Doubling Down On Secrecy: ITU Believes Secret Media Strategy Key To Avoiding SOPA/ACTA Fate

from the good-luck-with-that dept

As the WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) gets under way in Dubai, the ITU is making its play to regulate the internet, potentially to aid authoritarian governments in censoring or limiting the internet, or to divert money from innovative internet companies to stagnant state telcos out of a claim of "fairness." There's obviously been a lot of talk about it, and the ITU keeps claiming that it's just a neutral body to facilitate discussions, even as increasing evidence suggests it's urging many of the crazier proposals forward itself.

And now it's come out that ITU officials recently held a "secret" meeting to figure out how they were going to avoid getting SOPA'd, having the world rise up in protest as it tries to implement its internet regulatory regime. Following some bizarre and paranoid fantasy about how the anti-ITU, anti-WCIT efforts are really just because an unnamed "lobbying group" didn't like one proposal (the one mentioned above about diverting money from internet companies to telcos), the meeting got down to business: how could they use social media to prevent SOPA- or ACTA-like uprisings from the public:
In response to the anti-WCIT “campaign,” according to the September retreat’s preparatory materials, the ITU reluctantly launched a “counter-campaign,” which the agency believes “has been fairly successful outside the US and somewhat successful even in the US,” where “some of the statements made to denigrate ITU and WCIT are so extreme that they were easy to challenge and rebut.”

Going forward, the ITU focused at its meeting on the possibility of an “intensive anti-ratification campaign in OECD countries, based on the so-called lack of openness of the WCIT process, resulting in a significant number of countries refusing to ratify the new ITRs.” The ITU calls this possibility “the so-called ACTA scenario,” referring to sometimes violent protests against the secret ACTA treaty that took place this year.

To develop the next phase of its “counter-campaign,” the ITU hosted speakers from leading PR and advertising agencies to advise them on the use of social media. For example, Matthias Lufkens, Head of Digital Strategy for global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, gave a presentation on how his agency helped the World Economic Forum leverage tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr to fend off “occupy”-style protests that occurred both physically in Davos and on the Internet.

“There is a risk that [the ACTA scenario] will happen, but our communication campaign can mitigate this,” the internal document says.
Of course, the campaign doesn't really appear to be going that well -- especially since so much of it revolves around "deflect[ing] media questions from secrecy, taxes and censorship" to the blandly empty (and absolutely silly) statement that "the revised ITRs have the exciting potential to pave the way for a broadband revolution in the 21st century." I'm sure that sounds catchy on a tweet. The problem, of course, is that folks on the internet don't tend to believe that kind of bureaucrat-speak when they know it's not true. As Downes notes:
Here’s the unvarnished truth, which no PR agency can help the agency talk, tweet, or prevaricate their way around: The commercial Internet emerged and matured entirely since the treaty was last reviewed. It developed in spite of the ITRs, not because of them.

There is a familiar pattern here of ambitious regulators who have no expertise and little experience with the Internet proclaiming themselves its benevolent dictators, only to find the peasants revolting before the coup has even started.

The ITU is no different than the sponsors of ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, and other attempts at regulating the Internet, its content, or its users by governments large and small. Like the media lobbyists who continue to see the successful fight to kill SOPA and PIPA as a proxy war waged solely by Google and other Internet companies, the ITU simply can’t accept the reality that Internet users have become their own best advocates.
Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:02am

    "Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing."

    Is there a bureaucrat who does know what they are doing? From what I can see, they pay advisers to give them advice and then they ignore that advice and go with whatever their corporate masters want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    vegetaman (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:14am

    I love it.

    If you want to find a group of people who know nothing about The Internet -- all you have to do is look at the people wanting to regulate it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re:

    Then they bill us for the advisers they ignore, and the corporations for the bills they write and support.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:18am

    Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    Mike's bias for corporatists should be obvious to all from his last line, but again, it does not follow from opposition to UN bureacrats that giant heartless amoral corporations are at all trustworthy or concerned with public interests. Mike's ranting here is no more important than if he picked one professional wrestler over another: it's all phony; behind the scenes even Google's reps are at the cocktail party with the bureaucrats, all just scheming for how to slice the pie.

     

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  5.  
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    Trails (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:19am

    Re:

    Yes actually. There are a lot of great bureaucrats in the world. The trick is they're like God in that if they're doing their job right, you don't even know they're there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:20am

    "Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing."

    I know, I know. I wish they could be perfect like us. It's so cool how we know everything, and we can point to everyone else and point out how inferior they are. There just isn't a human being on earth that we're not smarter than. Every person we look at, all we can see is how dumb they are. Gosh, we're just so perfect and so awesome. It's a shame that everyone doesn't just look to us for pointers on how to manage their business. We're such experts in so many different fields. We fully understand all of the nuances at play. It doesn't matter that we don't have all the facts. We're just that smart. Facts. Schmacks. That's what we say. We know what's best for everyone else all of the time. That's why we can't be bothered with discussing the nuances with detractors. We are above having to defend anything we say or write. We get to tear everyone else apart, but then we refuse to ever discuss ourselves. That's how special we are.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    "Is there a bureaucrat who does know what they are doing?"

    No there isn't. Ever bureaucrat that ever was and will ever be is not as smart as Mike Masnick and me. We could do every single other person's job better than they can. Everything we think is perfect, and everyone else is an idiot. We are so perfect that we cannot be challenged. We could easily beat you in any debate, but we will not answer your questions because we have already answered them. We have answered all questions perfectly, and those answers, wherever they may be, are perfect and cannot be challenged.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re: Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    *yawn* Do you have a life?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    troll fail

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re: Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    Mike's bias for corporatists should be obvious to all from his last line.

    Perhaps it seems obvious for everyone with your level of reading comprehension.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:32am

    'Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing.'

    they dont have to have a clue. they will just do whatever it is they want. when it comes to it, unless there is a protest resembling the one against ACTA etc, they will get away with it. the sad part is these people dont care about anything except money. the reasons for the meeting are bullshit with only how to make more money and take more control out of the internet being the whole crux. yet again, another leaf coming out of the entertainment industries hymn book. as long as they get what they want, screw everyone else!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:33am

    "Once again, these bureaucrats really have no clue what they're doing."

    They obvious do know what they are doing, like the nobility of old they are trying to arrange the world to suite their interests, and that of their cronies, the people in power. They believe that they know better than the general public, and often that the general public are ignorant people who should be told what to do. Unfortunately this is the attitude that leads to revolutions and civil wars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Following some bizarre and paranoid fantasy about how the anti-ITU, anti-WCIT efforts are really just because an unnamed "lobbying group" didn't like one proposal (the one mentioned above about diverting money from internet companies to telcos)

    Oh, Google again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    And what fresh hell is this supposed to be?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:34am

    The internet should be above regulation and governments. The internet should be viewed as the voice of the people and any attempt to regulate it should be viewed as an attempt to silence that voice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:37am

    Secrecy Solution

    Lets keep everything secret,all the negotiations and all the discussions and all laws that are made in secret, secret, that's an idea keep the new laws secret so nobody will get upset with them.

    Hey while we are at it can I have that thing called privacy on the internet so that what I do is secret.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    Actually you have a point, I remember a project a few years ago where they put a group of CEEO's against a group of kids and told both to design a company selling some object , I dont remember what, and the kids made millions while the CEO's went bankrupt. Although the CEO's did make a lot of money from the Bonuses they took when there business went bankrupt. /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:46am

    In another lifetime, copyright was enacted to prevent people from voicing their own opinion via print. It did evolve into a limited monopoly for those who write, but it took a few years, give or take.

    Now, we're full circle.

    To think the ITU wants to take the role of both church and states clearly shows we're dealing with a group who has learned nothing of "Let them eat cake."

    I'll prep the guillotines. We're going to need quite a few of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I thought trolls ate men, not spew straw men?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    ldne, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:52am

    Re: Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    You really are an idiot, aren't you? At least with corporations you can elect to close your wallet or use another website and at least have some effect on them and major benefits to yourself, by keeping your funds and information. Bureaucrats on the other hand, reach into your wallet uninvited and under threat of jail time through taxation, legalize the theft of your personal information for their own purposes, and game the election system so that hordes of gullible idiots will keep them in office, or elect a replacement that is still one of them, just from the "opposing" team, who will gladly work with theirs on such important issues as keeping third party campaigns under their thumb and out of their hair while publicly arguing over funding issues that are 2% of their 40% above revenue spending.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re:

    Is that Deus ex machina, or is it just the best damn bureaucracy in the world by Carlsberg?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wouldn't rule out both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe he ate a bureaucrat?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:57am

    I think the point is that politicians are REALLY confused.

    They seem to get glossy eyed when the outcome of their goals are bad and unwanted, but can't convince people to let them do what they want like they always have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    Re:

    Is there a bureaucrat who does know what they are doing


    With any profession there are people who are incompetent and people who are skilled, and I think bureaucrats are no different. They can often seem to not know what they're doing because what they're really doing is not what people think (or they say) that they are.

    Everyone seems crazy when you don't understand their point of view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 12:11pm

    I'm a atuomotive mechanic, These new cars don't need any work, so I want a proceed from the sale of new cars. I think 100$ per each new car, given to me, should be sufficient.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Matthias Lüfkens is on twitter at @luefkens. Might be a good place to let him know that you don't appreciate him helping oppressive regimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    "Mike's bias for corporatists should be obvious to all from his last line"

    We have routinely write articles about corporations lambasting them for mistakes they've made/illusions they're suffering/lobbying congress to enact laws to benefit them.

    But yeah, Mike is totally biased for corporatists. /s

    I seriously fucking hate you blue. You're hypocrisy truly knows no bounds.

    And it's even more hilarious watching you bitch about Google and big corporations and the rich day in and day out and the moment someone makes a remark about the studios/labels and the RIAA/MPAA you're the first one defending them and saying they deserve to make billions and throw away hundreds of millions on ventures that have no guarantee of profitability (but you also point out how copyright should be a guarantee to make money). You're seriously a fucking stooge. And yes, I said fuck a few times. I'm sure your virgin eyes are now popping out of their skull at such vulgarity. Well FUCK YOU and your virgin eyes. And just for the record, I'm not Dark_Helmet. We DO NOT write in a similar manner. And the occasional curse word/insult DOES NOT a similar writing style make, you goddamn idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Just AJ throwing his regularly scheduled tantrum. Next up, his promise never to come back to the site, followed by his return. Just like clockwork.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    New Mexico Mark, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Secrecy Solution

    After all, that method seems to be working out really well in Egypt. /sarc

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:13pm

    Following some bizarre and paranoid fantasy about how the anti-ITU, anti-WCIT efforts are really just because an unnamed "lobbying group" didn't like one proposal (the one mentioned above about diverting money from internet companies to telcos)

    Oh, Google again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Good day Average Joe...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    well done sir.. +5 Internets for you today...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    " “counter-campaign,” which the agency believes “has been fairly successful outside the US and somewhat successful even in the US,” where “some of the statements made to denigrate ITU and WCIT are so extreme that they were easy to challenge and rebut.” "

    The question I have is do any of the people in the countries supporting it actually have a voice to protest with? My guess is a big fat no, and a lot of EU telco's will just put up the "Silly Americans" argument pertaining to our expertise involving the Internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Hmm, choice of bureaucrats or corporatists... NEITHER.

    Bureaucrats or Corporations: Who are the innovators, enhancers and competitors that have made the Internet a “free-zone”?

    Bureaucrats or Corporations: Who will be the more likely to keep the Internet a competitive market place?

    Bureaucrats or Corporations: Who has a track record of understanding the Internet to move it forward?

    Loser is an out_of_the_blue suit…

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re:

    "And what fresh hell is this supposed to be?"

    I already answered your question. I'm sorry you're not aware of the answer. No, I will not link to it. No, I will not repeat it. It was the perfect answer, and no response on your part is needed. Nor will any further challenges be entertained. Just know that I am smarter than you, and I could run complex international bodies perfectly in my sleep.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Just AJ throwing his regularly scheduled tantrum. Next up, his promise never to come back to the site, followed by his return. Just like clockwork."

    Watching you flail about like a child is priceless. I have a baby, so I know what I'm talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re:

    "Actually you have a point, I remember a project a few years ago where they put a group of CEEO's against a group of kids and told both to design a company selling some object , I dont remember what, and the kids made millions while the CEO's went bankrupt. Although the CEO's did make a lot of money from the Bonuses they took when there business went bankrupt. /s"

    And nobody could run a complex international agency better than Mike Masnick. His genius shall never be challenged. He would have destroyed that group of kids with his cunning. No one can question his insight. He tears down everyone and everything. No one questions him and gets away with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, project much? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    Seriously man, that's not healthy. Take a vacation. Get a massage. Get laid. Scream in a closet while taking a hallucigen. Do something other than get irrationally angry over an opinion blog where no one likes you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 4:32pm

    We could learn something from SOPA here...

    You know, when the pro-SOPA crowd called us out for using "misinformation", you have to realize that they were kind of right in a way. Now don't get me wrong, it was always a bad bill, even with the amendments late in the game, but how many people actually knew what was going on, and how many were just following the leader? There's a difference between "education" and "propaganda", and only those who actually understood the whole issue (which was a minority, admit it) could possibly qualify to give the former. Most of what I'm seeing now is the latter, basically boiling down to "OMG the ITU's gonna take over teh internetz!1!eleven!".

    I'm not supporting the pro-SOPA lobby in any way, I'm just saying that the critics had a point - this is a bad way to conduct a protest. We need to make sure we're not jumping to conclusions. We don't really know what they're going to do at this point, so it won't be fruitful to enter protest mode right away, because we don't really know what we'd be protesting. All the various "proposals" are at this stage just that - nothing has been decided yet. We need to give them time to produce something before we act.

    What we can do, however, is start informing people about what is happening, as opposed to what could happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    Neutral body my a$$. If they are so neutral how come they proposed killing net neutrality themselves, just months after the European telcos lobbied them to do it?

    http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/isps-ask-itunet-neutrality-81945

    http://itu4u.wordpre ss.com/2012/10/25/proposal-for-ict-and-internet-ecosystem-setting-new-rules-on-trade-order/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Dave (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    ITU conference

    How can you tell a politician is lying? His lips are moving! Fairness, like redistribution and many other terms used by politicians are nothing more than buzz words. We are very stupid but necessary obstacles to them. Without workers there are no funds to steal. Without those who create intellectual properties they have nothing to regulate - hopefully in ways that will spin off more money for them and their partners in crime around the world.
    This power grab attempt shouldn't surprise anyone. They don't give a hairy rat's backside about fairness... they are trying to get in position to control the flow of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Sounds like the US banking system bailout from 2008....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re:

    Why should anyone want to challenge you? You pose absolutely no threat. You can't even form a coherent thought on your own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Another example of why 3 year olds should not be allowed online without parental supervision..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re: ITU conference

    Don't forget about suppressing the freeflow of knowledge. With their artificial dams in place, they become the sole arbiters of what knowledge is accessible by the general public. That's their REAL motive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey! My three-year-old is much nicer and more civilised than this! :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, Mike would have empowered them to make even more.

    Haven't you read any of his articles?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 8:27am

    Well, Google has wasted no time and fired the first shot. The battle is on! https://www.google.com/takeaction/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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