ISOC-Bulgaria has been following the developments around Internet governance on the global arena since 2001, when we started participate in the WSIS process. Our representatives supported the efforts of the Bulgarian government to make sure the Internet is developed in an open, bottom-up, and transparent way.
Last week in Geneva (November 11-12) at the ITU there was a meeting of the ITU Council Working Group on international Internet-related public policy issues. The group finished its discussions with a question that the ITU will send to all member states (note – that means to governments!), and the text accepted by the group is:
“Recognizing the scope of work of ITU on international Internet-related public policy matters, represented by the list of topics in Council Resolution 1305 Annex 1 which was established in accordance with decisions of ITU membership at the Plenipotentiary Conference, the Council Working Group on International Internet Related Public Policy invites Member States to provide their position on following question:
Q1. What actions have been undertaken or to be undertaken by governments in relations to each of the international Internet-related public policy issues identified in Annex 1 to Resolution 1305 (adopted by Council 2009 at the seventh Plenary Meeting)?”
Annex 1 gives the following issues:
– Multilingualization of the Internet Including Internationalized (multilingual) Domain Names
– International Internet Connectivity
– International public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses
– The security, safety, continuity, sustainability, and robustness of the Internet
– Combating Cybercrime
– Dealing effectively with spam
– Issues pertaining to the use and misuse of the Internet
– Availability, affordability, reliability, and quality of service, especially in the developing world
– Contributing to capacity building for Internet governance in developing countries
– Developmental aspects of the Internet
– Respect for privacy and the protection of personal information and data
– Protecting children and young people from abuse and exploitation)
ISOC-Bulgaria urges all ISOC chapters around the world, but also Internet Service Providers, Regional Internet Registries, Internet-related companies and organizations that are involved in any of the 12 issues, to reach out to their governments, and help them explain to the ITU what actions are being undertaken in their respected countries or territories.
Why is it important?
For several reasons.
There are views at the ITU that the organization should “take care” of the Internet. Different countries understand it differently. The ITU itself has been talking about “establishing international control over the Internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the ITU”.
Some countries believe that governments play too small role in the Internet coordination on a world scale, and believe that they should take care of all the 12 issues listed above.
Some countries say that there should be regulation of Internet content, access to the Net, and some request web sites to be registered with the government, and content providers to be responsible for published content. Others claim that this is impossible to achieve because of the nature of the Internet. Some believe that the current Internet is not well designed and built, and there should be a new internet developed, by governments, which will be more secure, and without spam, harmful content, etc.
There are, in general, two views of development of the Internet. The President of Estonia covered both views in his speech at a conference last year in Tallinn.
ISOC – Bulgaria dealt with these issues back in 1999, when it filed a case against the government at the Supreme Administrative Court, and reached an out-of-court agreement to get rid of any licenses or registrations about ISPs, content, or any Internet-related business.
We would like to see Bulgaria’s leading role on the ITU question, and we are hopeful that other countries will also step in, and will share their positive experience in the Internet pubic policy that they have accepted within their national territories. Bulgaria, by the way, did that in an official information document, submitted to the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2010.