ITU Goes Back On Multiple Promises: Makes Play For Internet Governance With Sneaky Surprise Vote

from the shameful dept

Well, well. In response to all of the earlier criticisms of the ITU, and as part of its "social media strategy" to stave off ongoing criticism, ITU officials had made a few promises leading up to the World Conference on International Communications (WCIT). Among them: (1) changes to International Telecom Regulations (ITRs) would be done via consensus, rather than simple majority vote and (2) that the whole thing was not about internet governance. In one move, the ITU appears to have proved both of those claims to be blatantly false. Late into the night in Dubai, as there was continuing "negotiations" over whether or not any new regulations would cover internet communications, Mohamed Nasser al Ghanim, the ITU summit's chairman, claiming he wanted to get "a feel for the room" took what initially looked like an informal vote on whether or not the ITRs would cover the internet, backing a proposal brought forth by Algeria (and backed by Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Nigeria). After the vote showed a majority agreed to expand the ITRs to cover the internet, al Ghanim announced:
"The majority is with having the resolution in...The majority agreed to adopt the resolution as amended."
This took a lot of people in the room by complete surprise, given that there was repeated insistence that the focus was on consensus, and not a simple majority vote. This clearly went against promises by ITU boss Hamadoun Toure. As Declan McCullagh summarizes in the article linked above:
"In the true tradition of the ITU, we will not vote on any issues," Toure told reporters over the summer. "Voting means winners and losers, and this is not simply acceptable. And we believe that we'll come to an agreement on all of the issues." Toure had said last week that the summit "is not about Internet governance."
As the reality of what al Ghanim did began to set in, some delegates began to protest. Spain, in particular, noted "had we known that it was a vote, we might very well have acted differently." al Ghanim then, ridiculously, tried to pretend the vote was not a vote:
But after Spain objected, al Ghanim responded by saying, "no, it was not a vote," and that he had instead been looking for a "feel of the room."
That, obviously, is completely ridiculous, since he then used "the feel of the room" to say that the resolution was adopted, despite significant concerns about it.

The folks at the Internet Society are, quite reasonably, not at all happy about the situation, and called out not just the sudden and unexpected vote, but the secrecy surrounding it as well:
The Internet Society came to this meeting in the hopes that revisions to the treaty would focus on competition, liberalization, free flow of information and independent regulation - things that have clearly worked in the field of telecommunications. Instead, these concepts seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text. Additionally, and contrary to assurances that this treaty is not about the Internet, the conference appears to have adopted, by majority, a resolution on the Internet. Amendments were apparently made to the text but were not published prior to agreement.
Given that the ITU's moves here more or less confirm many of the fears that have been raised about the whole WCIT process all along, and show that Toure's statements were simply untrue, why is it that anyone believes that the ITU has any credibility on this subject any more? The whole idea that we're now allowing countries with horrid human rights records, and with little to no experience in supporting innovation-enabling technologies, to control direction of these discussions suggests that the entire ITU process is broken beyond belief.


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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:31am

    "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

    Yeah, just as Google's relation with NSA confirms several. -- Get over your fears and admit the globalist conspiracy.

    "why is it that anyone believes that the ITU has any credibility on this subject any more?" -- WHO believed that in the first place? Establish grounds.

    Oh, but THIS can't be let pass: "The whole idea that we're now allowing countries with horrid human rights records, and with little to no experience in supporting innovation-enabling technologies, to control direction of these discussions suggests that the entire ITU process is broken beyond belief."

    "we're" -- Who is this WE, Mike?
    "allowing" -- Does this WE run the world?
    "horrid human rights records" -- Such as invading countries on false pretext, bombing the hell out of them and killing a million, flattening entire cities as collective punishment, (Fallujah), seizing their resources, putting in place a mercenary army that can murder for sport, transporting persons overseas to cages without rights, systematic torture for amusement of guards -- THAT kind of human rights record?

     

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      Cory of PC (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:49am

      Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

      Again, we're supposed to take you seriously? I rather back gorehound than support your crazy conspiracy, Blue.

      And to answer your question: "we're" is referring to the public, that got these people in charge to get these people who are at the ITU there and make these decisions, "allowing" is saying that we, the people, can't do squat because we don't have the power to stop them, and... well, I got nothing on the last part.

      ... Well I could be totally off on that! But at least I can figure that out better than you can!

      Blue... there's an entire world out there, both digitally and realistically. Please, from another human being, get off your lazy behind, walk to the front door and step outside. Take your keys with you, lock the door, and don't go back inside until the day is over with. Then maybe once you have some fresh outdoor air, maybe you'll think better instead of sounding like a crazy conspiracy theorist (not saying that you're already one).

       

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        gorehound (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

        We do not want to have the ITU/UN put in charge of the Internet or have the ability to Control it.
        We will not want Nations like Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, ETC laying Laws down concerning the Internet.

        This whole thing happening is a Combo of Two things:
        Money............the usual reason throughout our known History.Money makes the greedy Happy !

        Control:
        Those in power can see the Natives are getting Restless ! And they have ways to get their Platform Out thru the Internet.Those in power do not like that Upstart pesky Internet.They want to Control it and Silence Dissent.

         

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          The Real Michael, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 9:10am

          Re: Re: Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

          "Control:
          Those in power can see the Natives are getting Restless ! And they have ways to get their Platform Out thru the Internet.Those in power do not like that Upstart pesky Internet.They want to Control it and Silence Dissent."

          This moreso than money. After all, they've already consoldated most of the wealth. As you mentioned, they sense the growing dissent and want to clamp down on it.

           

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      Rich, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:49am

      Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

      You'd argue if Mike said the sky was blue.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

        The sky is brown! That blue crap is a lie that google paid Mike to say to futher the world into a global dictatorship!

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:53am

      Re: "more or less confirm many of the fears..."

      Your tinfoil hat is loose, let me tighten it for you

       

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      G Thompson (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:19am

      Out_of_his_gourd is an

      IGNORANUS - n: A person who is not only ignorant, but is also an asshole. eg: out_of_the_blue is absolutely and unashamedly an Ignoranus

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:55am

        Re: Out_of_his_gourd is an

        Without addressing his points, you run the risk of being called the same thing. Personally, I have to agree that any ITU action is an international joke and holding out the US as a leading light in the area of human rights is laughable.

         

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          Wally (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:10am

          Re: Re: Out_of_his_gourd is an

          Blue's reputation is so great and his writing is so disorganized that in certain cases it's difficult to understand his rants or rebuttals to the article. OOTB, I do have respect for your gull this time around, my only tip is to get a college level English writing class under your belt and take a communications class.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 9:28am

          Re: Re: Out_of_his_gourd is an

          His 'points' have been proven false time and time again to the point that his name is associated with lying and misinformation. His 'points' no longer need to be addressed and he only need further be mocked and ridiculed.

           

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    Confused in Absentia, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Authority?

    I have been following TD's articles about the ITU, but it seems to me there's a logical leap that has not been explained.

    Suppose the ITU ratifies its resolution to govern the Internet. How then does it have the authority to govern? Who will enforce the rules on every ISP around the world? What penalties apply for not following the rules?

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 5:58am

      Re: Authority?

      Suppose the ITU ratifies its resolution to govern the Internet. How then does it have the authority to govern? Who will enforce the rules on every ISP around the world? What penalties apply for not following the rules?

      It is true that it does not have authority directly to govern or enforce -- but it is generally considered the rulemaking body for many of these issues -- and the rules it comes up with quite frequently then show up in laws and treaties around the globe.

      Could a country (i.e., the US) ignore them? Yes, but it would be a big deal, as the ITU's rules tend to be generally accepted...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:08am

        Re: Re: Authority?

        The ITU rules tend to be generally accepted because people respect them. Bad moves like this one can make them lose that respect.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Authority?

          Who's "them" if the majority of these countries seemed to have agreed to expanded control over the Internet?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Authority?

            Spain and the rest of Europe and probably parts of SEA, Japan, South Korea and oceania. I will admit that many of even those countries politically want a more international governing body as opposed to the existing purely UK/US bodies, but I am certain that they have dropped the idea of using ITU after China and Russia has embraced ITU as the savior of all good in the world.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re: Authority?

        Wasn't there a unanimous Congressional resolution telling the ITU to back off? Seems like a big joke, as Congress is already on the record calling bullshit. Not once have I seen the US placidly accept a UN resolution that it didn't agree with. Why would this be different. This story seems like alarmist nonsense and a waste of time.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Authority?

          And the other 200 countries care about what US did...because?!

          US doesn't have veto power here. All the other countries can adopt the proposals if they want. Stop thinking that just because US rejected it, it means the whole thing fell. It didn't.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Authority?

            90% of the internet is based in, passes through or is managed by US-based organizations, entities, infrastructure et. al.

            If the US decides that this will not happen, those 200 are pretty powerless to do anything about it without enormous downside.

            You may not like that, but that's the reality. It's also true in a lot of other areas, not just the internet. Despite Europe & China and others, the US still has tremendous power, more than any other single entity. With the internet, it has dominance if not complete power.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:17am

          Re: Re: Re: Authority?

          The Congress doesn't even seem to support an UN Resolution, that is modeled on American Law, with bi-partisan support.

           

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        Wally (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re: Authority?

        Mike there are some variable factors about the US that the ITU hasn't counted on. We account for over 60% of the world's web server traffic. We own over half the connecting nodes at a global scale and websites, and I'm absolutely sure that the ITU can suck it when it comes to the authority that the US actually holds over the rest of the world over the World Wide Web. I'm not talking about US government agency control, I'm talking about our nation's netizens.

        As far as the ITU is concerned to the US senate, I had my uncle, who is a retired economics lawyer, look over the US senate resolution against ITU control of the internet over and over again. His conclusion is that it was not just a vote to vote no to the WITC resolution, but flat out boycott the ITU for trying to regulate Internet traffic.

        As for my opinion, the ITU can go F**K itself for this. There have been many instances where they have messed with the global economy on a disastrous scale.

         

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        Bill Price, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 12:42am

        Re: Re: Authority?

        Years ago, when I was involved with international standards-setting organizations (SSO), one of the first things we were told was that an international SSO derived such legitimacy as it had by the consensus process, rather than a 'majority rules' scheme. Consensus was (rather loosely) defined as the absence of significant opposition. This is the process that the ITU meeting was operating under ó until the chair surprised everyone by declaring a straw poll to be a 'majority rules' decision, despite significant opposition from multiple member countries.
        If what we were told was true for all international SSOs (I found it affirmed in e. g. the ISO directives) and if it still holds, then ITU may have declared itself to be illegitimate by its own rules.
        Of course, ISO de-legitimized itself by the way it allowed Microsoft to buy the IS26900 (is that the right number?) adoption some years ago, by the chair refusing to recognize significant opposition — and IS26900 has still not been implemented by anyone, including its buyer.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:54am

      Re: Authority?

      You don't understand how UN works. These are basically national governments deciding this stuff. THEY will enforce it in each country where they agreed to do it. And the ISP's will fully support it, too, especially if they get their part about killing net neutrality and charging all content providers for the content ran through their network.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:06am

    ISO shenanigans all over again

    This reminds me of all the ISO shenanigans during the OOXML process. It seems the way these old technical bodies are designed does not resist well against malicious manipulation.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:21am

      Re: ISO shenanigans all over again

      Of course they don't because the committees and representatives are the power seekers, and not the technicians. They are more interested in how do we maintain control, that in what works best.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 6:13am

    Late into the night in Dubai

    Late into the night in Dubai... (what a magical scene!)

    How much had they been drinking? Was there dancing, too? Or just a fine mealóbefore getting down to the very serious business.

    And are they hung-over and foul-tempered in the morning?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:00am

    Does anyone here believe the United Nations has credibility?

     

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    Rekrul, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:04am

    How did anyone not see this coming?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 7:50am

    How are those petitions and peaceful protests working out for you?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    This is exactly why people should never trust bureaucracies.

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Who cares what the ITU says?

    the world ends in a week anyway!

    /sarcasm

    The US should just leave the U.N. and stop paying their way. We have mostly lost our influence, and I doubt we will be getting it back anytime soon, our leaders are too busy fighting among themselves to even see what is going on around them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:14pm

    Oh great, the Islams control the internet. I can't wait for my Google start page to be replace with pictures of Muhammad and verses from the Qur'an about how women have to wear GPS tracking devices that page their husbands when they cross state lines. This is what the ITU has turned into. I think it's time for America to exit the ITU.

     

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    Carl, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 3:47pm

    What a great Christmas present! I was hoping the ITU would oppress my internet connection.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 17th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Don't mess with my internets.

     

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