ITU Goes Back On Multiple Promises: Makes Play For Internet Governance With Sneaky Surprise Vote
from the shameful dept
"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.