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Internet’s Future Hangs in the Balance

10 December 2012

The Internet Society releases the following statement from President and CEO Lynn St. Amour:

“The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) is an important event that the Internet Society hopes will contribute to greater connectivity and growth in international telecommunications for the public.   Over the last week and throughout the weekend, ITU Member States were engaged in hard and difficult negotiations to move the work of the conference forward positively.

As the conference moves back into plenary session today, we are seeing the first results of delegates' efforts in the form of proposals to modify existing treaty text and insert new text into the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). In reviewing these texts, and noting that bracketed text remains unresolved, it is increasingly clear that the fundamental question facing delegates is whether the scope of the treaty applies to traditional telecommunications or whether it will be extended to include the Internet (explicitly or implicitly). 

As we have previously stated, applying the existing ITRs to the Internet would have serious unintended consequences for the current operation and future innovation and growth of the Internet.  Many or most of the phrases currently in brackets (and therefore unresolved) would have a significant negative impact on the functioning and evolving future of the Internet.

It is now more important than ever that the scope of the treaty NOT apply to the Internet.

The Internet Society has openly expressed our significant reservations about some of the proposals at WCIT, and this does not shake our foundational belief that an open dialogue between a broad spectrum of stakeholders around the world is the best way to ensure the continuation of the Internet’s growth and evolution.  We wish for a successful conclusion to this conference in updating the international treaty governing public telecommunications.

The Internet Society applauds those Member States that are seeking to preserve the open global, interoperable Internet, and wish them all success in their efforts to ensure that the ITRs are not interpreted to apply to the Internet.”

We continue to provide updated materials related to the key issues under discussion -- http://www.internetsociety.org/wcit

Tweetable:

Support to Member States on +ve ITR conf – compromise text is evolving but must not apply to the Internet  http://www.internetsociety.org/wcit #wcit

About the Internet Society

The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and foundations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, see: http://www.internetsociety.org.