CIRA and the ITU

CIRA and the ITU

In response to:

"my broad conclusion is that the ITU cannot be allowed anywhere near Internet governance for the immediate future."

Too late. In 1996 Bob Shaw (ITU), Albert Tramposch (WIPO) and Don Heath (ISOC) met at an OECD meeting in Ottawa. From this meeting IAHC was born which, with NSI's help, begat ICANN.

In 1998 at an IFWP meeting, ostensibly tasked by the government to help find a replacement for IANA, a very drunk Bob Shaw informed me we were wasting our time as decisions had already been made and we should really all just go home. The IFWP process was blindsided and ICANN emerged, with Bob Shaw from the ITU as a key player.

In Berlin at the names council inaugural meetings Bob Shaw introduced the GAC and explained their necessity. At the time there was a pretense that ICANN "implemented community consensus" rather than synthesized policy. I held a consensus call on the floor of the 1000-person meeting, over the objections of Shaw who turned red. 13 people were in favour of the GAC, and all of these were government representatives. Of course the GAC was not only instantly recognized, but given greater authority than the other "stakeholders". Under Bob Shaw's leadership, the GAC always met in secret, despite ICANN's assertions of "openness" and "transparency".

And let's not forget the 1996 GTE Federal Networking Systems incident when Bob Shaw called them and threw around the ITU's weight in order to quench any interest in opposition to the burgeoning ICANN movement, then swore them to secret. At the time Shaw was a LAN administrator there, but acted as though he were an important official of the ITU in Geneva. You've seen The Wizard of Oz, right?

The ITU moves in the shadows and doesn't leave fingerprints. If you think you know what's going on from public meetings you may be surprised when you find out what really happens months or even years later. Of course you'll be unlikely to find out how it happened, you'll just be left with the unsavory results.

Like ICANN. An organization formed in the late 90s, in secret tasked by the government to find a solution to the trademark/domain problem (which it did in months with WIPO and the ITU's help) and to create new top level domains. Which are two years away from whenever you ask. I coined this phrase in 1998 and it is as true today as it was then.

We used to measure the delays in new tlds (not that I have no personal interest in these and haven't since 2000) in generations of kittens, but we're at a point now where some of the key players were per-pubescent and playing with My Little Pony at the time when a solution to this problem was deemed imminent. At this juncture we can now measure the delay in generations of humans.

Keep in mind the ITU was formed as a meeting place for the 7 families that own the European telcos to have a forum to agree on technical standards to preserve their monopoly and that America fought for years to liberate its own phone numbers from the ITU.

In a world where the head of ICANN makes twice what the President of the United States earns and rules over an organization "for the public benefit" yes who make 5X what they would if they were to be government employees (see the Form 990 declarations) do not expect anything other than a furtherance of a corporate agenda which has been the modus operandi of the organization since its inception. To a great extent that power was delivered to it via the ITU, and anybody that had the power to give you everything also has the power to take it all away.

The entire "Internet governance" debacle should be standard textbook reading for anybody interested in institutional corruption. Follow the money. Look at salaries. Look at how the organizations that hand out those salaries got to the position of being able to afford those salaries.

That little ecosystem perpetrated by a small number of entrenched insiders would make Huey Long blush, and don't pretend to have the faintest understanding of what they're up to at the moment.

rjs - 23-oct-10