ITU: Travel All The Way To Dubai… And Then We'll Decide If You Can Attend Our Meeting On Internet Governance

from the not-really-that-open dept

We’ve talked a bit about how the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) — a part of the UN — is getting ready for a big meeting in Dubai in December (the “World Conference on International Telecommunications” — WCIT), where it will seek to put in place some new internet governance rules. There are significant concerns that the rules being discussed will favor certain governments and fracture the internet, by letting incumbent international telcos both tax internet usage and track all usage (potentially blocking anonymous usage). Part of the problem, of course, is that the ITU has been extraordinarily secretive.

In response to the criticism, the ITU is claiming that it will now be more open, including making the various draft plans publicly accessible. Still, it often looks like they’re making empty gestures towards openness, rather than showing any real commitment towards it. Take, for example, the FAQ the ITU released (pdf and embedded below) about the WCIT, in which they say that the public is welcome to come all the way to Dubai… to find out if they’ll be allowed in the meeting. Seriously.


At the opening of WCIT-12 the Secretary-General of ITU will propose that the public be allowed to be present at the conference venue, in line with the practical arrangements adopted at similar ITU conferences. A formal decision on admitting the public will be taken at a meeting of the heads of delegations on the first day of the conference. This would permit the public to attend plenary sessions and certain committee meetings. Webcasts of plenary sessions are also planned.

Got that? Fly to Dubai, show up, and then wait for them to take a vote on whether or not to let you in. If they decide not to let you in, then, um… well… I guess you can enjoy the world’s largest shopping mall while a bunch of bureaucrats who don’t understand the internet carve it up and break it apart next door. That’s not exactly being “open” to the public, now, is it?

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Comments on “ITU: Travel All The Way To Dubai… And Then We'll Decide If You Can Attend Our Meeting On Internet Governance”

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Scote (profile) says:

Dubai, where you will be jailed for having eaten a popy seed bagel.

Dubai, where you can be jailed for having eaten a poppy seed bagel.

“Meanwhile, a Swiss national is serving a four-year jail term after three poppy seeds from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow airport were found on his clothes. “

Or for having stepped on a milimeter sized piece of cannibals.

“Briton jailed for four years in Dubai after customs find cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar under his shoe”

I wouldn’t travel to Dubai for any reason.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dubai, where you will be jailed for having eaten a popy seed bagel.

Q: Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

A: So they can hide in cherry trees.

Q: Did you ever see an elephant in a cherry tree?

A: Hide pretty good don’t they.

Q: Why should you never go in the jungle between 2:00 & 4:00?

A: Because that is when the elephants are jumping out of the cherry trees.

Q: Why are pygmies so short?

A: Because they go in the jungle between 2:00 & 4:00.

Q: What do you find between an elephant’s toes?

A: Slow running pygmies.

Sorry but the stepping on cannibals remark triggered a childhood memory dump.

Anonymous Coward says:

SOPA/PIPA stand ins. will have just as disastrous effects but will be fucked up by different, but equally clueless idiots, just the same. why is it that those that know the least about something always seem to think that they have the best ideas and ways to make it better? equally as important, who the hell decides who is on these committees and who is going to be in charge, patients from Bedlam? that’s all that they manage to create!

Anonymous Coward says:

Got that? Fly to Dubai, show up, and then wait for them to take a vote on whether or not to let you in.

I think you should go Mike. Let’s do a little fundraising for your airfare and send you. You can demand your right to participate, exercise your free speech rights and set these cavemen straight on how things should be. Then after a few months of solitary confinement and after a couple of good canings, you can come back and let us know how it went.

Ninja (profile) says:

It is amusing and sad how they seek to put guidelines and such things in place for a structure that’s essentially composed and nurtured by people and yet they lock the people out of such decisions.

I wonder how hard it is to take into account what the people want. Sure the companies earn money but ultimately, aren’t the companies composed and dependent on these very same ppl they are screwing? Makes no sense.

anon says:


I wonder how much time and money they have thrown at this agreement. I wonder how many man hours are being wasted.
Do they not realise that the people have the power now to stop them from being implemented and as with other agreements that have cost millions upon millions to get to the point where politicians vote on it, money is just being wasted.

If anything the problem the politicians have is the thing they have been trying to do for a long time, bring countries together under one form of government. The people are just beating them to the punch and taking that power for themselves and not giving it to the politicians. It is a form of one world order but where the people are in control not the power hungry Machiavellian politicians or people behind the curtains whispering in there ears.

They should have learnt by now that no agreement will force people to change there ways and in fact these attempts at passing a trade agreement are only building a stronger internet force to combat them. This agreement will go nowhere, and the politicians need to realise or accept that nothing done in private that is against the public at large will ever be condoned. Yes they might get trade agreements some through using methods that are unethical but they will do it, what they need to understand is there will be a backlash and the people will either punish those doing it or use the power of the internet to make those laws worthless.
Remember as with copyright laws, when a law becomes obsolete or unfair people just ignore them or find ways around them.
I would say I wish them luck but I don’t , I think they are digging the hole this agreement will fall into and when it does they have only got themselves to blame. I just feel sad that those that are using the trade agreements for good are losing the chance to change things for the better. But this just shows that anyone wanting a trade agreement has to limit the content to real change for the better and not allow anyone to corrupt it by inserting stupid laws that people will not ever accept.

Anonymous Coward says:

Mesh networks

This is why we need mesh networks.
Bypass the TelCos and the ISP?s and government regulations.
Every wireless router and device should have mesh capability so that when the revolution comes it won?t matter that the government cut off the internet, we will still be able to share information and communicate thru the mesh networks. Shhh?.don?t tell the current administration about this, we don?t want them to declare operating mesh networks punishable by death before we take back our rights.

lindysmith26 says:

Awesome Article!

I consider the amount of time and cash they have tossed at this understanding. I think about what number of man hours are being squandered. Just check out

Do they not understand that the individuals have the influence now to prevent them from being actualized and as with different assertions that have taken a toll millions upon millions to come to the heart of the matter where lawmakers vote on it, cash is simply being squandered.

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