec. 3-14, has been organized to review the existing International Telecommunications Regulations (last negotiated in 1988!), consider revisions and debate proposals from the ITU's 193 member states.

The potential impact of some member state proposals, particularly those expected from Russia and some Middle Eastern and African states, are fueling the controversy. Those proposals have adopted the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) suggestions regarding a charging mechanism for Internet traffic and they call for national management of the public Internet and the regulated ability to individually identify all Internet users. (See this assessment of ETNO proposals by Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) for more details.)

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) decided that the conference could lead to Internet censorship and regulation and so started its free and open campaign, laying down its concerns in the What's at stake part of the campaign website and urging individuals to join its protest.

The ITU countered Google's campaign in a blog, THE GOOGLE CAMPAIGN – AN ITU VIEW, pointing out that the conference is not a "closed-door meeting," as Google claims, and that the process leading up to the conference has been open and transparent.

Google, as we all know, is a powerful company: Its campaign has spawned a multitude of blogs, articles, tweets and all manner of proclamations about the nature of Internet access.

Even the European Parliament got caught up in the furor, issuing a resolution noting its concern about the potential impact of some proposals on the "the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations and governance, as well as the free flow of information online." You can read the resolution by clicking on this hyperlink -- but you'll have to concentrate hard to get through the formal presentation of the Parliament's views.

The ITU wasn't too happy with the European Parliament: It published another blog, the title of which speaks for itself -- EU PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON WCIT FLAWED.

On Twitter and elsewhere, ITU representatives repeat over and over that the ITU is not a body that has any interest in governing the Internet and does not have the power to do so, throwing its hands up in the air in exasperation each time it counters a claim (OK, so that's just how I am visualizing it … but you know what I mean).

But the ITU isn't helping its own cause. It claims the process leading up the conference is entirely transparent, yet the proposals to be discussed in Dubai cannot be viewed by members of the public -- they are for the eyes of ITU members only. That membership, by the way, includes the part of Motorola that Google now owns, so the Web giant has had the opportunity to have a look at, for example, Russia's proposal.

In addition, the ITU's secretary-general, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, has told Reuters that "light-touch" regulation regarding cybersecurity could be agreed by ITU member states if there was a "consensus." Read the full Reuters article here.

It's that sort of comment that sets the alarm bells ringing for those worried about the Internet being controlled and regulated.

The ITU spoke with us on the issue. See Page 2 of this article for details.

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 2 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
digits
50%
50%
digits,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:02 PM
re: Is Internet Freedom in Danger?


This is a delicate situation and the ITU is required to behave in a certain way, so I do wonder if it is going to be dumped on whatever happens. 


The thing is, its track record and reputation as a very political, machiavellian organization (I'm thinking back to the 1990s and early 2000s) won't be helping...

jepovic
50%
50%
jepovic,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:16:51 PM
re: Is Internet Freedom in Danger?


The title suggests that there is some kind of universal freedom on the Internet, which is suddenly threatened by ITU. This is highly questionable.


Practically all countries use the net to spy on their citizens. Most countries also block web sites, not due to national security but relatively small crimes such as copyright issues.


At the same time, corporations are assembling massive amounts of personal information about us. This information is shared with authorities, and will most probably eventually leak out. When will Google have their first Bradley Manning?


The question here is: What is the biggest threat to internet freedom - ITU regulation changes, or Google?

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Amsterdam ArenA as an Agile Campus

11|24|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Amsterdam ArenA, home of the Ajax soccer team, can be a crowded space. ArenA has partnered with Huawei to work on bringing ample bandwidth to 53,000 people at the same time.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
Operators Should Block Ads to Get Their Cut, Startup Says
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/24/2014
$35B+ Spectrum Auction Dings Verizon, Shines Dish
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed