International Governance

The ITU and Internet Governance -- "The Gathering Storm"

By Paul Rosenzweig
Monday, November 26, 2012, 5:53 PM

I keep meaning to write a blog post on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the upcoming Dubai meeting, but so many other folks are writing good analysis that it almost isn't necessary.  Today's entry is a report by Richard Bennett from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.  Once again, the title gives you a sense of the content:  The Gathering Storm: WCIT and the Global Regulation of the Internet.  Here's a small taste of what it argues:

If any change needs to be made at all in the ITRs [the International Telecommunication Regulations] with respect to the Internet, it should be limited to creating a firewall between the authority of ITU and the operation of the Internet. The Internet’s organic governance system has proved to be quite effective, in no small part due to its close proximity to the Internet’s technical standards and business practices. Technologies that enable rapid rates of change need the ability to adapt to changing conditions quickly; an international treaty organization that convenes once every fifteen years does not fit the bill. The ITU is facing obsolescence as we begin to retire the telephone networks that have been its sole focus since the phase-out of the telegraph, but this existential crisis does not justify a wholesale restructuring of Internet governance.

Once again, the entire report is well worth a read.