Интернет общество – България | ISOC-Bulgaria

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This section is dedicated to Internet Governance issues and up to date information from our work on the topic.

Europeans deserve a better copyright reform

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on September 14, 2016

Internet Society – Bulgaria shares this position of Communia.

 

Europeans deserve a better copyright reform

Caïn venant de tuer son frère Abel, by Henry Vidal
This is not how you #fixcopyright

The copyright reform proposal presented today by the European Commission fails to meet the needs of citizens, educators, and researchers across Europe. Instead of strengthening the information economy, the proposal preserves a status quo defined in the analog age. In the process, it hinders education, research and cultural expression.

European Commission lacks vision for copyright in the digital age

Today’s proposal buries the hope for a more modern, technologically neutral and flexible copyright framework that the Commission had hinted at in its initial plans for the Digital Single Market. The proposal largely ignores crucial changes to copyright that would have benefitted consumers, users, educators, startups, and cultural heritage institutions. It also abandons the idea of a digital single market that allows all Europeans the same rights to access knowledge and culture. Finally, it completely ignores the importance of protecting and expanding the public domain.

Copyright needs to evolve with technology. Instead of charting a course that can take Europe into the information economy of the future, the Commission has been busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Instead, the Commission’s proposal focuses on a wholly different goal: to minimize the impact of the fundamental changes brought about by digital technologies and the internet on legacy business models. Publishers get an ancillary copyright that already has proven itself worthless in practice. Access to most audio-visual content will continue to be hampered by geo-blocking (which the Commission had earlier committed to end), and online platforms might be forced to collaborate with rights holders on censoring content that is shared by users on these platforms. The whole package lacks forward-looking, innovation-friendly measures that embrace digitization as an opportunity for users, creators, businesses, and public institutions in Europe.

In doing this, the Commission abdicates its power to make the European future a better one. It is the future where the stakes are significantly higher than today’s market balance. Soon, the business models that the Commission is trying to protect will no longer be relevant. At stake is a future in which innovation-friendly Europe could have provided the best education for its citizens, drawn the best talent and investment options, and fostered the best research and job opportunities.

Europeans deserve a copyright framework that is fit for the future

The approach proposed for text and data mining is an example of how the desire to protect existing models results in measures that are destined for failure. Driven by the desire to protect licensing revenues of the large scientific publishing houses, the Commission has proposed an exception that introduces new legal risks for anyone engaging in text and data mining outside of a scientific research context.

There seems to be incredible potential for text and data mining throughout our digital society, but the Commission’s proposal confines it to the scientific research sector. This sends a strong signal to startups, businesses, and anyone else wishing to explore the benefits of text and data mining to do so outside of Europe. As a result, new, innovative and globally-competitive businesses will instead emerge in regions where such barriers do not exist, creating jobs and opportunities that will be lost to Europe.

Europeans deserve freedom to use digital content in education

The digital era seems to be the golden age for education. Interactive cross-border learning can connect students with the best educational offerings on the continent regardless of where they live and how much they can spend on educational materials. The Commission had the opportunity to enable a leap forward in education by harmonising the existing technology-neutral exception across the EU. But instead, the Commission’s proposal adds to the legal uncertainty for teachers by introducing a parallel, limited exception for digital educational materials that can be overridden if these materials are available via a licensing option.

The Commission therefore forces European schools to accept licensing schemes, which will continue to extract fees made possible by this unfortunate loophole. We hoped for new, diverse, and innovative modes of teaching and learning. Instead, new types of licenses will flourish, further securing undeserved revenues for old business models. The perpetual reliance on licensing will put further strain on limited educational budgets across Europe, and ultimately negatively affect the quality of education.

Commission sells out EU competitiveness to protect legacy business models

Strong and meaningful exceptions for online education and Text and Data Mining would have been means to make sure Europeans have opportunities to learn and work in Europe. In the long term such opportunities will translate into the creation of new businesses and increasing Europe’s global competitiveness. Unfortunately it appears that the Commission has abandoned this type of long term thinking in favor of protecting the status quo.

Posted in Data Retention, Internet Governance, News in English | Leave a Comment »

ISOC-Bulgaria Consultations on the ITU questions (April 2014)

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on April 18, 2014

Please, if you have edits, suggestions, write them below, in the comments area, before April 25, 2014.

ISOC-Bulgaria response to the ITU Council Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy issues public consultation on the following question:

What actions are to be undertaken by governments in relations to each of the international Internet-related public policy issues?

In particular the following list of issues have been noted as areas of work that the CWG- International Internet-related public policy and have been contributing to the work of the ITU.
– 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

Answer: The Bulgarian government has undertaken long time before anyone at the ITU would even think about these issues a policy, which resulted in unprecedented (and almost not followed in other countries) growth of Internet penetration, affordability, and quality of the service. Information document № 7, provided by the MTITC to the ITU Plenipotentiary meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2010 speaks for itself.
Bulgaria has waived any licensing or registration regime for the Internet service providers since 1999. Under the Law for Electronic Services, the state does not control or deals with the Internet names and addresses (though, one must point out, it still deals with the Internet numbers – a service, which is largely known as ENUM, and which trial is still being managed by the ITU).
ISOC-Bulgaria, having been part of the last 14 years of negotiations, and sometimes legal arguments between all interested parties in the country, believes that such a policy has proven as a very successful one for the general development of the Internet sector in the country.
Concrete comments on some of the issues:

– Multilingualization of the Internet Including Internationalized (multilingual) Domain Names
The government has been part of the ICANN IDN Fast Track process; thanks partly to the unsuccessful bid to obtain Cyrillic IDN ccTLD for Bulgaria, the ICANN policy was changed, thus giving Bulgaria, Greece, and other interested countries, to appeal for review of the first objection. Furthermore, the ICANN IDN program has proven to be working both in the Fast Track, and in the new gTLD part. We see this as an example of successful cooperation and coordination between the private sector, civil society and government, which is the essence of the multistakeholder model that proved to be so successful in Bulgaria.

– International Internet Connectivity
Thanks to the lack of regulation or licensing, or even just a registration regime, Internet Service Providers were able to compete with each other, and reach levels of prices, which make the Internet in the country accessible and affordable for everyone. Bulgarian ISPs are building their own international connections, thus competing successfully with the incumbent – a prerequisite for successful, user-oriented international internet connectivity.

– International public policy issues pertaining to the Internet and the management of Internet resources, including domain names and addresses
As mentioned above, Bulgaria by law does not license, register, control, or interfere in anyway with the domain names and the Internet addresses, and that’s a decision that has been supported by governments and parliaments on a constant base since 1999. The Bulgarian example shows that with less regulation, there’s more competition, better choices for the users, and the access to the Internet is both affordable, and very fast. We would encourage other governments to study and use this example. It is true, however, that to reach such a decision, the whole society need to get together – government, citizens, private sector, even the incumbent telecom was supportive of this decision, taken back in 1999, when the Bulgarian Telecom was still state-owned. We understand that such a policy may not be yet acceptable in countries, which have not reached that level of cooperation, but we must also stress that the results of such a policy, are extremely beneficial for every and each of the stakeholders – users, ISPs, government. At the same time, the policies of the governments, which were welcome in the area of the management of the Internet resources, were not so well prepared in the area of privacy and data retention, perhaps also because they were drafted and accepted in the Parliament neither with the participation of the broader Internet society, nor that of ISOC-Bulgaria. As a result, when the European Court of Justice struck down the Data Retention Directive a few weeks ago, we immediately urged the government to take measures and edit the Law for Electronic Communications by taking down the text that allow metadata collection with no court control.

– The security, safety, continuity, sustainability, and robustness of the Internet
The security is usually part of the work responsibilities of the Internet service providers, the telecom operators, and the users. The state has ratified the Budapest Cybercrime convention, and it has also engaged with the International Cybercrime Academy, based in Sofia, and other entities, in order to secure the Internet to a maximum degree possible, with the limited resources available with the governmental budget. This task can only be successful, if it is built in the form of a public-private partnership.

– Combating Cybercrime
As mention, the Budapest convention is ratified, and the state works in close coordination and cooperation with law-enforcement agencies, ENISA, and other relevant bodies. A Bulgarian MEP, Ivailo Kalfin, was rapporteur to the European Parliament on Cybersecurity.

– Dealing effectively with spam
This is purely into the realm of the private business. The government deals with incoming spam, at the front routers / gateways, and makes sure that spam does not reach the mailbox of users of governmental email services. Historically, commercial operators have proven quite good in dealing effectively with spam.

– Issues pertaining to the use and misuse of the Internet
We don’t see such an engagement by the government – if the Internet is “misused”, whatever this term means, there are ways to deals with the perpetrators.

Internet Society – Bulgaria

Posted in Data Retention, Коментари, Internet Governance | Leave a Comment »

ISOC Bulgaria urges chapters to help governments answer to a question from the ITU

Posted by Veni Markovski on November 17, 2013

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.

Posted in Internet Governance, News in English | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Internet Governance, News in English | 2 Comments »

България трябва да се раздели с принципа “Каквото кажат в Брюксел, това и ние”

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on November 21, 2012

„Интернет общество – България“ предлага на вниманието на основните политически сили следното предложение за действие на държавата и държавните институции: да се преборим за полагащото се място на България в информационното общество (ИО).

Ние няма да кажем „браво“ на политическите партии, които просто приемат нашето предложение, защото едва ли ще има някоя, която да го отхвърли, но ще наблюдаваме внимателно какво и как говорят и вършат политиците след това. Ще подкрепяме онези партии, които решат да приемат нашето предложение и сме готови да им помогнем, за да го доразвият и осъществят на практика след изборите през 2013 г.

Основни принципи на българското информационно общество:

СВОБОДА И СИГУРНОСТ

Всеки човек трябва да е свободен да изкаже мнението си, без да се страхува от последващи репресии, както и да има свобода на достъп до информация. Интернет трябва да продължи да бъде свободен от правителствен контрол и регулации. Държавата трябва да насърчава конкуренцията и всички способи за достъп до Интернет, даващи възможност на гражданите да бъдат онлайн по всяко време и на всяко място. Конкуренцията сред Интернет операторите в България направи така, че днес страната е на първо място в ЕС по скорост на достъп при приемливи за потребителите цени.

Стандартите, правилата, условията за ползване на различните Интернет услуги и др.п. трябва да се изработват с участието на всички заинтересовани страни (правителства, частен бизнес, неправителствен сектор, граждани) чрез т.нар. модел, обхващащ всички заинтересовани лица (на англ. multistakeholder). Нито един от участниците в този модел не бива да има превес над друг(ите).

Сигурността на потребителите трябва да се осигурява чрез образованието им, както и чрез сътрудничество между операторите, доставчиците на услуги и органите на реда. Всяка намеса на държавата в комуникациите на потребителите трябва да се извършва с надлежна санкция от съда и само в изрично посочените в закона случаи. Злоупотребите от страна на органите на реда или на отделни полицаи на това им правомощие следва да бъдат наказвани най-строго. Осигуряването сигурността на Интернет не може да бъде за сметка на свободата на гражданите да изказват мнението си или да търсят информация.

Сътрудничеството в областта на киберсигурността е задължително, но Европейският съюз не е достатъчно активен. Това трябва да се промени. България може и трябва да бъде инициатор на такава промяна.

Във всеки един от посочените по-горе случаи, България има своето място, като понякога то е или може да бъде водещо сред страните-членки на ЕС. Ние настояваме политическите партии да използват наличието на богат български опит, за да го наложат в ЕС и на световната сцена.

Крайно време е

да престанем да следваме принципа „Каквото кажат в ЕС, това и ние“.

В областта на информационните и комуникационните технологии България има авторитетни позиции и международно признати лидери. Те трябва да бъдат използвани, но не за да се следва сляпо политиката, измислена в Брюксел, а да предложи и наложи нашата българска позиция като европейска и световна политика.

Досегашният грешен модел на следване и подражание трябва да бъде променен. В областта на политиката за изграждане на ИО

България може и трябва да сочи посоката,

а не да следва останалите страни.

България трябва да заеме подобаващото ѝ се място на страна-лидер, вкл. и чрез развитие на инициативи и политики в международните институции, занимаващи се с информационни и комуникационни технологии, с далекосъобщения и др. п. (Европейската комисия, ITU, UNESCO, BEREC, Internet Society, ICANN, ENISA, NATO и т.н).

Мястото на България в информационното общество е там, където поискаме; ако на политиците им харесва да сме в информационното гето, в което се намираме, редно е да ни го кажат. И обратното, ако смятат, че

заслужаваме да сме начело,

нека не се страхуват от предизвикателствата и да използват всички средства и сили – на гражданите, фирмите и неправителствените организации, за да го постигнат.

В тази борба България няма какво да загуби, но може да спечели много.

Posted in Новини на български, Политика в областта на ИТ, Internet Governance | 3 Comments »

The ETNO’s WCIT proposals are not as bad as some say

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on October 10, 2012

(from EDRi)

Many people have criticised the ETNO’s proposals for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), arguing that these would significantly damage net neutrality. These criticisms are not entirely correct – because ETNO’s proposals are far worse. ETNO’s proposals would squeeze every ounce of innovation and competition out of global Internet networks. Goodbye Internet, hello Minitel.

The concept sounds quite friendly and just a little esoteric: “Sending party pays” (SPP). That sounds fair, until you realise that the sending party already pays. It sounds fair until you realise that SPP has always been the principle in the mobile world, and the result of this principle is tens of billions of Euro wasted by citizens on untransparent, unjustified and, frequently, unjustifiable charges. Years of regulatory action has finally led to the most egregious of these problems finally being solved in Europe.

And, by the way, in case you haven’t noticed : in the world of the Internet today, the receiving party also pays – and have always paid. Each of the Internet users connects, using some local Internet Service Provider (ISP), and he or she pays to get access to the network. In other words, hiding behind some “new” proposals, are just the old failed policies of the former monopoly operators, who perhaps feel desperate to find a business model, in which they make money with no investments. And a model, which resembles as close as possible the old, analogue telephone systems model.

In 2008, despite over a decade of liberalisation, the International Telecommunications Users Group calculated that European citizens were wasting ten billion Euro per year in “spurious” mobile termination rates (MTRs). It seems surprising that this could happen in a liberalised market, but there is a reason for this, namely that termination rates generally react to competition like a drug-resistent superbug reacts to antibiotics: with indifference.

ETNO, however, tries to show some modern thinking, and claims that there is a need for QoS (Quality of Service) among the Internet users. However, there are no economic calculations that prove their case; in fact the users know that the Internet is as affordable as it is, because there’s no guarantee of the QoS. And the users, strangely to ETNO, seem to like this. The success of the Internet is because the “end to end” and “net neutrality” principles keep the Internet open and competitive. Experimenting with this core element of the Internet’s global success in search of a business model for increasing the profits of a few companies seems reckless, to say the least.

Reckless experimentation – in the pursuit of profit – with the functioning of the global internet are ETNO’s proposals to the ITU WCIT. So, don’t believe ETNO’s critics, they don’t understand just how bad ETNO’s proposals really are.

WCIT
http://www.itu.int/en/wcit-12/Pages/default.aspx

ETNO’s proposals
http://files.wcitleaks.org/public/ETNO%20C109.pdf

INTUG
http://intug.org/2008/06/25/europeans-pay-over-e10-billion-a-year-in-s…

Case summary T-Mobile/Truphone (as a possible example of the dangers of experimentation in this policy area)
http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=627fcab5-c948-42b7-8218-…

EU regulatory action on MTRs
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/710

(Contribution by Dimitar Ganchev, member of the Board, Internet Society – Bulgaria and Joe McNamee, EDRi)

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ETNO continues to push forward its members agenda – against all Internet users

Posted by Veni Markovski on September 24, 2012

Last week 12 Internet Societies from across Europe sent a letter to ETNO, the lobbyist organization. ETNO responded today. Interestingly enough, first sending it to the press, and publishing it on their web site, but never bothering to email the signatories.

We wouldn’t go into making comments on their text now (we reserve the right to do so at another time), as it is going to be a waste of time – as the flaws and errors are so many, that it’s impossible to put the record straight, than just to tell you, “Trust us, we are the Internet users’ organization, not a lobbyist group, interested in bringing more profits to its members”.

However, the ETNO response, and the way it was “delivered”, makes us even more committed to issue the following statement:

The Internet Society of Bulgaria stands firm on its positions that the ETNO proposals are bad for the development of the Internet. They take into consideration only one thing – the profits of the big telecom monopolies in Europe (namely France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, and Telefonica), the leading proponents of the ETNO proposals. They don’t – and won’t – take into account the interests of the users to enjoy free, open and democratic Internet, at high speeds and low costs.

ISOC-Bulgaria is against the ETNO proposals to the ITU WCIT, and would do everything possible to make sure they won’t pass.

We urge every Internet-friendly organization, and every individual who cares about the Internet, and is against attempts by governments, their agents, or lobbyist groups to implement rules and regulations on the Internet, to support our position.
Write to your member of the European Parliament.
Inform your national deputies.
Talk to members of the cabinet of your government.
Call friends, raise awareness, write blogs.
The ETNO proposals are worse than ACTA, SOPA and PIPA.

There’s no time – act now!

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Statement on ETNO Contribution 109 to CWG-WCIT12

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on September 16, 2012

From ISOC-ECC:

In reaction to ‘contribution 109′ from the ETNO (the former state telco’s in Europe), chapters of the Internet Society have reacted with the statement below (and as PDF):

Mr Luigi Gambardella
ETNO
Avenue Louise 54
1050 Brussels, Belgium

cc: European Commission, Current Presidency of the CEPT and the EP (PPE, S&D, ALDE, Verts, GUE/NGL, ECR, EFD)

Subject: CWG-WCIT12 Contribution 109 Source: ETNO

Brussels, 14 September 2012

Dear Mr Gambardella

We, Chapters of the Internet Society in Europe, are writing to you with respect to ETNO’s contribution to the ITU in reference.

As we are sure you are already aware, the Internet Society has already issued a statement about the WCIT, including specific recommendations. Our present purpose is to respond to specific European aspects of your proposal. We hope that, based on this input, ETNO would reconsider Contribution 109 from the ITU Council Working Group. Allow us to explain our point of view:

1. Multi-stakeholder participation in Europe: We consider that Internet governance in general, and the European position in the ITU WCIT in particular, should be based on multi-stakeholder consultation and decision taking. In many contexts (IGF, EuroDIG, ICANN, etc.), ETNO members have supported the multi-stakeholder model, and it is in the best interests of the whole European Internet community if all stakeholders follow, and continue to develop this model.

2. The scope of the International Telecommunication Regulations: The ITRs regulate relations between governments. Commercial arrangements between operators are beyond the scope of the ITRs.

Your references to ‘operators’ tends to undermine this basic distinction. On the contrary, we wish to maintain this distinction and particularly to ensure that the ITU ITRs are neutral with respect to the regulatory and competition policy responsibilities of the public authorities, particularly those arising from the EU Treaty.

3. Network Neutrality: Without revisiting here all the arguments about Network Neutrality, we believe that the concepts in the ETNO proposal related to “commercial arrangements with differentiated quality of service delivery” are inconsistent with the principles of an open Internet.
Specifically, as many European Internet Society chapters have pointed out through the years, network operators – such as the majority of ETNO members – should not have the power, commercial or technical, to discriminate among IP packets sent or received by the users.
The commercial consequences of the model which you have proposed could threaten the quality of “best-efforts” delivery and create counterproductive incentives towards selective and ‘walled garden’ definitions of IP services. That would not be the open Internet, enjoyed today by all users.

4. ‘Sending party network pays:’ This concept has apparently been carried over from traditional telecommunications, whereas the Internet functions on different principles, where the receiving party pays, usually through a subscription.
For reasons that have been amply explained elsewhere, this will not work, and should not be supported.
We would be particularly concerned that ‘sending party pays’ would in practice discriminate against many smaller, service providers, and new entrants.

5. Economic considerations, ‘fair remuneration’ and broadband investment: The European telecommunications industry has known for more than 20 years that markets would become progressively liberalised, and for more than a decade that convergent IP traffic would predominate through the Internet, as is already the case.
We would also note that several other countries are achieving higher levels of broadband penetration, more quickly, without resort to “new business models” (see for example the official Bulgarian contribution to the ITU-PP10), but by ensuring liberal legal framework, with no licensing or registration for the ISPs. Furthermore, the ISPs and other telecommunications operators already charge their customers significant amounts for connection to the Internet.

Specifically, we do not believe that ITU ITRs, which regulate relationships between public authorities, should extend to commercial relationships between operators.

We are participating actively within national WCIT preparatory processes throughout the region, knowing that our respected governments will support positions that are consistent with the development of the Internet as an open and inclusive media, following a liberal legal framework. In this regard, we do not believe that the full range of impacts the ETNO proposals might produce for the global Internet community have been fully evaluated from a technical, commercial, or development perspective. Further, we have concluded that placing treaty-based interconnection obligations on infrastructure providers is not a constructive way to make progress and runs the serious risk of fragmenting the Internet. We hope that you will reconsider the ETNO proposal and work with us to grow the Internet in an open, market-based, multistakeholder fashion.

Yours sincerely,

R. Rustema (secretary Internet Society European Coordinating Council)

Signed and endorsed by the following Chapters of the Internet Society in Europe:

Internet Society Belgium

Internet Society Bulgaria

Internet Society Finland

Internet Society Germany

Internet Society Italy

Internet Society Luxemburg

Internet Society the Netherlands

Internet Society Poland

Internet Society Romania

Internet Society Slovenia

Internet Society Spain

Internet Society Sweden

The Internet Society chapters are grass roots organisations interested in an open, inclusive internet. The members are often customers of ETNO’s members.

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Statement by Internet-related organizations on the ITU and its conferences and activities

Posted by Internet Society - Bulgaria on August 7, 2012

Statement by Internet-related organizations on the ITU and its conferences and activities


The International Telecommunications Union (
ITU) will be celebrating its 147th birthday next year. Throughout these years this intergovernmental organization has changed its focus from telegraph through radio, to telecommunications. In its search for broadening its activities, the ITU has started looking also on ways to increase its “monitoring and supervisory capabilities” for “establishing international(1) control over the Internet”, as noted in the meeting between Russia prime minister Putin and ITU Secretary-General Touré in June 2011. This search will come to its peak at several ITU gatherings to take place in the coming years, which have become widely known under their abbreviations – WCIT, WTSA, WTPF and PP-14.

WCIT (World Conference on International Telecommunications) is not the first, or the last ITU conference, that deals with Internet issues. TheWTSA (World Telecommunications Standards Assembly) takes place before it. TheWTPF (World Telecommunications Policy Forum ) follows in 2013, and the PP-14 (ITU Plenipotentiary meeting) is in 2014 (check the page for the PP-10 to see some of the discussed issues).

The Estonian President Tomas .H. Ilves has noted, “The outcome of [the WCIT], and related processes, will help determine the topography of the web for the next two decades… More ominously we will face calls to limit free expression as we know it on the web today.”

The “related process” Mr. Ilves talks about are a number of smaller, often for government only, meetings in Geneva, of the so called “working groups”, and sometimes “dedicated groups”, and sometimes “correspondence groups”. There are even the so-called “non groups”, which have “non sessions”, and are being chaired by “non chairs” – this is all part of the UN language.

Internet users, or just citizens, may want to find out what is being discussed at these meetings, but they might face the reality – there’s no public access to the documents. They are accessible only with a password, given only to governments or organizations that pay a substantial amount of money for membership at the ITU. And even that does not mean the organizations can have the same access, as the governments. Quite the contrary – often it’s the other way around, and governments have all the access to all the documents. The ITU in principle accepts on its agenda for discussion only documents, provided by governments, while the organizational members’ documents are “for information only”.

What has remained outside of the attention of the media and the public is what actually happens at these meetings. Just one curious example – in 2009 one of the ITU groups was seriously discussing the creation(2) of a new, alternate Internet, to be built by the governments, and secured by them, which will have no spam, and less – or not at all – privacy. Minitel, in other words.

The organizations, which have signed this statement, are seriously concerned with the quantity and quality of suggestions for changes to the ITU International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) to be discussed at the WCIT, as well as with other proposals that have been circulating at other ITU-related events, and are being proposed to be discussed by the governments, without participation of the civil society, businesses, academia, and the citizens. While not all of them are yet released(3) the way the ITU works allows any country to submit at any time any proposals, and they will have to be reviewed by every country within a 10-day conference to take place in Dubai (December 4 – 14, 2012). Based on previous experience and on the of some of the suggestions, published on the WCITleaks web site, there is a clear and present danger for the way each of us communicates on the Internet.

In the absence of transparency (for which the process is ill-equipped, even if the will was suddenly to appear) we believe it is important to point out the following:

– Our goal is free and open Internet(4), based on free and open standards;
– The Internet, as a network of networks, governed by sets of rules and standards, has been developing ever since it was created;
– The way it operates today is the result of a gradual evolution;
– The existing multistakeholder model of developing the Internet has proven that it is open to changes, updates, tweaking, and allows the broadest possible participation.
– The Internet governance forum (
IGF) has proven to be a successful conference for politicians, users, businesses, academia and citizens.

Worldwide Internet usage increased every day, speeds are higher, and prices are lower. At the same time, the biggest threat for the Internet does not come from spam, lack of security, computer viruses, or malware. The biggest threat comes from governments (all governments, regardless of their level of democratic development), which are trying to control the Internet as a whole, be that the flow of free information, or the access to the Internet, through the mixture of tools – from laws and regulations, through software, to control over the Internet Service Providers.

The signed organizations look forward to being able to provide some detailed input regarding the different forces at play at the ITU and its coming meetings, thus ensuring that our national governments, as well as all the regional organizations, produce positions – based on consultations with their citizens – which will be as strong as possible in their defense of the open and free Internet that has provided so much societal and economic value.

We urge all interested parties – especially the “more equal ones”, the governments, to pay attention to the opinions of the Internet users and of the public at large, of the businesses and academia, and while discussing the changes in the ITRs, to not forget that the Internet is a delicate balance of ideas, interests, rules and standards, which are constantly adjusting to the changing environment.
It is very easy to cause harm while trying to fix something, and we urge the governments – and the ITU – to try to overcome their desire for more control, and instead consider more sharing.

The first step is to ensure that no current multi-stakeholder decision-making or consultation model is undermined by the current process.

The second step, if the ITU wishes to become credibly engaged in Internet policy issues is to start with releasing more – or all – of its documents, which are currently password protected on the ITU website, and allow people to participate on the ground, or remotely, at the ITU WTSA, WCIT, WTPF and ITU-Plenipot 2014, as well as at all other ITU meetings, which are currently marked “for members only”.

By opening the doors of the ITU to the general public, this old organization will show that it prefers to modernize itself rather than try to drag the world and modern technologies back into the Minitel age.

One may also argue that the question is what Internet do we want – do we want open, secure and safe, and free, or do we want less open, “secured” by the government, if the price is our freedoms and liberties.

Everyone can help, and here are some ways you can do it, too:
– call, mail or email your elected member at the national level (e.g. National Assembly, Congress);
– call, mail or email your member of the cabinet (Council of Ministers);
– talk to their advisers, assistants, relatives;
– call, email or talk to every relevant political party leader in your country, or in the regional gathering (e.g. European Union)
– talk to people you know, raise awareness;
– call, email or talk to the national or local Internet Society
chapter (if there’s one in your country) or similar group (e.g. EDRi, EFF, CDT)
– call, email or talk to
your country code top level domain administrator
– think of
SOPA, PIPA or ACTA, and what you did at the time people were raising awareness about them; do it again – create online groups, forums, etc.

We ask all the Internet users to read more(5) on these issues, but also engage in this dialog with the governments, the businesses, the civil society, and the academia. At stake is not just the future of the Net, but the basic freedoms and liberties of the Internet.

Signed:

Internet Society – Armenia

Internet Society – Bulgaria

Internet Society – Colorado (USA)

Metamorphosis Foundation – Macedonia

Internet Society – New York (USA)

Internet Society – Slovenia

Computer & Communications Industry Association (USA/Switzerland)

Internet Society – Washington (USA)

This document can be signed by others – just make a comment below, or email isoc-bul@isoc.bg

______
(1) Understand “intergovernmental” here.
(2) Joint contribution from Saudi Arabia and Syria – New, Alternate Internet Based on Innovative Technologies (password required, but the title of the document is enough)
(3) The Bulgarian ministry of Transport, IT and Communications have published one of the document, draft of the future ITRs. Official message here (in Bulgarian), document (English, PDF) – here
(4) “free Internet” in this declaration means free of governmental control – licenses, regulations, etc., or “free” like in “freedom”.
(5) Additional readings include, but are not limited to:
UN Tries To Navigate Cold Hard Politics Of New Cyber War
The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom
U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom – Part 2
Russia’s Top Cyber Sleuth Foils US Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals
International Proposals to Regulate the Internet

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