Day three of the Plenipotentiary conference saw the last of the 88 Policy Statements delivered to the Plenary.
In its statement, Germany spoke strongly about the need for the ITU to focus on its current mandate and not be distracted by scope creep. Germany said it supported the ITU’s work to enhance the “robustness of networks, especially by setting standards”, but was against any push to expand its “mandate into content related issues or into other questions related to the technical management of the Internet”.
It argued that there are other fora better suited than the “restricted circles of government representatives in a technical organization” such as the ITU and that Internet governance should be carried out in the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance.
In response, the Chair of the Conference, Mr. Wonki Min (a representative of the Republic of Korea) thanked Germany for its policy statement saying: “The points you raised in the policy statement will be discussed in the whole Plenipotentiary Conference and I believe there is a general consensus on the multistakeholder approach and the importance [sic] Internet governance issue.”
Many more spoke of their security concerns, noting cybersecurity and cyber crime are growing problems across the globe. Iraq, in particular, dedicated its entire statement to the issue of cyber-terrorism and called upon the Member States “to launch an international coalition in the ICT sector, with a view to preventing terrorists from using these crucial technologies with a view to carrying out terrorist activities.”
Nigeria also noted the issue, saying it was using ICTs as a tool to fight terrorism. Nigeria spoke of cross-border crime, and welcomed the ITU’s efforts and work coordinating activities under the WSIS Action Line C5 on Cybersecurity, but asked it to do more “so that the United Nations system concludes an international convention on cyber crime to protect our states, citizens and businesses”.
At times geo-politics came to the forefront as administrations took the opportunity to highlight issues not caused by telecommunications, but affecting it. Cuba for example, but others also, noted “the use of ICTs to destabilize the political situation” in their country.
In other statements of note, Somalia spoke briefly of its plans to launch a national ID card system ”partially based on IPv6 numbers, so that all Somalis have access to the Internet” and Chile spoke strongly about the need to promote network neutrality and committed to “encourage in all international fora, the adoption of our vision of network neutrality as well as other principles and practices which ensure networks remain as free and democratic as possible”.
Meanwhile, the Working Group of the Plenary began its deliberations, holding half a day of sessions. This is significant due to the work that will be undertaken there. All the work of the conference is to be done in a series of committees, such as the Steering Committee, Editorial Committee, Budget, and so on.
Most of the contributions have been allocated into three groups: Committee 5 – Policy and Legal Matters; Committee 6 – Administration and Management; and a special Working Group of the Plenary (WG-PL). All of these groups have begun their work, running in parallel with the Plenary meeting where necessary.
WG-PL is significant as this is the group where most of the controversial Internet issues will be considered. Internet issues will be raised for the first time today, Thursday, 23 October.
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