Emerging Trends | Regulation
November 23, 2012

The Google campaign – An ITU view

By Paul Conneally

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ITU notes the recent comments made by Google in relation to the upcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai.

Google has erroneously claimed that WCIT-12, which will take place in Dubai from 3-14 December, will be used as a forum to increase censorship and regulate the Internet.

The freedom of expression and the right to communicate are already enshrined in many UN and international treaties that ITU has taken into account in the establishment of its Constitution and Convention, and also its mandate by the Plenipotentiary Conference, which is the Supreme Organ of ITU. These treaties include Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

These Articles – as well as Article 33 and 34 of the ITU Constitution – clearly establish the right to communication and the limits that governments can impose on those rights.

Since the ITU Constitution prevails over the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), nothing in the ITRs has the power to result in a reduction of freedom to communicate.

ITU’s mandate in the Internet is laid down by the Plenipotentiary Conference Resolutions which were agreed to by consensus in 2010. Nothing can be agreed at WCIT-12 to change this mandate.

Google has also incorrectly stated, on its official website, that governments alone, working behind closed doors, should not direct the Internet’s future.

The so-called closed-door meeting is however inclusive of 193 national delegations which are participating in WCIT-12. In addition, ITU is pleased to note that private sector companies and civil society organizations have registered to attend WCIT-12 in large numbers.

The United States, where Google itself is headquartered, has confirmed more than 125 people in its delegation to WCIT-12, with a large majority of these delegates representing the private sector and civil society.

It is interesting to note that Google representatives are part of the United States delegation.

We regret that Google did not take the opportunity to choose to join ITU as a member, which would have enabled it to participate in its own right in the WCIT-12 preparatory process.

The very thorough and inclusive preparatory process leading up to the WCIT-12 has been completely transparent.

At ITU, transparency is achieved at the national level, through national consultations in national languages. A process we believe more inclusive than simply posting an English language text online.

ITU firmly believes that a revised treaty can help harness the power of ICTs to deliver social and economic benefits in every nation on earth, including across every sector.

The current ITRs paved the way for today’s information and communication technologies.

This includes mobile and the Internet. The revised ITRs have the exciting potential to pave the way for a broadband revolution in the 21st century.

ITU’s goal is to continue enabling the Internet, as it has done since the Internet’s inception.

We must keep the Internet open for business to sustain growth in the vast and inter-dependent global digital economy.

 

 

Paul Conneally. Head of Communications and Partnership Promotion Division, ITU
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The Google campaign – An ITU view

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