ITU statement thread

parminder parminder at
Fri Oct 26 11:03:26 EDT 2012

On Friday 26 October 2012 06:38 PM, Gene Kimmelman wrote:
> I totally agree with Parminder's observations on points 1-4 (I need 
> think more about 5., and how "operating agencies" will be interpreted);

If the fear is that it may at some time be used for ITU to seek 
jurisdiction over ICANN plus institutions, maybe we can make it 'telecom 
operating agencies' or just 'telecom agencies' removing any possibility 
of such a mis representation. parminder

> I'm hoping our conversations can identify key points of civil society 
> agreement and not get caught up in all the details of the ITR 
> proposals.  I'd just like to highlight the importance of focusing on 
> the transport layer, preserving the appropriate definition of 
> "telecommunications" to ensure that transport bottlenecks can and 
> should be regulated to preserve network neutrality/prevent undue 
> discrimination and should be platforms for access to affordable 
> essential communications services.
> On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 8:34 AM, parminder <parminder at 
> <mailto:parminder at>> wrote:
>     Hi Bill/ All
>     Thanks for flagging off this discussion. A bit busy right now, but
>     will put forward some ideas from my emerging, and yet tentative,
>     views on the current draft of ITRs, which I will have to go
>     through again in a properly through manner.
>     I see four sets of issues that are most important, and they are as
>     follows:
>     /1. State control over Internet routing system/
>     This is perhaps the single most controversial issue in the ITR
>     debate, even more than the ITU-ICANN issue discussed above. It is
>     rightly feared that ITRs will be used by authoritarian countries
>     like China and Iran to develop strict state control over the
>     routing of Internet traffic which today is globally ordered to a
>     large extent. Earlier inputs of these countries into the ITR draft
>     were rather more explicit in this regard. Even though rendered
>     relatively bare-bone in the current draft, there is significant
>     text still there that can be used for a tightly controlled
>     Internet routing system, which if taken to its logical end can
>     lead to nation-wise balkanisation of the Internet.
>     In the current draft, it is the text pertaining to section 30
>     which deals with this issue. Options range from 'states right to
>     know which routes are used', to 'states determining which routes
>     are used', to 'imposing any routing regulation in this regard'. My
>     proposal is to go with one of the listed options which is to
>     suppress section 30 altogether; so, no language on this issue at all.
>     /2. ITU and CIRs management/
>     One of the most important issues is whether ITU is seeking to, and
>     vide the ITRs be enabled to, take up the functions being performed
>     by the distributed CIR management system as it exists at present. 
>     In the current draft, section 31 A is of crucial import in this
>     regard of ITU's feared encroachment of the remit of the ICANN plus
>     system . The options in the current draft regarding this section
>     range from 'naming, numbering, addressing and identification
>     resources will not be mis-used' and 'assigned resources would only
>     be used for the agreed purposes' to 'all ITU recommendations will
>     apply to naming, numbering, addressing and identification
>     resources' (existing or also future ??) to 'nation states, if they
>     elect to, can control these resources within their territories for
>     the sake of international communication'.
>     If ITU recommendations are made vide the new ITRs to apply to
>     names and numbering systems, this may tend towards a creeping
>     encroachment on ICANN's remit. One option in the current draft
>     lists a set of specific ITU recommendations that will apply (these
>     need to be studied individually which I havent). Other options are
>     more open ended, which means future ITU recommendations may also
>     apply, which, may mean that ITU can formally enter into doing
>     and/or supervising ICANN's work. This becomes more problematic
>     when seen along with draft options that make ITRs obligatory and
>     not just a set of general principles. We should speak up against
>     all such efforts to take over, or even substantially affect, the
>     current distributed system of CIRs management.
>     /3. Definitional issues in the ITRs, telecom or Internet/
>     Resolving this issue might take a good amount of out time. The
>     issue is really tricky. Putting Internet under telecom, and thus
>     under ITRs and ITU has its problems and a completely new kind of
>     global regulatory system may then be built over it, which would
>     hurt the way Internet has developed and needs to develop. However,
>     it is also difficult to just argue that, when we are in times we
>     are in, Internet traffic will be excluded from telecom definition,
>     because that would beg the question - what then remains of
>     telecommunicaiton in the era of increased IP based convergence. Is
>     then ITU to close down as traditional telephony disappears.
>     Perhaps more importantly, correspondingly, does this new
>     definitional approach also mean that national level telecom
>     regulatory systems like FCC and TRAI wind up sooner or later.
>     I dont think we can afford to be co-opted into the efforts seeking
>     complete deregulation of the entire communications systems that,
>     for instance, are at present being made in the US, which employ
>     definitional logics of a highly dubious kind (like classifying
>     Internet not as a telecommunication but as an information service
>     and thus not subject to common carriage or net neutrality
>     provisions, and similarly rescuing VoIP services from universal
>     service obligations.) At the same time, it is necessary to resist
>     providing constitutional basis to the ITU which can be used to for
>     control of content and application layers. This is the dilemma.
>     What would the implications of putting Internet under
>     telecommunications in the definitional and other sections? What
>     does adding 'processing' signals to just sending, transporting and
>     receiving  signals does to what happens in the future vis a vis
>     ITU's role? (These are all existing optional language in the
>     current draft.)
>     This is something we really may have to spend a lot of time on. My
>     tentative suggestion is that we find a way whereby the transport /
>     infrastructural layer is included in the definition of
>     telecommunication (which also is closest to reality) and thus in
>     ITR's remit. At the same time content and application layers are
>     explicitly excluded. Contributing the right language in this
>     respect may be one of the most important things that we can do.
>     But as I said, this requires a lot of thinking and discussion
>     among us.
>     In trying any such definitional separations, the issue of
>     'security' would become a sticking point. In fact, 'security' may
>     be an issue we may have to separately treat in our submission,
>     becuase there is also a lot of tricky language in the current
>     draft around this issue.
>     /4. Net neutrality or an open Internet
>     /We would certainly speak against the ETNO proposal of a 'sender
>     pays' arrangement. However, we should seek to go beyond it.
>     Everywhere it is recognised that net neutrality is a regulatory
>     issue. Net neutrality cannot survive with regulatory intervention,
>     or at least some kind of normative soft pressure from regulatory
>     quarters. So if there is an issue called 'global net neutrality'
>     (CoE's experts report) then there is perhaps some role for a
>     global regulatory system - if not of enforceable rules, at least
>     for providing normative frameworks and general principles. And net
>     neutrality concerns the transport layer, net neutrality concerns
>     can be accommodated even while we do the above mentioned
>     'definitional separations' about what part of the Internet is
>     telecom and which not.
>      While even US telecoms are opposed to the ETNO proposal (for
>     reasons one can appreciate) what they themselves propose in the US
>     is the sender pays principle. Is it possible to use the ITR text
>     in some way to promote a normative framework for net neutrality or
>     an open Internet - or even more specific things like open peering
>     and the such.
>     I read in the CDT's document about problems with use of QoS term
>     which can become the normative indication for violation of net
>     neutrality and it should be opposed.
>     /5. Some sundry issues
>     /Apart the issue of 'security' mentioned above, which may require
>     separate treatment, I can see two other important issues. One,
>     whether ITRs should stay as general principles or they should
>     become mandatory. These is alternative language in the current
>     draft on these option. I think we should seek that ITRs stay as
>     general principles. Second, if the principal parties that are
>     subject to ITRs should remain 'administrations' or be changed to
>     'member states and operating agencies'. I think the telecom
>     environment has become complex and diverse enough to require the
>     more flexible term 'operating agencies' to be included.
>     Thanks, and look forward to listen to other people's views on this.
>     parminder
>     On Thursday 25 October 2012 07:51 PM, William Drake wrote:
>>     Hi everyone
>>     Thanks for getting us started, Emma, very helpful.
>>     A couple weeks ago Jeremy and I were going around on possible
>>     ways to boot up this process.  One option considered was to have
>>     some of the folks that most closely follow the issues around the
>>     two statements get started with some drafting of bits for
>>     collective consideration, but we ultimately decided this was a
>>     bad idea.  With a diverse group, some of whom may not have worked
>>     together before, it seemed better to move in a completely
>>     inclusive bottom up way from the beginning so that anyone who
>>     wants to follow or weigh in can do so at the most formative
>>     stages.  Setting up these lists seemed a good way to get that
>>     started, and we might want to try pushing as far as we can before
>>     meeting so the F2F bit is less stressed.  So let's see what we
>>     can do?
>>     I guess the first and foundational question is what style of
>>     letter with what principal focus.  I've stated my views previously,
>>     On Oct 16, 2012, at 2:32 PM, William Drake wrote:
>>>>     On the other hand, if we just want to give a list of
>>>>     preachments to the ITU on how should be conduct its business, I
>>>>     am game for it. That is much more doable. 
>>>     I certainly hope this is not what we'll do in the WCIT
>>>     statement.  Statements critiquing the ITU's MO proved useful
>>>     earlier in the process, e.g. by pressing governments to agree to
>>>     the landmark, watershed, historic (quoting the press office)
>>>     release of a document that had already been leaked and widely
>>>     accessed.  If you know the zeitgeist in tower, this was news.
>>>      And more generally, those statements made senior staff who'd
>>>     previously declared they'd be unaffected by any muttering among
>>>     the riff raff launch an unprecedented counter-offensive
>>>     perception management gambit, complete with a Twitter "storm"
>>>     (tee hee) and website telling critics that their concerns are
>>>     all myths.  So all good.
>>>     What's needed now though is something different—less meta, more
>>>     focused on specific aspects of Dubai.  There's a proposal that
>>>     the conference chair declare some sessions open to the public.
>>>      One imagines there will be push back from the usual suspects;
>>>     it'd be good to briefly make the case.  Beyond this, I'd hope we
>>>     can focus on the concrete proposals that could be problematic
>>>     for the Internet and offer substantive counterpoints.  Ideally,
>>>     these should acknowledge that in some cases governments may have
>>>     real legitimate concerns, but point out the downsides of
>>>     overreach and that there are other, more effective ways to deal
>>>     with them than via a multilateral treaty on telecom. In other
>>>     words, be positive in tone and content.  If we do that, at least
>>>     some delegations might have a look before tossing the responses
>>>     to the ITU's public comment call into the trash, and that would
>>>     establish another reference point for delegates carrying similar
>>>     messages.  BTW, such a statement could also feed into the CIR
>>>     main session in Baku, which will discuss WCIT issues.
>>     So my pref would be that as a starting point, we divide up the
>>     main topics/bad proposals potentially impacting the Internet and
>>     each prepare a tight paragraph or two response, perhaps with
>>     bullet point conclusions, that sort of a) respectfully
>>     acknowledges the concerns behind the proposals, b) says why the
>>     proposed solution is overreaching and likely to have unforeseen
>>     negative consequences, c) indicates a better way to go about
>>     addressing the problem, and d) offers preferred language.  Maybe
>>     not in that order, but you see what I mean.  Aggregation of and
>>     editing for consistent style a bunch of such mini-statements
>>     would be fairly easy to do in Baku, then we'd just need a chapeau
>>     and closing, and voila, we'd have the sort of input document
>>     delegates are used to reading, and perhaps one that wouldn't head
>>     straight to the circular file.
>>     Speaking of circular files: I would not in the text make
>>     references to civil society thinks this or feels that.  Many
>>     delegates read that as "fifth column for Western
>>     domination thinks this or feels that."  They know who we are,
>>     basically.  Let's not stand around calling attention to it, and
>>     just stick to the issues at hand.
>>     At least, that's what I'd do.
>>     Does anyone have a different preferred plan we could start in on?
>>     Best,
>>     Bill
>>     On Oct 17, 2012, at 10:40 PM, Emma Llanso wrote:
>>>     Hi all,
>>>     Apologies if I've missed discussion about this statement in
>>>     another thread, but I thought it might be helpful to provide
>>>     links to some of the existing civil society statements about the
>>>     WCIT (which many of you are familiar with already!), including:
>>>     In terms of specific proposals that raise significant concerns,
>>>     CDT has identified several categories of proposals that both
>>>     raise human rights concerns and seem likely to be the subject of
>>>     much debate at WCIT.  I've included some discussion and text of
>>>     proposals below, and would be very curious to hear others'
>>>     thoughts about what specific issues raise concerns.
>>>     Best,
>>>     Emma
>>>     1) Regulation of traffic routing - Some states have proposed a
>>>     new provision that would give states the right to know where
>>>     traffic has been routed, and the right to regulate routing of
>>>     traffic for security and fraud purposes.  If this provision is
>>>     applied to regulate the route of Internet traffic, it would
>>>     require technical changes to the Internet that would give
>>>     governments additional tools to block traffic to and from
>>>     certain websites or countries.  Regulations on routing could
>>>     also enable greater tracking of users by their IP addresses.
>>>     This provision is put forward in the name of security and fraud,
>>>     but their necessity, proportionality, and impact on the right to
>>>     privacy and freedom of expression has not been fully assessed.
>>>     Exact text: Egypt and the Arab States regional group have
>>>     proposed that "A Member State shall have the right to know
>>>     through where its traffic has been routed, and should have the
>>>     right to impose any routing regulations in this regard, for
>>>     purposes of security and countering fraud." A similar proposal
>>>     has been made by the Regional Commonwealth group of states (RCC)
>>>     and is also supported by Russia.
>>>     2) Allowable limitations on public access and use of
>>>     telecommunications - Russia and the Regional Commonwealth group of
>>>     states (RCC) have put forward a proposal that requires Member
>>>     States to ensure access and use of international
>>>     telecommunications services, but allows an exception for when
>>>     telecommunications is used "for the purpose of interfering in
>>>     the internal affairs or undermining the sovereignty, national
>>>     security, territorial integrity and public safety of other
>>>     States, or to divulge information of a sensitive nature."  The
>>>     Internet has become an essential tool for the exercise of a
>>>     range of human rights.  This proposal is inconsistent with human
>>>     rights standards that articulate when governments may
>>>     permissibly limit the right to freedom of expression under
>>>     Article 19 of the ICCPR and Article 10 of the ECHR.  This
>>>     proposal could be used to legitimize
>>>     restrictions on a range of human rights, including freedom of
>>>     expression, association, and assembly.
>>>     3) Internet access and net neutrality - The European
>>>     Telecommunications Network Operators Association (ETNO), a Sector
>>>     Member at the ITU, has proposed a series of changes to how
>>>     networks on the Internet connect to each other. For example,
>>>     ETNO proposes a "sending party pays" system, where content
>>>     providers would have to pay fees to reach the user who wants to
>>>     access that content.  Some civil society organizations believe
>>>     this system would result in increased costs of Internet access
>>>     for users, especially in less developed countries, since the
>>>     fees companies pay would be then passed on to users.  The ETNO
>>>     proposal also encourages ISPs to make special deals with content
>>>     companies to prioritize their content, which undermines net
>>>     neutrality online.  Taken together, the effect of the ETNO 
>>>     proposal would be to increase the cost of Internet access and
>>>     limit equal access to information online.  Again, the full
>>>     impact of the ETNO proposal on Internet access and the ability
>>>     of individuals to seek and receive information online must be
>>>     fully assessed.
>>>     -- 
>>>     Emma J. Llansó
>>>     Policy Counsel
>>>     Center for Democracy & Technology
>>>     1634 I Street NW, Suite 1100
>>>     Washington, DC 20006
>>>     202-407-8818 <tel:202-407-8818> | @cendemtech
>>>     <>
>>>     On 10/2/2012 6:20 AM, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:
>>>>     The original plan was to have two small drafting groups for our
>>>>     two output documents, which a core of interested participants
>>>>     could join to come up with some zero-draft text as a starting
>>>>     point for discussions in Baku.
>>>>     As things haven't worked out that way so far, it has been
>>>>     suggested we bring the discussion back onto the main list.  To
>>>>     that end, I am starting two threads, for discussion of the two
>>>>     statements.  I'm beginning with the ITU statement.
>>>>     I do not consider myself an expert on the ITU (certainly not
>>>>     compared to some of you), so I am not going to propose any
>>>>     actual text.  But in general terms, it is hoped that the
>>>>     statement would by a strong and unified civil society position
>>>>     to which most of us subscribe, not only pushing back against
>>>>     the ITU's mission creep and pointing out its deficits with
>>>>     respect to the WSIS process criteria (openness,
>>>>     multi-stakeholderism, etc), but being quite specific about the
>>>>     issues on the table for WCIT.  What issues do we already know
>>>>     are the key ones for our members or constituents?
>>>>     So, please use this thread to discuss ideas, and once they are
>>>>     more progressed, some draft text could go into a (currently
>>>>     empty) pad at
>>>>     -- 
>>>>     *Dr Jeremy Malcolm
>>>>     Senior Policy Officer
>>>>     Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for
>>>>     consumers*
>>>>     Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
>>>>     Lot 5-1 Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI, 60000 Kuala
>>>>     Lumpur, Malaysia
>>>>     Tel: +60 3 7726 1599 <tel:%2B60%203%207726%201599>
>>>>     *Your rights, our mission – download CI's Strategy 2015:*
>>>>     @Consumers_Int |
>>>>     <> |
>>>>     <>
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