The International Telecommunication Union is "the most failed body in the history of international telecommunications," a former policy chief has told CNET.
Anthony Rutkowski held the position of the ITU's chief of telecommunication regulations and relations between members in the ITU's general secretariat from November 1987 to January 1992. In that capacity, he also served as counselor to the secretary-general, worked for two ITU secretaries-general -- and much more in various capacities for the telecommunications arm of the United Nations.
Speaking to CNET exclusively from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Rutkowski criticized the ITU and warned of the backlash from the international community.
Right now, the U.N.'s ITU continues to host its World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai, where member states are arguing over proposed revisions to the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR) -- which would expand the ITU's jurisdiction over the Internet, such as creating pay-per-use tolls and heightening surveillance and monitoring regulations, and which would give nation states increased control over the Internet.
"The reality is that other than ITU radio spectrum management work, the rest is a worthless institution that does nothing more than flush money into the Geneva economy."--Anthony Rutkowski
The ITU reminds its critics at every public relations juncture that member states do not have to agree to the changes, and may not even implement them (a number of nations -- such as the United States -- have historically ignored the ITU's treaties).
Rutkowski wryly remarked, "Most of the material being stuck into the current new draft is absolutely absurd. Even the 1988 ITRs are a joke. Everyone forgot about them because no one could possibly abide by them as they mandate conformance with ITU-T standards, which are the worst in the world. It has left a 40 year trail of 'road kill' on the information superhighway."