Who Signed The ITU WCIT Treaty… And Who Didn't

from the the-full-list dept

We already noted this morning that the US, a bunch of European countries, and a sprinkling of other nations around the globe have refused to sign the new ITR agreement put together at the ITU’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), even as ITU officials congratulate themselves on a job well done. Many people have asked who signed and who didn’t. The ITU has an official list of signatures, which seems to slightly conflict with some earlier reports. Here’s their graphic:

Perhaps more useful is this map, in which the signing countries are in black and the non-signing are in red. You might notice a few patterns.
Also, reporter Dave Burstein kindly sent along the full list (embedded below), with signatories in green, non-signatories in red and everyone else in white. The “everyone else” apparently includes countries who haven’t paid up their dues and thus can’t technically sign on yet, or who don’t “have their credentials in order.” In other words: bureaucratic blah blah blah. Europe, of course, dominates the non-signing countries. It’s somewhat meaningless, but if you tally up population, the signatories cover 3.8 billion people, while the non-signatories cover 2.6 billion. And there are another ~600 million in play in those other countries.

So, what does it all mean? Very little right now. Even those countries that signed on still need to go through a ratification process — and one hopes that people in some of those countries will realize that it’s bad to be supporting a regime that wants political bureaucrats having anything to do with the internet, even if it’s dipping a toe in the water. However, many of the countries don’t much care about that, and simply want the new rules so they can try to control parts of the internet (and/or profit from it). The rules won’t actually go into effect for a while. While they aren’t binding, it is pretty customary for signatories to eventually adopt such rules locally.

The real story here is a world in which there are two competing visions for the future of the internet — one driven by countries who believe the internet should be more open and free… and one driven by the opposite. Whether or not the ITU treaty is ever meaningful or effective, these two visions of the internet are unlikely to go away any time soon. The next decade is going to be filled with similar clashes as certain countries seek to limit what the internet can do, for their own political needs and desires. Seeing the initial breakdown of who’s in which camp is useful, but this isn’t over yet.

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Comments on “Who Signed The ITU WCIT Treaty… And Who Didn't”

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out_of_the_blue says:

"So, what does it all mean? Very little right now."

And THERE we agree at last! Geez, will you QUIT Masnicking this NON-story?

I’m giving up on you again until at least Monday morning.

Every click for Mike “Streisand Effect” Masnick is a click for him!
His fame now depends totally on you! He’s done all he can!

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: What saddens me most...

On a more serious thought to South Korea. Every telecom there is completely monopolized. They hold a bidding war every few years to see which telecom gets the “government contract”, in which total control of the state media goes under control to the highest bid…I mean bribe.

Now what’s interesting this is that the citizens in South Korea (especially in Seol….I had an aunt in Army Intelligence stationed there) always find a way around this. The South Korean Government probably knows of that fact and of course I was not surprised of their vote to yes.

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

I don't know where the chart comes from but it's wrong

I just heard both representatives from Egypt & Tunisia on the BBC World Service explain that the internet before their revolutions was controlled and it’s now free and they would never support anything that attempted to control it, thus refused to sign…

So someone is lying, my guess it’s the ITU who is ‘wishful thinking’ a positive result.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:


one driven by countries who believe the internet should be more open and free… and one driven by the opposite.

Or that could be read as “One driven by countries who like the control where it is and want to expand it in their own way for their own ends and one by those that want to get their noses in the trough…..”

Kevin (profile) says:

No surpise

The countries that produce 90% of the world’s music haven’t signed.
Now if the whole thing was based on the number of votes allowed was based on the actual contribution each county makes to the world’s music it would be a grand slam decision to bury the idea.
Like the UN 80% of the vote represents counties on the take side and 20% on those who give. Warped.

Anonymous Coward says:

The real story here is a world in which there are two competing visions for the future of the internet — one driven by countries who believe the internet should be more open and free… and one driven by the opposite.

If you take this story alone, you could come to that conclusion. But when you look at things like SOPA/PIPA, TPP, ACTA (and to some extent bills like FISA, CISPA, and the Patriot Act), I see a government (and her allies) working very strategically to control the internet. All I see with this initiative is the rest of the world trying to force their hands into that systematic control.

Matt says:

TechPresident posted an excellent piece (http://techpresident.com/news/23263/internet-freedom-activists-dubai-warning-finally-live-inclusive-label-or-else) on why some developing countries, even those with democratically elected governments, might support ITU oversight of the Internet.

Essentially, the piece’s thesis is that the organizations which currently administer the Internet are dominated by western Europeans and North Americans speaking English. Developing countries don’t understand how these organizations work or how to get their voice heard there.

In contrast, UN-affiliated organizations like the ITU are “a known table that every country knows they have a seat at”.

I don’t think the ITU should be running things either. But it’s probably too simplistic to say any country that supported ITU oversight of the Internet did so because they want to limit freedoms.

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