WCIT 2012 -The Tussle of power

These days the cyber world seems very active in every aspect of its discussion and making it evident, thinking and gaining interest in retrospect to the  World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) 2012 that is about to happen in UAE Dubai from 3-14 December 2012. 

Speculations and rumors are gaining much attention with the WCIT Leaks where allegations and assumptions are topping charts. Proposals leaked from participating states could permit governments to justify censorship of legitimate speech or even justify cutting off internet access by reference to amendments to the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs).

The ITRs form a binding international treaty dealing with the definition of international telecommunications services, cooperation between countries and how to calculate charges for traffic exchanged between carriers in different countries. They have not been revised since they came into action in 1988.

With vested and conflict of interest the developed countries are trying to secure their position by every means possible. In view of that it is clear in every aspect of the developed countries position and their issue of interest.  Russia is proposing its version of ownership of individual country to shape the content and structure of the Internet within its jurisdiction; similarly the Arab countries are advocating universal identification of Internet users. Some of the developing countries and telecom providers are lobbying the “Sending Party Network” to make content providers pay for Internet transmission. With such vested interest the norms and standard of digital divide and net neutrality lays hidden in shadows.

One thing we all have to agree upon is Internet today has evolved as a basic right or usable commodity of an individual and the developed countries trying to tussle their way making their voices and policies  loud makes the standardization  process a  big hurdle to overcome.

26 Nov 2012 e-Parliament has published a resolution stating its opposition to proposed extension of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) to include the internet. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency which oversees the ITRs, is meeting in Dubai next week to re-negotiate the rules as part of a World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). The ITRs currently govern international telephone, television and radio networks.

Another controversy is with the U.N. dominion over the Internet and its role in governing the internet; where there is a strong opposition stating U.N being an inter-governmental agency.  Currently the internet is governed by a non-profit ICANN, which oversees the Web’s address system, along with voluntary standard-setting bodies and a patchwork of national laws and regional agreements. Many countries see it as a U.S.-dominated system, which to some extent is controversial.

Perhaps on the other side the Russian federation want to reclaim the power of the allotment, assignment and reclamation of internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources where it is openly challenging the policies. Likewise, making a public appeal around the world and talking about free and open internet the US government and Google Inc is signing petition against allowing governments to regulate the internet, which certainly shows their motives.

 According to BBC,The ITU has made it clear that any changes to the ITRs will have unanimous support. Its secretary-general, Dr Hamadoun Toure, told the BBC that rather than putting any matters to a vote "whatever one single country does not accept will not pass".

The multi-stakeholder model of internet policy development is the role model which has been envisioned for the future development. With such crucial issues being discussed over the table with big developed countries ego, the power tussle and confusion of issues, the WCIT proves to be yet another platform of the powerful to fight against their insecurities rather than talking about feasibility and standardization.