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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  1. icon
    Alana (profile), 23 Aug 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Well, at least they're being open about being douchebags.

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