Internet Governance

WTPF Day Three Summary

WTPF Day Three opened with Working Group 3 and discussion of the proposed new Opinion drafted by Brazil on “Operationalizing the role of Government in the multistakeholder framework for Internet Governance”. This new Opinion was redrafted from the Brazilian contribution and suggestions they received during discussion on Day Two. The Opinion deals with the role ITU could play in strengthening the capacity of countries to deal with Internet related issues within the mandate of ITU. After significant debate it was determined that there was not enough time to address the proposal and suggestions ranged from directing the continued discussion to the Council Working Group on International Internet Policy to having the topic handled by the Internet Governance Forum. The discussion did not necessarily limit the work to one specific forum, however it became clear that those in favor of the Opinion preferred the ITU as they indicated that it has a very prominent and large role to play in the discussion of governments and multistakeholder engagement.

The WTPF Closing Plenary formally approved the six draft Opinions with the editorial changes inserted in Opinions 5 and 6 to reflect modifications proposed by India. The Brazilian Opinion was also discussed again and the same conclusions were reached. The work will continue in many forums and Brazil welcomes others to assist them in the dialogue and development of the path forward.

Internet Governance

Day Two at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum

WTPF Day Two started with  Working Group 2 discussion on the two draft IP Addressing Opinions (Opinion 3 on “Supporting capacity building for the deployment of IPv6” and Opinion 4 on “In support of IPv6 Adoption and Transition from IPv4”). Contributions proposing modifications to the Opinions were presented and discussed. One item that was debated was the proposal to add an additional instructs section to Opinion 3 to include the Secretary General’s responsibility to ensure transition and adoption of IPv6 address.  After discussion, it was determined that the responsibility should be directed to the ITU’s Development Sector and this would be noted in the meeting report. Opinion 3 was adopted without any modifications as a result.  In addition there were no comments for Opinion 4 and it was adopted as written.

WTPF Day Two then moved into Working Group 3 and a robust discussion on Opinion 5 “Supporting multistakeholderism in Internet governance” and 6 “On supporting operationalizing the enhanced cooperation process” which took up the majority of the morning and afternoon sessions. Stakeholders worked quickly and listened to concerns and agreed to both Opinions 5 and 6. Critical issues were discussed in the afternoon that had been raised by several countries that focus on the role of Government in the management of the Internet, and the need for Governments to have a forum to discuss issues and make decisions.  Some stakeholders supported the current model, others support the need for the ITU to play a role as a place for those discussions. At the heart of the debate for some governments is whether or not the current model is effective, and how to strengthen the role of governments in Internet governance and how to operationalize their role. Discussion will continue in Day 3 to determine whether an additional Opinion should emerge from this debate based on the contributions from Brazil and Russia.

Internet Governance

Opening day at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum

The WTPF is well underway. On Day One, Tuesday, 14 May, the majority of the day was spent hearing opening statements from stakeholders.It was encouraging to hear many governments stress the importance of the multi-stakeholder model. Discussions on this topic are sure to pre-occupy stakeholders throughout this meeting. Internet Society’s CEO, Lynn St. Amour, was one of the many stakeholders that provided opening statements. She stressed that “those who favor the existing model of multi-stakeholder development should redouble their efforts to understand the underlying concerns of governments. These governments are concerned about inter-alia security, privacy and consumer protection. Governments have a stake in these areas, and they need to be part of the Multi-stakeholder discussions.” You can find the full text of ISOC’s opening statement here.

The second half of Day One saw the meeting discuss Opinion 1 on IXPs and Opinion 2 on Broadband. Stakeholders provided their views on these issues, discussing the importance of iXPs as a long term solution for connectivity and the overall importance of broadband deployment.  ISOC introduced their views on these two Opinions as contained in ISOC’s contribution to the WTPF. ISOC is a strong supporter of IXPs as a means for keeping local traffic local, improving traffic delivery speeds, and reducing latency as they are a key component of a larger ecosystem.  ISOC noted the important issue of broadband infrastructure deployment and development.  ISOC’s contribution to the WTPF can be found here. The meeting was able to quickly reach consensus on the existing Opinions, stressing the importance of consensus and the extensive discussions held prior to the WTPF to shape these Opinions.

Day Two will include debate on IP Addressing issues (Opinions 3 and 4), multistakeholderism, and enhanced cooperation (Opinions 4 and 5). We anticipate that there will be a robust discussion on Opinions 4 and 5.

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Internet Governance

Many voices makes strong policy

By Joyce Dogniez and Sally Shipman Wentworth

As more of the world’s seven billion people move online, it is critical that the policies that govern the Internet in different countries encourage openness. One of the best ways forward is to listen to many different voices when it comes to forming policy.

Internet Society Chapters are some of these voices in their home countries.

The Philippines Chapter “already had existing multistakeholder approaches in public hearings as conducted by our regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission,” explains Winthrop Yu, Internet Society Philippines Chapter member. “Nevertheless, it was after the Internet Society-Infocoms Technology Associaton of the Philippines Symposium in Manila that a Philippine Consultative Working Group on WCIT was convened.

“This served as an example of how cooperative consultation with various stakeholders can enhance the efficiency and efficacy of government agencies.” Different stakeholder groups can bring forward resources and experienced opinions that government agencies may not have access to otherwise.

This specialist knowledge is particularly important when working with some of the more technical aspects of Internet governance.

“We’re trying to show our national regulators that regulating the Internet is a bit different than regulating the water supply, say, or coal mining,” explains Hans Peter Dittler, member of the German Chapter. “We are holding a half-day conference ahead of the Internet Engineering Task Force meeting in Berlin and inviting government officials to talk about how we can work together in the future.

“We work with the government, at the same level as industry groups like telecommunications companies and lobby groups,” said Dittler. “We want to keep the Internet free and open, not only today but in five and ten years time.”

Internet Governance

Strategic Dialogue at the World Telecommunication Policy Forum

The ITU Strategic Dialogue session was held on 13 May at the CICG in Geneva. The focus of the pre WTPF event was to discuss broadband development and deployment through two panel discussions.  The two panels were moderated by Raffaele Barberio, Director, Key4Biz. 

The first panel was on “Building our Broadband”, which examined the role of broadband as critical infrastructure and a platform for progress and multistakeholder engagement, including content development and infrastructure deployment.  However opinion appears to be divided as to whether broadband Internet service represents a basic need, fundamental right or a utility. 

Moez Chakchouk from the Tunisian Internet Agency raised several points about the need to be multistakeholder and to work with all Stakeholders.  In addition he also noted the importance of the Internet exchanges for improving local connectivity and enabling broadband deployment.

Internet Society’s CEO Lynn St. Amour noted in her opening remarks that the Internet should not be misconstrued to be broadband as there are some very important differences.  Broadband provides the access technology that enables the Internet and its IP-based services and applications.  Lynn also noted the relevance of this access and the importance of infrastructure deployment to create the environment where content can be generated and flow across the Internet.  She pointed out the value of Open Standards and that referring to the ISOC 2012 Global Internet Users Survey – noted that 83% agreed that access to the Internet is a basic human right and in ISOC’s view, fundamental human rights are about the ability to speak and be heard – rights that are enabled by technology, but are not the technology itself.  So rather than binding human rights to technologies that will most certainly evolve, we should focus our efforts on ensuring that the fundamental human rights to receive and impart information are never constrained.  Lynn emphasized the importance of multistakeholder involvement in policies, business practices, standards, and for support for an open Internet platform that enables the future rather than constraining it. 

Diego Molano Vega, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Colombia in his opening remarks agreed with the points that Lynn raised regarding multistakeholder involvement and an open environment reliant on open standards.

Panel 2 focused on “Broadband Driving Development”.  Ms Omobola Johnson, Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Government of Nigeria pointed out in their remarks the value that the government and their country has derived from the use of the Internet and mobile infrastructure to provide services that have made a difference, such as addressing women’s health issues in rural areas. Yung Kim of Korea Telecom Corporation raised several points on how the shift to ICT development has created benefits for the Korean economy.  Dr Amr Badawi, NTRA, Egypt noted the importance of being digitally connected and the value that this connection contributes to improve people’s lives.