[AfrICANN-discuss] ITU to control Internet?

Ntoko, Alexander alexander.ntoko at itu.int
Thu Aug 9 15:19:08 SAST 2012

Dear All,

As a follow-up to my previous posting on this topic,  please find below an extract of the speech (in quotes and between the dotted lines)  delivered by ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré at the opening of the 2012 Session of ITU Council in July. The entire speech can be found online at: http://www.itu.int/en/osg/speeches/Pages/2012-07-04.aspx

This speech addresses some of the misinformation about ITU and the WCIT-12.


Immediately after the WTSA, also in Dubai, we have the World Conference on International Telecommunications, WCIT-12.

This is the first event of its kind since the conference in Melbourne in 1988 which produced the current International Telecommunication Regulations, the ITRs.

As you will know, the Council Working Group on WCIT has led the preparatory process for this landmark conference, and has just concluded its last meeting, here in Geneva.

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight on a number of important issues which have found their way into various realms of the public domain over the past few months.

I am grateful for the public awareness surrounding these issues as it has given me an opportunity to clarify the plain facts and the potential benefits we can hope to achieve through the WCIT event.

Firstly, as I have said at other recent meetings, WCIT will be the catalyst for the free flow of information.

As you know, in Article 33 of the ITU's Constitution, Member States recognize the right of the public to correspond by means of the international service of public correspondence.

And the ITRs cannot contradict that provision.

It is true nonetheless that most countries have measures in place to protect copyright owners, for example, and to prevent defamation. Such measures are of course permitted by Article 34 of the ITU's Constitution.

And the ITRs cannot contradict that, either.

WCIT, therefore, will facilitate the free flow of information.

There have also been a number of accounts stating that there is some sort of barrier, conflict or even war between telecommunications and the Internet.

In the converged world of the 21st century, this is plainly ridiculous. Who today can tell me the difference, in terms of traffic passing across networks, between voice, video, and data?

So the real issue in front of us is how best to cooperate - to ensure:
[*]       The free flow of information;
[*]       The continued development of broadband;
[*]       Continuing investment in networks, services and applications;
[*]       And perhaps most importantly - in this very fast-moving world - continuing innovation.

I cannot imagine anyone who would disagree that the benefits of ICTs should be brought to all citizens of the world.

And indeed the Council Working Group on WCIT concluded on this same positive note, with all our members' agreement that we all want to see the further development of telecommunications.

So the question before WCIT is therefore how best can the ITRs be adapted to facilitate the achievement of that goal.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It has come as a surprise - and I have to say a great disappointment - to see that some of those who have had access to WCIT proposals have chosen to publicly mis-state or distort them in public forums and to journalists; sometimes to the point of caricature.
These distortions and mis-statements could be found plausible by credulous members of the public, and could even be used to influence national parliaments, given that the documents themselves are not officially available - in spite of recent developments, including the leaking of Document TD 64.

I can confirm that a group of civil society organizations has written to me to request public access to the proposals under discussion, and I would therefore ask Council to consider granting open access to these documents, and in particular future versions of TD 64.

I would also ask Council to agree to the holding of an open consultation regarding the ITRs, accessible to all stakeholders worldwide.

Most of us were not involved in the preparations for the 1988 conference in Melbourne. But the historical record shows that many of the fears, concerns, and criticisms surrounding WCIT also appeared in 1988.

As we know, those fears and concerns were unwarranted: the 1988 Melbourne conference created the framework that enabled the spectacular growth of telecommunications - including the Internet - over the past 24 years.

As we know, 1988 set the stage for the information society.

And I am absolutely convinced that 2012 will set the stage for the knowledge society."

Alexander NTOKO
Chief, Operations and Planning Department
Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Place des Nations, CH-1211
Geneva, Switzerland
Email: alexander.ntoko at itu.int

From: africann-bounces at afrinic.net [mailto:africann-bounces at afrinic.net] On Behalf Of Ntoko, Alexander
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 2:18 PM
To: africann at afrinic.net
Subject: RE: [AfrICANN-discuss] ITU to control Internet?

Dear All,

There is a lot of misinformation about ITU, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) and the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs).
Some of this misinformation is due to ignorance on the part of the authors of these articles while others are simply due to hidden agendas of the authors.

Whatever the case, it is important to have some basic information about ITU, WCIT and the ITRs so that you know what to expect at WCIT in Dubai in December 2012.

To start, I would suggest that you visit http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/WCIT-backgroundbriefs.aspx for background information about WCIT and the ITRs.

For those of you interested in some of what has been published by the press, you can visit http://www.scoop.it/t/wcit-12


Alexander NTOKO
Chief, Operations and Planning Department
Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB)
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Place des Nations, CH-1211
Geneva, Switzerland
Email: alexander.ntoko at itu.int<mailto:alexander.ntoko at itu.int>
Web: http://www.itu.int

-----Original Message-----
From: africann-bounces at afrinic.net<mailto:africann-bounces at afrinic.net> [mailto:africann-bounces at afrinic.net] On Behalf Of SM
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 2:01 AM
To: Y Mshana2003; africann at afrinic.net<mailto:africann at afrinic.net>
Subject: Re: [AfrICANN-discuss] ITU to control Internet?

Hi Yassin,
At 15:53 08-08-2012, Y Mshana2003 wrote:
>That raises a point for Negotiation not a point to Claim through any channels.

The "ITU to control the Internet" is far from clear.  I don't understand what the negotiation is about as I could not find any explanation about what is being controlled.

Is it something to do with what web sites users can go to? Is that what the ITU wants to control?  How does the ITU propose to control that?


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