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Archive for December, 2012

The Whole European Union Defends the Internet at the ITU WCIT12

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on December 7, 2012

Many people are searching for positions of the EU on the ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). Here is the position of the Bulgarian government. Here is the position of ISOC-Bulgaria.

And below are the positions of:

– Council of the EU (the bold font is from ISOC.bg), as it is listed in the draft here. Full disclosure: the final position is slightly different, but more into the line of being stronger and right on the substance (it is still not published in the OJEU, but people, familiar with the text confirm it has stronger wording than the draft quoted below).

(2) The European Union shall take the following position on proposals for decisions by the WCIT at its meeting in Dubai between 3rd and 14th December 2012 and any related preparatory meetings:
(a) Do not support any proposals that conflict with the EU acquis, or introduce obligations on operators which go beyond those already provided for under the EU acquis;
(b) Support proposals that respect the sovereignty of ITU member states and in particular recognise those areas that are a national matter such as cybercrime, content, national security and defence.
(c) Support proposals that seek to ensure that the revised ITRs remain high level, strategic and technology neutral and oppose proposals to make ITU recommendations binding on ITU member states and operating agencies;
(d) Support any proposals to maintain the current scope of the ITRs and the current mandate of the ITU, oppose any proposals to extend the scope to areas such as the routing of Internet-based traffic, content-related issues;
(e) Support proposals to respect human rights in relation to international telecommunications, support proposals to respect privacy and personal data protection in relation to personal data and communications (subject to 2(a) above)
(f) Support measures to promote greater international cooperation in relation to the security of networks used for international telecommunications traffic;
(g) Support pro-competitive measures intended to help achieve lower prices, and greater transparency on prices, for international telecommunications traffic, based on commercial negotiations in a free and fair marketplace;
(h) Do not support proposals to establish, within the ITU, mechanisms to settle disputes between operators as such mechanisms are not necessary;
(i) Support proposals that ensure that maritime communications can be charged in an economically efficient way.

In order to make (2) (a) above explicit, EU agreement to any final outcome should be explicitly conditional on the submission of a formal statement by the EU to other participants regarding the applicability of EU regulatory provisions, as follows:

“In signing the Final Acts of the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Dubai, 2012), the Delegations of the Member States of the European Union declare that these States will apply the International Telecommunication Regulations in accordance with their obligations under the Treaty establishing the European Union.”.

– the European Commission has added some new items:

The Commission’s proposed position, from which the EU common position was agreed is:
(a) not to support any proposals that may affect EU common rules or alter their scope, or introduce obligations on operators which go beyond those already provided for under these rules;
(b) to support proposals that seek to ensure that the revised Treaty remains high level, strategic and technology neutral and to oppose proposals to make ITU recommendations binding;
(c) to ensure the ITR revision process does not lead to an increase in the scope of the current ITR Treaty or to an increase in the responsibilities exercised by the ITU under its current mandate;
(d) to support proposals to respect human rights in relation to international telecommunications, such as on privacy and personal data protection in relation to personal data and communications;
(e) to support measures to promote greater international cooperation in ensuring the robustness of networks used for international telecommunications traffic;
(f) to support pro-competitive measures and greater transparency on prices, for international telecommunications traffic and roaming, based on commercial negotiations in a free and fair marketplace.

– The European Parliament also weighs in, with a resolution (pdf), where it was quite straight forward, stating that the EU Parliament… ” Supports any proposals to maintain the current scope of the ITRs and the current mandate of the ITU; opposes any proposals that would extend the scope to areas such as the internet, including domain name space, IP address allocation, the routing of internet-based traffic and content-related issues…”

– And the Party of the European Socialists issued a strong statement, warning against the ITU’s attempts to expand its mandate. The PES mentioned, among other, “The proposals on the table in Dubai run the risk of limiting the free flow of information, breaching data privacy and giving unprecedented control over the internet to governments and ITU“.

Overall, we are seeing the European Union, its member states, institutions, and many individual politicians, as well as millions of European Internet users and citizens – all of them united. This is something worth talking about.

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Official Bulgarian Position For the ITU WCIT-12

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on December 7, 2012

This is the official Bulgarian position for the ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications, as published on the Ministry of Transport, IT and Communications (MTITC) site. ISOC-Bulgaria has sent its comments back in September to the MTITC, and clearly they were used in the formation of the position. We have expressed our concerns in a number of publications, for example this interview with our chairman of the board Veni Markovski, or in this co-signed statement.

BULGARIAN CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS (WCIT-12)

Bulgaria organized a 7-week public consultation (July 23rd-September 10th, 2012) in order to receive views from stakeholders on the draft revision of the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs). Within the forthcoming revision and taking into account various submissions, Bulgaria is pleased to announce to the WCIT that its position will be based on the following key  guidelines  of national importance:

  1. The ITRs should establish high-level, general principles for the provision and operation of international telecommunications services and should not address specific regulatory and technical matters because of the various national specifics worldwide. The ubiquitous principles should be access to contemporary telecommunications, affordability and transparency of prices, accessibility of services, and encouragement of investments in infrastructure and innovations and respectively, stimulation of demand.Principles of technology and service neutrality should become also part of the revised regulations.
  1. The ITRs should state that the ITU recommendations are taken into utmost account but remain non-binding documents which promote best practices.Being elaborated with the active participation of certain companies, Sector Members of the ITU, this might create market distortions.
  1. .International telecommunications traffic should be based on greater international co-operation between network operators and service providers, but primarily should avoid causing burden to consumers, regardless of the economic situation of the countries they live in.
  1. International mobile roaming is also an issue of great importance which settles relations between mobile operators worldwide with significant direct impact on consumers. Therefore, we would support proposals for incorporating provisions fostering pro-competitive measures related tolowering of, and achieving greater transparency on, prices.
  1. The Internet should remain free and unregulated, and therefore we will support proposals stimulating freedom of expression and openness of the Internet, which we believe underpin the dynamics of the Internet and should be respected as fundamental human rights.
  1. Cybersecurity and combating cyber crime should remain an issue of national competence. We believe in,and encourage all Member States to further engage in enhancing bilateral, regional and global cybersecurity cooperation.
  1. The ITRs should promote commercial negotiations between various market players instead of regulating those relationships which could stifle competition. The ITU, as a recognized world organization, should not get involved in settling disputes among operators, but could call them through the ITRs for acting fairly under competitive conditions, or give non-binding guidance in accordance with its mandate, when applicable.
  1. Preventing the use of telecommunications for malicious purposes (fraud, misuse of numbers etc.) should be a national priority and best approaches how to achieve it could be devised locally, bearing in mind the particular nature of such acts. There could not be a fits-all model or a common framework since a given approach might be applicable in one country but not in another and that is why, we should insist on flexibility in this regard.

The Republic of Bulgaria reserves its right to add to, or modify, the views expressed herewith in the course of WCIT discussions and forthcoming coordination meetings.

ISOC-Bulgaria is happy with the position of the Bulgarian ministry.

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