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

Richard Hill rhill at hill-a.ch
Wed Oct 22 09:51:45 EEST 2014

In addition to what Parminder says below, I'd like to add the following.

As I read the statement, it basically says that ITU should not be a forum to
engage in discussions on topics X, Y, and Z because there is no consensus
yet on those topics.  But how is consensus going to emerge if there are no
discussions?  And why shouldn't discussions take place in ITU? I don't see
any reason given that explains why ITU is not a suitable forum (as Parminder
points out, various alternative forums are not significantly more open than
ITU, and some are positively closed, such as TPP and TIPP).

Parminder refers to OECD. OECD has just published a frontal attack on
termination rates, which are one of the few ways that many developing
countries have to raise hard currency.  The OECD's arguments are both
economic and legal.  The legal arguments are based on both the International
Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) and the WTO committments.

The legal arguments based on the ITRs are plain wrong.  I trust that the
people who will read this message know my qualifications regarding
interpretation of the ITRs.  Which leads me to wonder about the validity of
the rest of the OECD paper (and I note that the OECD paper cites as
reference reports from the US Trade Representative, hardly a neutral

So the effective result of the civil society statement is to empower the
OECD and other north-dominated forums, to the detriment not just of the
global South, but also of consumers and citizens around the world.

Indeed, the statement does call on the ITU to do something: "to prioritize
the development of global standards in dynamic spectrum use, including
standards that will allow unused frequencies to be given over for unlicensed
shared access."

That is, to remove more spectrum from public management and hand it over to
the private sector.

Extrapolating from what Parminder says, the statement calls on states to
step back, don't do anything, and stop doing what they are already doing. It
is thus an apology of what is today referred to as "neo-liberalism", but
what is in fact just good old fashioned mercantilism.


-----Original Message-----
From: Forum [mailto:forum-bounces at justnetcoalition.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: mercredi, 22. octobre 2014 06:09
To: Anne Jellema
Cc: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; IRP; governance at lists.igcaucus.org;
forum at justnetcoalition.org
Subject: Re: [JNC - Forum] [IRPCoalition] [bestbits] Time-sensitive: 24 hour
sign on period for ITU Plenipot joint recommendations

On Tuesday 21 October 2014 09:28 PM, Anne Jellema wrote:

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

- 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.

No rational is offered why such work should be stopped at national and
regional level, when almost in all major sectors, climate change, health,
education, trade, IP and so on, we have global norms, principles and even
treaties... If anything, the Internet is perhaps simply more 'inherently'
global than these sectoral issues. Leaving it to national level simply
allows the US to enforce its norms and law on the global Internet, leaving
the developing countries on a take it or leave it position, and the regional
aspect allows plurilateral bodies of the rich OECD, EU, CoE and others
controlled by the rich, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, to add a bit of
their governance priorities to the global Internet, leaving the rest of the
world high and dry. In my understanding, it is this 'rest of the world'
whose interests we should be representing most. Therefore I really did not
get the rational of the above statement  - why also not do some global
governance of the Internet, in addition to the required national and
regional one (Do ask a Kenya or Philippines what leverage they really have
today on the global Internet to which they are subject relentlessly. What
basis exists for excepting developing countries to simply accept the status
quo -- even more unthinkable being that civil society, in effect, proposes
that they simply accept the status quo ) .

- 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.

Which are these mechanisms of coordination... And specifically, where would
discussions and resolutions on issues like net neutrality frameworks
(remember that the cross border aspect of NN was identified as a key global
IG issue by a Council of Europe expert group), generally regulatory
principles for IP based communication, or even basic discussions of the
nature of personal data in the emerging economy (resource versus right) ....
If you want to find a big series of Internet related issues that *have no
current home* at any globally democratic forum, simply pick up the agenda
over the last several years of the OECD's Committee on Information,
computers and  communication policy (CICCP) and you will be astonished by
the number of Internet specific policy issues. Where should they be
resolved. And an appropriate resolution of these issues underlie the very
basic paradigm of how the emerging Internet mediated society will be (1)
structured, and (2) governance.  You say "I don't agree that our statement
fails to identify who should take responsibility for resolving key IG
challenges". Please let me know who do you propose takes responsibility for
all the very impotant issues listed above - I mean, (2) at the global level,
(2) in a democratic way.

It is this long term structural impact of your proposal that is what I find
extremely dangerous.

BTW, as I mentioned above, so much of 'global' Internet issues get taken up
today by the OECD's CICCP.... You proposal call for making ITU CWG-PP
multistakeholder. Interesting, and I have asked this question often, I have
never seen the civil society groups involved with OECD's CICCP work - which
included a lot of those who have signed on this present ITU related
statement - seek making the CICCP multistakeholder.... Would this not count
as hypocrisy. I cannot understand why and how the agenda of this civil
society group - proposing the present statement-  is almost completely
aligned with what the status quo forces on the Internet want from the ITU PP
or do not want.... How can we simply have no agenda to do something about
say cyber security that the world, especially post Snowden, is so worried
about, and just have one agenda, ITU, step back, dont do anything... That is
what this statement is really about, a little ornamental language here or
there not withstanding.


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
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

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


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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