Light Reading

Is Internet Freedom in Danger?

Ray Le Maistre

The ITU on the Record
We spoke with the ITU about the proposals and the potential for any sort of impact on the Internet.

First we asked about the proposals, which can't be accessed by Joe Public. ITU spokesman Toby Johnson points out that it is the decision of the ITU's member states to have those documents password-protected and that Dr. Touré has encouraged members to make the proposal documents open access. The ITU has to abide by the decisions of its members, says Johnson, so it can't take a unilateral decision to make them public. The ITU does not make proposals and it can't enforce any decisions taken by members -- it is a facilitator, acting as a coordinator on behalf of its members.

But for anyone that wants to read the Russian proposal, it's right here on, along with a few others in this list.

On the issue of "light-touch" regulation, Johnson notes that the International Telecommunications Regulations, while being "legal instruments," are recommendations that can then be implemented by member states within their own jurisdictions. They are not applicable on a regional or global basis.

The "consensus" issue is still a grey area, though: Johnson says he will have to delve deeper to find the ITU's specification on what "consensus" means in terms of WCIT discussions.

So will the WCIT-12 conference usher in a new era of Internet regulation and suppression? Not on a global basis. Any International Telecommunications Regulations that are agreed by member states cannot override certain ITU principles regarding freedom of speech and anything that is agreed by any "consensus" during the Dubai conference can only be imposed by individual governments within their own jurisdictions -- and there are already plenty of cases where this is happening, to the detriment of the open Internet access and usage (for example, China and Iran).

But that's not to say that what happens in Dubai is not relevant to the Internet community. Each member state will represent their citizens' rights in the way they see fit and that means there will be many differing views and approaches. Any resulting amendments to existing International Telecommunications Regulations and any new statutes will need to be examined closely because they could affect laws in the country where you live.

The major concern is that ETNO's proposals, which weren't adopted by any European member states but were taken up by some Middle Eastern and African members, might influence some International Telecommunications Regulations, heralding the potential for charges to be levied at Internet traffic exchanges.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
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...

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
From The Founder
Light Reading's conference in November will attempt to answer all of the big questions around white box networks. No pressure...
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE in Budapest ITU 2015

10|13|15   |   03:26   |   (0) comments

ZTE Chief Architect David Huo discusses the company's progress on the 5G front.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Close-up on ConfD

10|12|15   |   10.21   |   (0) comments

Tail-f's Renée Robinson-Stromberg tells Steve Saunders about the powerful ConfD management interface.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Women in Comms: Highlights From Dallas

10|12|15   |   2:23   |   (1) comment

The best soundbites, quotes and words of wisdom from leading women from Intel, AT&T, Verizon and Genband at our recent WiC breakfast in Dallas.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
NetNumber Founder on Managing Signaling Control

10|12|15   |   6:36   |   (0) comments

NetNumber Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Doug Ranalli describes the essential complexity of real-world signaling-control and how NetNumber enables carriers to bring signaling-control "under-control". Learn why virtualization alone isn't the answer.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon Gets Proactive on App Performance

10|12|15   |   04:50   |   (0) comments

SDN is turning traditional service models around to allow Verizon to measure and deliver performance at the application layer. As Shawn Hakl, VP of enterprise networking and managed solutions for Verizon, explains, the carrier had to develop new skill sets and change some of its internal operations, but the payoff was happier enterprise customers.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Tail-f, Cisco & What the Future Holds

10|9|15   |   8:17   |   (0) comments

Steve Saunders meets with Tail-f's Director of Technology, Carl Moberg, in Stockholm to discuss becoming part of Cisco, ETSI MANO, virtualization and the need to combine science and business in order to create opportunities for service providers.
LRTV Interviews
Broadband Forum Embraces SDN & NFV

10|9|15   |   02:42   |   (1) comment

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Robin Mersh and Kevin Foster from the Broadband Forum explain how the industry body is adapting to meet the SDN, NFV and cloud needs of the access network sector.
LRTV Interviews
Top Tips for FTTH Operators

10|8|15   |   02:26   |   (0) comments

At Gigabit Europe 2015, Ventura Team co-founder Richard Jones talks about some of the key business case considerations for FTTH network operators.
LRTV Interviews
M-net Calls for FTTx Unity

10|8|15   |   03:45   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe event, Jörn Schoof from M-net, the Munich city network operator, calls for industry collaboration on fiber broadband access rollouts.
LRTV Documentaries
The Business Case Challenge for NFV

10|7|15   |   03:47   |   (0) comments

Virtual CPE is one of the early success stories for network functions virtualization, as service providers are finding flexible, programmable CPE solves a lot of logistics problems and reduces their cost. But even here, Masergy Communications faced a business case challenge, says CTO Tim Naramore.
LRTV Interviews
JT Offers Some Gigabit Lessons

10|7|15   |   4:08   |   (1) comment

Barna Kutvolgyi, managing director, Global Consumer, at JT, the incumbent operator on the island of Jersey, talks about how other service providers can learn from his company's gigabit broadband rollout experiences.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Chiosi on the Potential of Open Source

10|6|15   |   06:27   |   (0) comments

AT&T Distinguished Network Architect Margaret T. Chiosi talks to Light Reading's Carol Wilson about the potential for open source technology to liberate communications service providers.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Network appliances have a strong value proposition in today's networks and will continue to do so in the NFV and SDN-enabled networks of tomorrow.
Hot Topics
Dell Buys EMC for $67B in Biggest Tech Deal Ever
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/12/2015
M&A Speculation Swirls Around Juniper
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/6/2015
Cord Cutting? 'Fraid so.
Brett Sappington, 10/7/2015
Cisco Makes 'Martian' Connection
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/9/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
"What?! I'm on with Finisar about their stock price tanking" Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Think NFV is just about virtualization? Think again!

Network architects are learning that there's a lot more to the technology than first thought – more complexity, that is; but also, more potential benefits.

On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM, HP Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!