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[ NNSquad ] Fwd: Opinion on the Internet in the Information Society

(The following opinion was submitted to the State Department for the
World Telecommunications Policy Forum in May.  It has a large number
of citations that have been snipped from the following text version
for clarity.  The document itself is attached.)

Opinion on Recognizing the Internet in the Information Society

The fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum,


The outcomes of the two phases of the World Summit on the Information
Society rarely use the term "Internet," almost exclusively using the
term in relation to Internet Governance.

In particular:

The remaining portions of the WSIS outcome documents are articulated
in relation to the broader term "ICTs."  This includes the bulk of:
the Geneva Declaration's presentation of the common vision of the
Information Society and its key principles; the Geneva Plan of
Action's presentation of the roles of stakeholders, objectives, goals
and targets, action lines, priorities and strategies for development,
and performance measures; the affirmations in the Tunis Commitment;
and the Tunis Agenda's provisions addressing financing of development,
numerous aspects of Internet governance, and performance and follow up
in fulfilling the Agenda;

        further observing


That Council Decision 562 and Resolutions 101, 102 and 133 present a
range of issues for discussion using a variety of terms besides
Internet, including telecommunications/ICTs, IP-based networks, Next
Generation Networks (NGNs), future networks, future Internet, etc.

In particular:
IP-based Networks:
Next-Generation Networks:

        calling attention to the fact

that these terms in the WSIS outcome documents and the Resolutions
framing the fifth World Telecommunications/ICT Policy Forum, may
designate broader categories or more specialized technical solutions
than are represented by the Internet platform and the term “Internet”;


that the Internet is a key concern of the World Telecommunication/ICT
Policy Forum

In particular:

Council Decision 562 notes that international Internet-related public
policy matters is a topic of high current interest to ITU Member
States and Sector Members

Resolution 101 notes
Resolution 102 notes


that both public policy decisions and particular technical systems
deployed under the development programs of the Information Society
have the potential to detract from the capabilities brought by the
Internet platform;

        recognizing with special concern

that every part of the Geneva Action Plan of the WSIS has the
potential to affect the Internet unless the key characteristics of the
Internet are recognized.

In particular:

An intergovernmental body can recast the nature of the Internet
platform unless we recognize and secure its unique strengths and
character; and conversely, the kind of standards-making that produced
the Internet is more difficult to conduct in intergovernmental fora.

National e-strategies may also affect the Internet, including
impacting inclusivity in the sense of end user and independent
provider empowerment made possible by the Internet

Promotion of public domain information, accessibility for all, and use
of technology for governance, all can be impacted deleteriously
without addressing the Internet as a means of interoperating between
diverse providers and end users

Education and capacity building for different groups and communities,
including distance learning, can be impacted if we do not assure that
impacts on the Internet can be readily identified

Measures to build trust and confidence can also easily recast the
nature of the platform if its nature is not addressed clearly

The establishing of enabling environments can affect the ability for
independent, autonomous networks to readily interoperate by means of
the Internet protocols unless the nature of the Internet is
acknowledged clearly

The ability to empower sustainable development and support diverse
applications for public administration, business and numerous areas of
life that may be benefited by the Information Society can be affected
if the nature of the platform made possible by the Internet protocols
is not acknowledged clearly

Linguistic and cultural diversity express issues of empowerment and
autonomy that are implicated whenever the power of local communities
is implicated in policies and practices that may affect the Internet

The implications for freedom of speech and the media are easy to
recognize as a direct reflection of the Internet as a communications
platform, but these concerns may also be affected in special ways that
derive from the nature of intergovernmental forums, policies and
processes, which may be more readily identified when key
characteristics of the Internet are acknowledged.

Impacts of Information Society activities on ethical questions and
common values can more readily be articulated on the basis of express
principles that reflect the key characteristics of the Internet

Initiatives that build on international and regional cooperation, and
the capacity for cooperation itself, may be affected if initiatives
proceed without recognizing the nature of the Internet platform;


the need to assure that both the governance and development contexts
can readily recognize these impacts in order to assure the advantages
that the Internet brings to the Information Society can be extended to
all, and are not overlooked without recognizing the tradeoffs that may
be brought by various other technological solutions, which for their
part may have their own advantages;


that according to Resolution 2, the purpose of the World
Telecommunications Policy Forum is to provide a venue for exchanging
views and information and create a shared vision among policy-makers
worldwide on issues arising from the emergence of new technologies,
and to enable the recognition and understanding of national policies
and regulations in order to develop global markets that can support
harmonious telecommunications

that Resolution 2 also cites the purposes of the ITU as including
promoting the adoption of a broader approach to
telecommunications/ICTs issues in the global information economy and
society, and promoting the extending of the benefits of new
technologies to all.


that governments participating in inter-governmental decisionmaking
and enhanced cooperation may choose to establish policies that may
affect key characteristics of the Internet

that individual governments seeking to establish
telecommunications/ICT policies may seek to allow for national
policies that diverge from the key characteristics of the Internet

that policy decisions contributing to the enabling environment for
fostering telecommunications/ICT development, and technical aspects of
telecommunications/ICTs deployed in development programs, may affect
key characteristics of the Internet

that governments seeking to establish national or international
telecommunications policies that may affect key characteristics of the
Internet, may wish to incorporate distinct provisions for Internet
connectivity fulfilling its key characteristics

that enhanced cooperation in inter-governmental policymaking may be
facilitated by providing for these modalities;

        is of the opinion that

processes must be set up wherein key characteristics of the Internet
can be articulated, whereby its unique strengths can be recognized and
thereby allowing developments that may affect its special nature and
strengths to be readily recognized;


the following points as a starting point for principles that enable
the Internet and its advantages to be recognized and distinguished
from other terms that may designate technical concepts that are
broader or more specialized in nature than the Internet platform:

that it is defined in terms of principles of interoperation between networks,

that the resulting platform is a general purpose platform,

that it is available as a general purpose platform to end users, and

that it enables general purpose connectivity directly between end
users throughout the globe (or beyond), to all other networks that
interoperate on the same terms.

Attachment: Opinion on Recognizing the Internet in the Information Society.doc
Description: MS-Word document

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