White House: We Will Not Support An ITU Treaty That Blurs Telecom Infrastructure With The Info That Crosses Over It

from the good-for-them dept

While the US's position on the ITU discussions at the World Conference on International Telecommunications has been pretty clear from the beginning, to put an exclamation point on it, the White House put out a statement saying that it will not support an agreement that tries to expand the ITU's mandate beyond telecom infrastructure and into the world of what happens on that infrastructure. The key paragraph:
But we should not confuse telecommunications infrastructure with the information that traverses it. The global consensus for a free and open Internet is overwhelming. Millions in the United States and around the world have already added their voices to this conversation, and their position is clear: they do not want the WCIT to govern the Internet or legitimize more state control over online content. Our Administration could not agree more – and will not support a treaty that sets that kind of precedent.
This is the key point. Many in the ITU seem to want to blur the distinction between the infrastructure itself and the information that runs over it. They believe that their mandate over "telecommunications" includes the specific "communications" that run over those networks. That's a massive rewriting of history. Their mandate is supposed to be focused on the technological infrastructure, rather than how it is used.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 11:31am

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20717774

    The US, UK, and Canada are the ones leading the charge against the ITU. They want to be the ones who control the Internet.

    "Russia, China and Saudi Arabia were among those pushing for the change."

    That one sentence tells you all you need to know about the motives behind the proposed treaty.

     

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  2.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Maybe I'm cynical but...

    I'll believe them if they stick to their guns for say, a week, and don't issue a statement within the next few days saying that they were just voicing their displeasure about the proceedings, and will actually be fine with agreeing to whatever gets proposed and passed.

     

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  3.  
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    Jay (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    Sneaking suspicion

    Why do I feel that this debate on the ITU is more of a divide and conquer routine from the US?

    We can't get anything on either document without a lot of secrecy and both are harmful to innovation globally.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    On the world stage the anti regulation countries would like to see political change in the pro regulation countries. Further they are not worried that the pro regulation countries will influence their own people for a political change. The pro regulation countries however do fear the influence of the anti regulation countries in fostering political changes in their countries.
    The fighting over this issue is about par for world politics, where on country should respect the sovereignty of another, but tries to use social effect to get changes.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    It is pretty clear why USA and UK have a stake in this. W3C (Tim Berners-Lee and the brits controlling HTTP, HTML and other code development basically) combined with ICANN ("internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers" in Los Angeles) are the rulers of the internet.

    That is why the strong pushers for change is actually more important and why this article is a bit superfluous. The EU countries (excluding United Kingdom) opinions are far more important.

    It is not many years ago ICANN was under attack from european politicians. They wanted an international organisation at that time. ITU was seen as somewhat acceptable to look at but with Russia and China giving it warm support the politicians pulled back in their statements.

     

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  6.  
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    Qritiqal (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    The United States of America is pretty much the only country left on the planet that supports free speech.

    The other countries you mention want to wrest control away from the US because they want to quash free speech, and NO other reason.

     

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  7.  
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    Trevor (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Maybe I'm cynical but...

    I doubt that, seeing how the US has been weary of ANY type of UN treaty that might infringe on US sovereignty, even if that treaty really doesn't (see: UN Child protection treaty that got shut down in congress for harming our sovereignty when in reality it was a weaker version of laws already on the books IN THE US...)

    That is, until the M*AA comes out for it.....

     

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  8.  
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    Anon, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Free speech in the USA is like GPL, free as in beer. The end user is free to receive the free speech, but the person making the speech may not be free to make it.

    rofl, my post is so wrong, but I find it funny.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

    they only blur that distinction because they are allowed to. if countries were to draw the lines clearly over everything, there wouldn't be so much of this 'i am in charge of this bit but i want to be in charge of this bit too, so i am going to take that as well'

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re:

    LOL! That's the best laugh I've had all day! You're quite the comedian!

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Maybe I'm cynical but...

    see: UN Child protection treaty that got shut down in congress for harming our sovereignty when in reality it was a weaker version of laws already on the books IN THE US...


    So what if it was a weaker version of laws already on the books in the US?

    Every single state in the US has a law against murder. It is a very serious crime—and all 50 states outlaw it. Nevertheless, I would oppose a general statute against murder at the federal level. As would many people. Further, I even suspect most Congressmen would oppose a general federal statute against murder—or at least nobody has put a federal murder bill into the hopper and sent it off to committee.

    As a nation, we are basically committed to the idea that not every piece of legislation should be global.

    You going to accuse all of us of being “pro-murder”? “Support a federal murder statute or you're the worst of the worst!!!Eleventy!One!”   Well, I guess that's politics. You're free to make the charge, see if the newspapers will pick it up, see if it'll sway the electorate.    I guess that's politics.

    So...   so what if it was a weaker version of laws already on the books in the US?

    So what?

     

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  12.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Doesn't the White House's statement conflict with its actions on ACTA and TPP?

     

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  13.  
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    Ed C., Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Line...what line?

    Many in the ITU seem to want to blur the distinction between the infrastructure itself and the information that runs over it.

    Yet the White House conveniently forgets that this line exist when it wants to spy on that information to "fight terrorism", or when the MAFIAA wants to push more copyright enforcement. Thanks, but I'll start taking the Pres' stance on this seriously when he starts applying more consistently.

     

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  14.  
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    Ed C., Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    Re:

    Beat me to the punch.

     

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  15.  
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    Trevor (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm cynical but...

    Well.

    I agree with you regarding a a general pro murder statute, but that is a straw man argument to my point.

    The UN treaty on Child welfare was a set of GUIDELINES that countries were ENCOURAGED to design their own laws to conform to. There was NO ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM in the treaty. Additionally, the treaty was based on laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS in the USA, except they were somewhat watered down. The treaty in this scenario didn't make UN the sole arbitrator on all disputes involving children in the US, it merely created a framework that UN members could pledge to follow. This is redundant for the US because THE UN RESOLUTION IS BASED ON OUR FEDERAL LAWS, SO BY PLEDGING THE US WOULD BE PLEDGING TO IMPLEMENT LAWS BASED ON US LAWS. /logic.

    Anyhow, the example you put forth on Murder is different because you are assuming a UN mandate that signatories place a specific law (although general in nature) regarding a crime that affects all states and the federal government, with a means of enforcing said law via the UN, is a direct infringement of the country's ability to govern itself. The example I gave isn't that - it's a pledge to develop laws to promote child well being, as the UN laws as a guide.

    Finally, back to my point, which you kind of helped me prove:

    The US is very paranoid when it comes to UN treaties that MIGHT infringe on the country's rights (for example, above mentioned UN treaty about the children that you love so much) and didn't approve it. This ITU WCIT proposal would be taking away rights and imposing restrictions on rights Americans (used to) have regarding freedom of speech, expression, etc. over the internet. If a treaty that MIGHT infringe won't pass muster in the US congress, a treaty that WILL infringe definitely won't get approved, and I'm sure the US will use its influence to shut that whole thing down.

    :)

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe I'm cynical but...

    The example I gave isn't that - it's a pledge to develop laws to promote child well being, as the UN laws as a guide.


    Oh, so your example is really more like yesterday's (Dec 12, 2012) Congressional action:
    World Peace Corps Mission and the World Peace Prize: Senate agreed to S. Res. 614, celebrating the World Peace Corps Mission and the World Peace Prize.

    2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Senate agreed to S. Res. 615, congratulating the recipients of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    (Both examples pulled from the Daily Digest—it appears that the Government Printing Office hasn't sent the text to the Library of Congresss, so they aren't up on Thomas yet.)

    Anyhow, in that case, I CAN FUCKING SEE WHY YOU'RE SHOUTING.   THAT IS GOD-DAMN OUTRAGEOUS.   YOU ARE PERFECTLY RIGHT.   IT IS AN ABSOLUTE TRAVESTY.   A MOCKERY.    I SAY AGAIN —— A MOCKERY.    A 100 PER-CENT MOCKERY.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    I want to believe the White House, I really do. Hopefully the White House honestly feels the world needs a free internet, because I'd hate to think the only reason they're taking this stance is because of lobbyist stuffing money in the shirt pocket. Either way, I'll be keeping a weary eye on the White House and the rest of the world, because the internet is humanities greatest invention and we don't need it becoming perverted because of a 'select few'.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:03pm

    Re:

    Why would lobbyists stuffing politicians' pockets for a free and open Internet be a bad thing?

     

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  19.  
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    F!, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re:

    Did you just hatch yesterday? Have you experienced the state of Free Speech in the USA recently? Still more free than some totalitarian states to be sure, but that's not saying much.

    At least we're still free to argue about how free it may or may not be, but for how much longer?

     

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  20.  
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    Lord Binky, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Sounds reasonable, just like the 'information services' called Internet Service Providers should not be confused with the information or 'content' that traverses it.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    These people are just playing with our lives, we mean nothing to them but pawns on a chess piece

    The global consensus for a free and open and "non-surveiled" Internet is overwhelming

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    Г

     

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

  23.  
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    Yfhugr, Jan 8th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    Fghuhmim

    Waft ghû
    Oink
    Inimitable

     

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

  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re:

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 13th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

     

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


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