As WCIT negotiations drag into the night, Internet remains a sticking point

Also at issue is whether human rights should be addressed

Negotiations on the future governance of international telecommunications will continue through the night at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai.

The international conference is attempting to revise global rules for governing telecoms and the Internet that have not been updated since 1988. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) progress is being made on the document, which must be agreed by consensus. On Wednesday, ITU spokesman Paul Conneally described the discussions as a "rollercoaster ride."

The remaining sticking points are on whether the new rules apply to the Internet and whether human rights should be included in the text.

According to Conneally there seemed to be agreement that the Internet should be mentioned only in terms of fostering its growth, but the preamble text was bogged down over discussion on whether human rights should be included. Those opposed included China, Iran and Malaysia.

In line with the European Union's common negotiating position, Poland, the Netherlands and the U.K. all said the revised International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) should not cover the Internet. They were backed by Kenya, the first African country to take this position.

As the issue was not resolved in Wednesday's plenary session, that section of the text was returned to the ad hoc group chaired by South Africa. The document must be signed on Friday, so it is expected that negotiation will continue until an agreement is reached. Organizers say this could be around 1:00 AM Dubai time on Thursday.

With agreement reached on many sections of the text, two other remaining big issues are quality of service, and naming, number and addressing of telecom services -- articles 3.7 and 3.8 of the text.

Article 3.7's text, "member states shall refrain from taking unilateral and/or discriminatory actions that could impede another member state's access to public international telecommunication networks and services, Internet sites and using resources," was strongly backed by Iran. But the U.S. said this is already dealt with in the UN treaties and is not needed in the ITRs.

Article 3.8's text, "member states shall, if they so elect, be able to manage the naming, numbering, addressing and identification resources used within their territories for international telecommunication" was opposed by E.U. countries as well as Japan. At issue is whether that language can be interpreted as handing control over the Internet to individual national governments.

"While we do not believe that Internet governance should be under the ambit of the ITRs, this does not mean the EU wants to 'set in stone' all current governance practices," said E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes in her blog. "So, while Europe has a firm line on an open internet, the reality is that our delegations are in Dubai to play a constructive role. The E.U. member states have both Union and national considerations to bear in mind, but we are consistent, coordinated and transparent on essential issues."

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentinternetlegaltelecommunication

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?