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ITU Secrecy Disappearing as U.S. ITAC Open to All
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 00:00

Join me and make a difference. 303,000,000 Americans have just been offered access to the notoriously secret ITU WCIT documents. Just join ITAC, the State Department International Telecommunications Advisory Committee, and enjoy access. “It takes a simple email with a request to be placed on the ITAC listserv, based on some material interest in a given topic,” Paul Najarian of State writes. Simply send an email to join ITAC_Listserve_Requests@state.gov and you automatically have access to ITAC. That's actually proving true, and email me if you need details how to make this work for you. Until now, no one knew about it so almost no one applies except insiders. It’s really that simple. I’ve recommended three people and they were all treated respectfully.

  Uncle Sam wants you, as  Ambassador Terry Kramer makes clear below and confirmed to me in a brief phone call. “We welcome all interested stakeholders to participate in our WCIT preparatory process and help the U.S. Government form positions in advance of the conference.  We solicit this input and feedback through the United States International Telecommunications Advisory Committee (ITAC).” His colleague, Ambassador Phil Verveer testified to Congress, that ITAC is “open to all interested parties to review and advise on the regional and national contributions to WCIT as they are submitted.” 
    To my amazement, the discussions are substantive. With almost no one outside the system, it's become a convenient forum for State to share information with NTIA, FCC, and others, as well as two dozen or so corporate people who are on the inside. So it's actually a useful point to express your opinion. Being on ITAC gives you access to the main ITU and WCIT documents, along with a painful number of exceedingly boring emails. The meetings are in D.C. at State and generally have call-ins. 
    Until recently, I was the only person speaking at most meetings who wasn’t part of government or have strong corporate ties. No one else spoke up, for example, when U.S. proposals for NGN resembled a blueprint for the Great Firewall of China. (Our security agencies have similar requirements.)
     I wrote that the ITU wanted to open the documents http://fastnetnews.com/itu/186-i/4822-itu-qmembers-free-to-publish-any-documentsq-and-they-will-im-told based on ITU sources and some comments from Europe. I had no expectation the U.S. would join actively, but that’s exactly what Ambassador Kramer promises

“Recently, the ITU Council announced its decision to make public one of the summary documents of proposals to amend the International Telecommunications Regulations.  In addition, at the recent meeting in Geneva, the Secretary General stressed that “all ITU members have full access to all WCIT-12 documents and can share them within their constituencies.”


Accordingly, I want to take a moment to update you on the U.S. Government’s approach to stakeholder participation and input for the December conference and also my decision on how we will share and distribute WCIT documents going forward. 
First, we welcome all interested stakeholders to participate in our WCIT preparatory process and help the U.S. Government form positions in advance of the conference.  We solicit this input and feedback through the United States International Telecommunications Advisory Committee (ITAC).   I believe that the ITAC process is critically important in helping the U.S. Government convene the type of open, public, and necessary consultations from all stakeholders that helps strengthen our positions in advance of the WCIT.  The ITAC has advised the Department of State on U.S. participation in international telecommunications treaty organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union for decades and has, accordingly, been critical in the preparation of prior U.S. positions for meetings of international treaty organizations, developing and coordinating proposed contributions to international meetings and submitting them to the Department of State for consideration.  For the WCIT, the ITAC will continue to serve this critical role.  Therefore, we welcome any person and any and all organizations, whether corporate or non-profit, to participate in the ITAC if they would like to assist with the WCIT preparatory process.
Second, all WCIT preparatory documents – including revisions of the TD-62 compilations of Member States proposals, the final report of the Council Working Group, and Member State proposals – have been and will continue to be made available to interested ITAC member.   It is imperative that we ensure full consideration of a WCIT proposal’s impact on economic growth, the Internet’s openness, and the world at large and this is best done through the adoption of open and transparent processes that allow for wide consultation.  Thus, we will continue to share these WCIT documents with stakeholder so that they can provide more informed views and help us develop positions that reflect the input of the diverse range of interests in the United States. 
Starting this week, I will proactively communicate our positions on participation and document availability to underscore the US Government’s commitment to
transparency
Terry D. Kramer
U.S. Ambassador
Head of U.S. Delegation’