Commenti su uno degli incontri politicamente più rilevanti svoltisi al Cairo

Cairo
Mercoledì, 12 Novembre, 2008
Autori: 
Stefano Trumpy

Qui sotto aggiungo alcune mie note all’articolo scritto da Monica Erkert, una giornalista che partecipa regolarmente ai meeting di ICANN.

Stefano Trumpy

7 November 2008, 12:30

ITU and ICANN – a loveless forced marriage

ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré has called for better collaboration between the International Telecommunication Union[1] (ITU) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers[2] (ICANN). "Our members have unnecessarily attacked and criticised each other and I think we should put an end to that," said Touré on Thursday at the 33rd ICANN meeting in Cairo. According to Touré, the two organisations need to get to know each other better and learn to love each other, as telecommunications and the internet are ultimately condemned to a "forced marriage".

"Senza dubbio la presenza non annunciata del Segretario Generale dello ITU ha costituito un passaggio importante della riunione di ICANN del Cairo. Mr. Toure’ ha esordito esattamente come descritto sopra; la nota “senza amore” la ha aggiunta la giornalista con felice intuito, da me condiviso, per quanto emerge piu’ avanti."

Despite the outstretched hand, the ITU Secretary General did not spare the criticism in his first appearance at an ICANN meeting. Touré made it clear to the assembled experts that he saw his organisation as playing the dominant role in the forced marriage and made his opinion of the other party clear – provocatively describing ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee as purely cosmetic.

"Questo passaggio e’ in effetti avvenuto nella parte finale del suo speech durante il quale ha lungamente dissertato sui meriti dello ITU. A questa asserzione di Mr. Toure’ ha opportunamente contro argomentato il Chair del GAC Janis Karklins che ha messo in evidenza la differenza del modello ITU (ente intergovernativo aperto al settore privato) con il modello ICANN (ente internazionale con la leadership del settore privato nel quale i governi svolgono una parte importante e rispettata ma non hanno un ruolo preminente nel Board della associazione). Come delegato del GAC in ICANN condivido pienamente la argomentazione del nostro chair e ritengo che il GAC dovrebbe continuare ad avere il ruolo di “Advisory Committee”."

The depth of the chasm between the two – the UN organisation, which has its roots in the telecommunications world, and the quasi-internet-regulator ICANN – was stressed by a series of further statements in the half-hour talk given by the head of the ITU. Touré repeatedly spoke of the "war" between the two organisations. According to Touré, who was elected in 2006, "The best way to win a war, is to prevent it."

"E qui siamo d’accordo."

In the course of his 'marriage proposal', he referred extensively to the ITU's outstanding role. Key topics for his organisation, he noted, include the internationalisation of domains, something with which ICANN is currently engaged, the transition to IPv6[3], standardisation for the all-IP Next Generation Network[4] (NGN), cyber-security, the fight against online terrorism and child protection online.

Touré rejected concerns that the ITU was appointing itself as global regulator of internet resources and processes, "The ITU has clear boundaries. We do not perform the operative business." However, he underlined the organisation's demand, set out in its Cybersecurity Agenda[5], to be responsible for a global framework in the fight against online terrorism and criminality. He also defended the controversial IP traceback[6] standard proposal. "There is not one country which isn't doing it, it's just that each country is doing it differently," said Touré.

"Su questo ultimo punto lo ITU e’ stato fortemente criticato in particolare dalla societa’ civile, per la costituzione di un gruppo di lavoro, caldeggiato dalla Cina, avente lo scopo di elaborare un metodo standard che faciliti il reperimento dell’originante di una qualsiasi transazione sulla rete. Questa appare come una iniziativa top-down orchestrata dai governi per dare un colpo alla difesa dell’anonimato in rete e permettere quindi a certi governi di individuare piu’ facilmente oppositori, non certo per fare loro dei complimenti."

Touré also rejected criticism that the ITU operates behind closed doors. He stated that the organisation has around 700 sector members from the telecommunications industry and also admits NGOs as members. Touré also praised the ITU's openness – a nod to the World Summit on the Information Society[7] (WSIS). The summit, organised under ITU auspices, is, according to Touré, the first UN summit at which civil society has also been invited to sit at the table, rather than demonstrating outside.

"Qualcuno ha fatto notare che questa sublime concessione di far sedere al tavolo la societa’ civile e’ lontana alquanto dal modello ICANN che considera la societa’ civile come partner fondamantale nella decisione delle “policy” definite secondo un modello multi-stakeholder."

In the same breath, Touré expressed strong criticism of the Internet Governance Forum[8] (IGF), which was called into being by the WSIS, "I am personally of the opinion that the IGF is continuously going round in circles and avoiding issues – it is becoming more and more a waste of time." Therefore, the ITU is planning a global forum for internet policy next year as a rival event.

"In una certa misura, e’ vero che negli IGF si parla molto e si conclude poco; questo e’ lo spirito dello IGF, cioe’ quello di guadagnare coscienza e visione globale sulla governance al fine di creare delle “best practices” e favorire la cosi’ detta “enhanced cooperation” tra le organizzazioni che sono attive sui vari aspetti della Governance. Lo IGF non e’ stato costituito per prendere decisioni vincolanti di alcun tipo ne’ di sostituirsi a nessuna organizzazione. Di un ulteriore forum che si occupy delle policy di internet non se ne sente proprio il bisogno; competizione interna in casa UN ? Ci mancherebbe anche questo!"

Touré also fired a further undiplomatic broadside at the work performed by governments within ICANN. "The Governmental Advisory Committee is ICANN's weak point," said Touré. His criticism was directed at the advisory function of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) in developing rules for the domain name system. "If someone gives me advice, I am free to take it or leave it." The ICANN's GAC is therefore nothing more than "cosmetic", noted Touré forthrightly.

"Piu’ volte si e’ discusso nel GAC se fosse opportuno per il GAC avere diritto di voto nel Board di ICANN; la argomentazione che finora ha impedito che si percorresse questa via e’ stata che non cambierebbe nella sostanza essere presente con il chair nel Board senza voto o rendere il rappresentante del GAC membro votante in un Board cha ha allo stato attuale 15 membri votanti."

In a short statement following Touré's speech, the Brazilian government representative on the GAC demanded, in the name of his and the Argentinian government, the "strengthening of the GAC".

"Nel senso di quanto detto al punto precedente il nostro governo non e’ in linea con quanto sostenuto da Brasile ed Argentina; su migliorare la efficienza del GAC nell’assetto attuale, siamo naturalmente d’accordo."

Latvian diplomat Janis Karklins, re-elected as GAC chairman, by contrast noted that the ITU and ICANN operated according to very different political models, "From the viewpoint of an international organisation, the ICANN model may appear weak, because governments are merely advisory, whilst in an international organisation they run the show." ICANN is, he opined, based on the novel idea of collaboration between interested parties. He noted that both models have their advantages and disadvantages, and that governments need to learn to operate within both models.

"Ottimo, come gia’ detto."

(Monika Ermert)

(Stefano Trumpy)