FW: [bestbits] Your sign on requested- Civil society statement post-WCIT

Deborah Brown deborah at accessnow.org
Fri Dec 21 13:01:11 EST 2012

Dear Michael,

Thank you for raising these issues. I think there are a few
misunderstandings here that I hope I can clarify.

This statement is not meant to act as a spokesperson for civil society or
Best Bits. As I noted in my email that was forwarded to this list, the
statement "is meant to be complementary to other post-WCIT civil society
statements that focus on the substance of the ITRs." If renaming the
document "A civil society statement..." and including "the undersigned
members of" before mentions of "civil society" would clarify that, I think
we can definitely make those changes.

As it happens, a number of organizations that were very involved in Best
Bits have endorsed the statement, so listing those organizations should be
a good indication of who within Best Bits supports the statement, and who
does not.

Also, this is not an Access statement, but was drafted by some civil
society representatives who were present in Dubai. As one of the people who
was remaining in Dubai towards the end, I volunteered to circulate the
statement for sign on. It has around 20 signatories at the moment. I am
happy to circulate this list once I have had the chance to collect the

If I understand correctly, much of your criticism is related to the limited
scope of issues and principles that this statement addresses. I cannot
speak on behalf of the group that drafted this, but I believe that the
focus was kept narrow and focused mostly on the issues raised in the letter
that was presented to the ITU ahead of the 10 December meeting
with Hamadoun Touré (letter accessible here:

I will take your concerns back to the group that drafted this and see if
there is appetite for revising the statement at this late date. If there is
not, hopefully making the changes I mentioned at the end of the second
paragraph of this email will be sufficient in clarifying that this
statement only has the support of the groups/individuals whose names are
listed on the public version.

I regret any miscommunications/misunderstandings here. Thank you again for
your feedback and I look forward to continuing this discussion.

Best regards,

On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com>wrote:

> *McTim, you were asking…*****
> *Civil Society statement on the new ITRs and the future of
> multi-stakeholder engagement*****
> December 21, 2012****
> Civil society is disappointed****
> *[MG>] did I go to heaven and come back to find that someone made you
> folks king/queen of CS?*
> that the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) could
> not come to consensus in revising the International Telecommunications
> Regulations (ITRs).  ****
> *[MG>] why should we/CS care whether the States came to a concensus or
> not… unless of course, our "interests" are the same as the "interests" of
> specific states/corporations*
> We understand, however, the serious concerns that a number of governments
> have expressed with regard to the potential impact of the new regulations.
> ****
> *[MG>] as the above, and what is our alternative norm-based response to
> these "new regulations"… what do want to see in their place or as an
> alternative…*****
> As civil society stated in its Best Bits statement, a key criterion for
> ITRs should be that “any proposed revisions are confined to the traditional
> scope of the ITRs” and “where international regulation is required around
> technical issues [it] is limited to telecommunications networks and
> interoperability standards.”  We regret that an Internet governance-related
> resolution has been included in the Final Acts of WCIT, despite assertions
> by many that WCIT was not about Internet governance. We are also concerned
> by the lack of clarity around the applicability of the treaty, which as
> defined could have unforeseen consequences for an open internet, and the
> lack of specificity in key terms, such as security, which may negatively
> impact the public’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression.****
> *[MG>] there was a lot of other stuff in that statement--"net
> neutrality", "public interest", "human rights", "affordable access" etc.
> why focus only on these areas and not mention the others…*****
> This said, civil society would like to acknowledge and thank those
> governments that opened their delegations to members of civil society and
> other stakeholder groups.  This was a very important initial step in
> establishing a civil society voice in the proceedings and we trust that it
> signals a wider commitment to multi-stakeholder approaches in public policy
> development and decision-making on telecommunications and Internet-related
> matters.  We trust that this openness and inclusive approach will continue
> and extend to upcoming ITU-related work and beyond, and we urge other
> governments to welcome and engage with civil society going forward.****
> *[MG>] yes, but CS has other principles as well, why not mention some of
> those and hold governments accountable against those*****
> As we communicated to ITU Secretary General Touré, we also commend the ITU
> on first steps towards greater transparency and openness with regard to
> access to and webcasting of plenary sessions and Committee 5 sessions, as
> well as soliciting public submissions.  These initial steps enabled civil
> society to play a constructive, albeit limited, role at the WCIT.****
> *[MG>] yes, see above*****
> However there remain serious limitations to engaging with the ITU.  The
> substantive policy deliberations in working groups were neither webcast nor
> open to unaffiliated civil society.  Further, while it is positive that the
> ITU opened the process to public comment, these comments were never part of
> the official record.  We raised both of these challenges with the Secretary
> General, in writing and in person, and he committed to addressing these
> concerns and appealing to member states, as appropriate. Although the WCIT
> has concluded, we renew our request to have the public comments submitted
> as official ITU documents to capture these positions for the historical
> record.****
> *[MG>] yes, see above*****
> We also raised the issue of the lack of any institutional mechanism for
> civil society participation at the ITU. While the participation of civil
> society representatives in government delegations benefits both the
> delegations and the WCIT’s deliberations as a whole, it cannot substitute
> for engagement with independent members of civil society.  We will be
> following up on these important matters with the Secretary General and
> welcome his commitment to considering institutional remedies to this
> challenge.****
> *[MG>] yes, see above*****
> Looking forward, civil society seeks to work with governments and other
> stakeholders around the globe towards an ever more inclusive and
> substantive multi-stakeholder engagement on telecommunications, Internet,
> and related matters.  ****
> *[MG>] surely we want something more than simply an
> "inclusive…multi-stakeholder engagement"--what about "net neutrality",
> inclusive access and use etc.etc*
> Much more needs to be done with regard to opening the ITU to greater
> genuine multi-stakeholder participation and in particular independent civil
> society participation - institutional change will need to occur and we will
> work with the ITU and other stakeholders to bring this about.  These
> changes are vitally important and need to be addressed as soon as possible
> given the upcoming 2013 World Telecommunication Policy Forum, World Summit
> on the Information Society (WSIS+10) and 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary
> Conference.****
> *[MG>] surely CS is concerned with things other than its own capacity to
> intervene in this particular set of discussions… why not use this as a
> framework to start articulating those broader values--which to my mind are
> framed overall in the context of a global Internet governed in the public
> interest and for the public good.*
> *M*****
> ** **
> ** **
> ** **
> ** **
> -- ****
> Deborah Brown****
> Policy Analyst****
> Access | AccessNow.org****
> E. deborah at accessnow.org****
> S. deborah.l.brown****
> T. deblebrown****
> PGP 0x5EB4727D****
> ** **

Deborah Brown
Policy Analyst
Access | AccessNow.org
E. deborah at accessnow.org
S. deborah.l.brown
T. deblebrown
PGP 0x5EB4727D
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