[IRPCoalition] [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

Richard Hill rhill at hill-a.ch
Tue Oct 21 19:29:23 EEST 2014

Dear Anne, 

Thanks for this.  But the issue of IP interconnection rates is not a national issue, it is an international issue, see for example:




More generally, I don't see anything in your statement that calls for the ITU to have a meaningful role in addressing issues.  To the extent that your statement calls on the ITU to do anything, I read it as calling on the ITU to defer to industry (aka the multi-stakeholder model). Which is just the same as telling the ITU to stop doing anything.

If you are serious about respecting the diversity of points of view within civil society, then perhaps you would consider collaborating to prepare a synthetic paper that presents the differing points of view. That is, a paper of the form "some say X, others say Y".

Regarding possible common ground, I would suggest a starting point: surely we all believe that all human rights must be respected, and protected, and that they are indivisible.  Human rights include democracy and social justice, which cannot be trumped by any other human right.  So maybe we can build on that.


-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Jellema [mailto:anne at webfoundation.org]
Sent: mardi, 21. octobre 2014 17:58
To: rhill at hill-a.ch
Cc: parminder; bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; governance at lists.igcaucus.org; forum at justnetcoalition.org; IRP
Subject: Re: [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

Thank you, Parminder for the thoughtful criticisms. We're aware that different parts of civil society have well-founded reasons for holding different opinions on the role of the ITU, and we fully respect these. I was very pleased to see that JustNet has expressed its point of view in its own proposals for the Plenipot, which I found interesting and valuable. 

In that spirit, I would like to respond to a couple of your criticisms of our statement that I think don't reflect an entirely accurate reading of its content: 

- I think your claim that we are advocating unregulated free markets is unfair, since we state twice: "Each country should retain individual authority to regulate IP interconnection rates where necessary and advisable in order to ensure universal service and promote robust competition." The drafters include organisations that have been on the forefront of the fight for stronger net neutrality regulation at national and regional (EU) level.

- I don't agree that our statement fails to identify who should take responsibility for resolving key IG challenges; proposes the "withdrawal of all internet policy related agenda from the global governance stage"; or fails to acknowledge any important role for the ITU. We repeatedly stress the need for coordination and collaboration among UN agencies (including the ITU) and multistakeholder bodies; and refer several times to what we think are the ITU's critical roles in addressing the huge challenges ahead. 

That said, we agree that the reference to "ITU mission creep" was poorly judged, and the entire para should be deleted as proposed by Jeanette. 

I sincerely hope that a respectful and informed exchange of views can continue among CSOs, along with the equally important effort to find the common ground between differing positions.  


On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM, Richard Hill <rhill at hill-a.ch> wrote:

I fully agree with Parminder's analysis and strongly support his comments.

-----Original Message-----
From: Forum [mailto:forum-bounces at justnetcoalition.org]On Behalf Of parminder
Sent: mardi, 21. octobre 2014 12:47
To: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; governance at lists.igcaucus.org; forum at justnetcoalition.org; IRP
Subject: Re: [JNC - Forum] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

I have not had the chance to go into the long statement in detail. However, what I see as its main refrain is bothersome. It says yes there are many very important global Internet policy issues, and then says that the ITU should not take them up, but tells us nothing about who should take them up. This becomes a recipe for, or at least, towards a political governance free world, the kind one nowadays read about frequently in the documents of the World Economic Forum (read for instance its Global Redesign Initiative). 

I am agnostic about whether ITU takes up at least some important Internet policy issues at the global level or some other democratic global body takes them up. However, it is not tenable that they be just left hanging out there, which only allows those who have the greatest default power on the Internet, mostly the US based economic and political establishment, to carry on consolidating their power. This statement for me is simply an expression of support for the Internet power status quo, and therefore I strongly oppose it.

To take a few examples (a more detailed critique will follow);

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the statement, from developing countries viewpoint, is tha which sanctifies unregulated global market models for global Internet inter-connectivity.... This is a major reversal from the stand of all developing countries and all progressive civil society at the WSIS, where unfair global interconnection regimes was one of the main 'development issues'. This statement seems to close that issue by declaring that such things be best left to free markets, with no regulatory framework, or even a normative/ principles framework. In any case, it is not clear how even working on the interconnection issue, an express mandate for ITU from the WSIS is a 'mission creep' for the ITU. It appears that there is not one thing that ITU can do in 2014 which will not be called a mission creep. In the circumstances one thinks that the proponents of the statement should be bold and just ask for the closing down of the ITU. 

Further, the statement says that the ITU should not work towards a treaty on cyber- security, an issue that has shaken the world post Snowden.  Just today I read an interview with Snowden's colleague Laura Poitras about how  little has really changed on the ground as far as mass surveillance by the five eyes is concerned. What other than a treaty that reigns in the conduct of the states in this regard can be a solution? Or have we simply given up and are ready to allow the powerful to do what they may? Alternatively, is there any other solution being thought of? Civil society must answer these questions. 

The statement seems to suggest that the first committee of the UN Gen Assembly should keep doing the work on cyber security. That is quite surprising becuase by all means, the first committee’s work is much less participative (of other stakeholders) than even of the ITU. So, what is the rationale here, other than just to say ITU should not do it (we will see when we have to stop even the first committee from doing it, but right now the imperative is.... ). I am fine with the first committee doing it, but remember that any effort towards a cyber security treaty will require the expertise of ITU which is the agency that has hitherto dealt with this issue. Such an simply obstructionist attitude to global governance bespeaks of a movement towards a very unequal, unfair and unjust world. Progressive civil society must take note rather than blindly signing on this rather dangerous statement.  

The statement says, we should not begin working on a cyber security treaty because there is no consensus on basic concepts and principles in the area.... Is there a greater consensus on the area of climate change, and so many other areas. Do we just give up in these areas? if not, why in the area of Internet governance? Consensus on concepts and principles emerge as a part of a process towards development of global principles and agreements and not a as a pre condition of them. This is universally known. One can understand why US wants to protect the status quo, but why civil society? 

Again, this is simply a statement for maintaining the Internet power status quo... Dont do it at the ITU, but we wont tell you where to do either.... Supporting this statement in my view will simply be to support the global Internet status quo....

Yes, we need to reform the ITU, but seeking simple withdrawal of all Internet policy related agenda from global governance stage is very problematic. As this agenda is withdrawn from the global stage, the dominant political and economic forces get a free reign, and the little policy that needs to be made is made at plurilateral forums like the OECD, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP (see for instance, just the day before's news,  http://infojustice.org/archives/33428, on how TPP seeks to regulate global IP TV transmissions). 

Such statements as this one simply clear the way for such rule of the economically and politically powerful...


On Tuesday 21 October 2014 02:08 AM, Anne Jellema wrote:

Dear colleagues 

As you know, a fluid working group was formed after the IGF to try to come up with joint recommendations for the ITU Plenipot. We produced the open letter on transparency and participation in the Plenipot process itself, which many of you signed (thank you!). Our second and harder task was to develop positions on some of the most important substantive issues before the conference. The output of this second phase of our work is a 7 page lobby document that is now available for endorsement for the next 24 hours at:


The fluid working group struggled to obtain the conference proposals on which to base our analysis and recommendations, both because of the ITU's restrictions on document access and because many Member States submitted their proposals quite late in the day. As a result, our drafting process has taken us hard up against the start of the Plenipot itself. 

It is now very urgent to get this text in front of delegations, so we are opening it for endorsements rather than comment. If however someone has a red flag, "absolutely can't live with it" issue that prevents them from signing on, they should email me personally in the next 24 hours to propose an edit(s) to resolve this issue, and I will consult the other members of the ITU fluid working group on whether to accept this edit. 

Due to the lack of time for comment and consensus, we are not presenting these recommendations in the name of Best Bits or on behalf of civil society in general but only on behalf of the specific organisations endorsing. 

If you would like your organisation to be listed, please send your logo to Carolina Rossini (crossini at publicknowledge.org) by 22:30 CET (16:30 EST) tomorrow, 21 Oct.

Best wishes


Anne Jellema 
+27 061 36 9352 (ZA) 

+1 202 684 6885 (US)

World Wide Web Foundation | 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 500, Washington DC, 20005, USA | www.webfoundation.org | Twitter: @webfoundation 


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Anne Jellema 
+27 061 36 9352 (ZA) 

+1 202 684 6885 (US)

World Wide Web Foundation | 1110 Vermont Ave NW, Suite 500, Washington DC, 20005, USA | www.webfoundation.org | Twitter: @webfoundation 

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