US Hypocrisy: Supports Open Dialog On Internet Governance At WCIT; But Full Secrecy At Parallel TPP Negotiations

from the hypocrites dept

Back in October, we pointed out how the US delegation to the ITU WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) was pushing for much more openness and transparency for the notoriously closed and secretive process that could impact internet governance. That was certainly refreshing to see. But it also stood in stark contrast to the same US government's massively secretive and opaque process to the Trans-Pacific Parntership agreement -- which could have just as much, if not more, of an impact on internet governance issues.

With negotiations on both issues happening simultaneously (WCIT in Dubai and TPP negotiations in New Zealand) it seems quite crazy to see the US speaking out vehemently in favor of greater openness and transparency in Dubai, while actively trying to prevent similar transparency in Auckland. Here's the State Department on WCIT:
On the eve of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), we believe that it is the right time to reaffirm the U.S. Government's commitment to the multistakeholder model as the appropriate process for addressing Internet policy and governance issues. The multistakeholder model has enabled the Internet to flourish. It has promoted freedom of expression, both online and off. It has ensured the Internet is a robust, open platform for innovation, investment, economic growth and the creation of wealth throughout the world, including in developing countries.

[....] The Internet's decentralized, multistakeholder processes enable us all to benefit from the engagement of all interested parties. By encouraging the participation of industry, civil society, technical and academic experts, and governments from around the globe, multistakeholder processes result in broader and more creative problem solving. This is essential when dealing with the Internet, which thrives through the cooperation of many different parties.

The global community has many serious topics to discuss with respect to the Internet. Collectively, we need to ensure that these matters are taken up in suitable multistakeholder venues so that these discussions are well informed by the voices of all interested parties.

Our commitment to the multistakeholder model is based on the fact that transparency, inclusion and participation are the 21st century standards governing discussions related to modern communications.
Yet, over in New Zealand, US officials, as well as negotiatiors from others countries, are taking the opposite view. They're doubling down on secrecy, not transparency. They are not using a "multistakeholder" model at all, but rather locking out civil society and public interest groups. They've ignored or limited the ability of the innovation industry to have any say in the proceedings at all, and (most ridiculously) they're enforcing a secrecy policy many times worse than what we see at the ITU with WCIT. Many of the documents from WCIT have leaked out, while precautions mainly driven by the US government have, to date, limited the leaks from TPP negotiations.

It's really quite incredible that the same government can make those claims about openness, transparency and the importance of a multistakeholder process on the one hand, while going in the opposite direction on basically the same exact issue at the very same time for an event held elsewhere. The whole thing stinks of hypocrisy, which could easily be solved by opening up the TPP process, revealing the negotiating documents for public comment, and allowing the public into the process. After all, in the words of the US government:
We have and will continue to advocate for an Internet that is not dominated by any one player or group of players, and one that is free from bureaucratic layers that cannot keep up with the pace of change. We will work with everyone to ensure that we have a global Internet that allows all voices to be heard.
If only the US government would listen to that important message.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    timlash (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Exception

    I think you're allowed to simultaneously hold diametrically opposed positions as long as you do it on opposite sides of the earth. Dubai and NZ may qualify.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    arcan, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    The issue is not that the US doesn't want the secrecy and closedness of the ITU to go away. however, the US does not have a significant presence in the ITU, as it is primarily controlled by massive telcos due to regulatory capture. So the US is not fighting the secrecy of the ITU, in reality it wants said secrecy. the issue is that by giving the ITU governance of the internet, it means the United States would lose all regulatory power over the internet at large. They are fighting to keep as much power over it as possible in the United States. Trying to get the public interest groups in is just them attempting to use the EFF and others to try and stop the agenda of the ITU to make the internet owned internationally instead of the majority of the power over it being based in the US.

    TPP on the other hand, is practically dominated by the United States. So by keeping as tight of a lid as possible on it, the US will attempt to gain even more power over the world wide internet, not even mentioning all the special interest catering involved and other economic issues.

    So to recap, the fight against the ITU is not based on our interest. It is the ITU saying you have too much power give us some, and the US going F*** YOU not happening.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

    Re:

    The US Gov does lie and uses Dis-Information but we Techies are a lot smarter than the Normals.
    to bad the Normals are so many sheep and we Techies are so few Compared to them.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    "The issue is not that the US doesn't want the secrecy and closedness of the ITU to go away. however, the US does not have a significant presence in the ITU, as it is primarily controlled by massive telcos due to regulatory capture. So the US is not fighting the secrecy of the ITU, in reality it wants said secrecy. the issue is that by giving the ITU governance of the internet, it means the United States would lose all regulatory power over the internet at large. They are fighting to keep as much power over it as possible in the United States. Trying to get the public interest groups in is just them attempting to use the EFF and others to try and stop the agenda of the ITU to make the internet owned internationally instead of the majority of the power over it being based in the US."

    Funny, they don't seem to like it when others negotiate over taking power out of their hands. Now they know how it feels to not have a voice a-la the citizens with regards to the TPP negotiations. It doesn't feel too good, does it?

    Do as we say, not as we do, right?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Advantages

    It is simply a case of which approach is most advantagegeous in each forum. It opposes the ITU because it proposals would taske money away from American companies so public opposition is to its benefit. With TPP on the otherhand, its proposals benefit American companies, but are opposed by the public. See its simple really.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    I know!

    Let's all go sign petitions and wave signs! That fixes everything!

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    arcan, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re:

    which is why I mentioned that in my second paragraph :D

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    arcan, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Exception

    I think NZ is only about 90 degrees from dubai, but I am not sure...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Uh-huh. Our government and their constituents encouraged this sort of behavior and, because other nations emulate our behavior, now the tables are turned.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Of cource they are not hypocrits. What a terrible thing to say. It is just a definitional issue of you not understanding the correct definitions of the words. Let me educate you:

    Transparency is about giving full access to your friends and keeping your enemies access at a minimum. That should already be in the textbooks since the victors write history!

    Participation means agreeing with the US negotiators on every issue of importance and granting US negotiators full veto power. If US negotiators agree with you, the participation is 100 %. If you disagree with the US negotiators your participation is 0 and you are therefore not participating. If the US negotiators do not have have veto power, US negotiator will not participate and the participation of the ensuing process will therefore be 0.

    Why people cannot see reason in Orwellian definitions is beyond me!

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Exception

    **whoosh**

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    anon, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    laugh laugh laugh

    The are playing with the system that will destroy them, I dont think they know or realise how much people care about there internet, and the ability to use it as we want. Underground internet that is unbreakable will soon appear, and the little control they have now will disappear totally.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Exception

    You missed the obvious answer: the paradox crumple-zones of New Zealand are much better, thus the greater movie industry performance of late.

     

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

  14.  
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    Wally (profile), Dec 5th, 2012 @ 4:28pm

    UPDATE:

    The US senate voted upon whether or not the ITU should have control over the Internet and it was a nearly unanimous vote against the idea.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/05/us_votes_against_itu_internet_control/

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    arcan, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Exception

    I understood the joke, I just felt like being captain obvious and pointing that out.

     

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


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