ITU PP-14 Day 6: The existence of the Internet

By on 28 Oct 2014

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Despite a 9:00 am start on Saturday, Day 6 of the conference, the room assigned to the Ad Hoc Group on proposed revisions to Resolution 130 was too small for the significant number of delegates who wished to participate or observe the discussions. After we relocated to a larger room it was obvious that an even bigger room would be required and so we all moved again. Finally settled we had lost an hour of work time and the session didn’t get underway until after 10:00am.

Resolution 130 is titled “Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies”. The issue of security is always keenly debated when Governments meet to discuss telecommunications issues.

On the one hand, some administrations have proposed that since the current version of the resolution was so difficult to negotiate at the 2010 Plenipotentiary, it would be prudent not to open this document  for editing. Others disagree and believe the document needs updating to address deficiencies and to reflect changes that have occurred in the intervening four years.

Most of the substantive changes proposed in the documents reflect ongoing concerns about surveillance, extraterritorial interception, monitoring, privacy and confidentiality and more than one call for the implementation of international legal frameworks for the protection of these and to enable the pursuit of cross-border issues.

The work in progress version of this document (and other temporary documents of the Conference), are password restricted as only the input and output documents were opened to the public. Most Member States believe releasing documents that include text that hasn’t reached consensus could lead to misunderstanding among stakeholders.

We are a long way from agreement on the current draft and the Ad Hoc Group will meet again on Tuesday, 28 October to do more work on the document.

After lunch, the Ad Hoc Group on Internet-related matters met for the rest of the afternoon. The Chair decided to opt for an easy resolution that only had a single proposal for changes. Resolution 133 on the “Role of administrations of Member States in the management of internationalized (multilingual) domain names” turned out to be not entirely easy. The European group’s proposals for revisions consisted mostly of updates that would reflect the advancements made by the multistakeholder community in the deployment of IDNs since the last Plenipot. There are now 88 IDNs live and some administrators felt it was time to acknowledge in this resolution that the situation had changed; others were highly resistant to the idea of recognizing the progress made, or the role non-Government actors may have had in affecting those changes.

Sticking points included the introduction of the phrase “multistakeholder model”. It was slightly easier to gain a consensus to remove references to “telex” in this resolution about domain names. References to the “existing role and sovereignty of ITU Member States with respect to allocation and management” of telephone country codes, although of little relevance to the subject, were more difficult to remove.

Although there are still undecided issues in this resolution, the Chair moved on to discuss Resolution 101 which is about “Internet Protocol-based networks”. Although not much progress was made on this resolution before we were out of time, the session delivered a uniquely UN moment with an extended discussion about a proposal to change this phrase: considering “that the increased use of the Internet introduces new additional applications in telecommunication/information and communication technology (ICT) services based on its highly advanced technology”.

The proposal was the wording should be changed to  “the existence of the Internet permits the introduction of new applications”, on the basis that more users doesn’t permit new applications, it is the architecture and design of the Internet that enables this. After objections and quite some discussion the consensus decision was to say “that the Internet permits the introduction of new additional applications”.

RESOLUTION  130: Strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of information and communication technologies


RESOLUTION  101: Internet Protocol-based networks


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