Today, Jerry and I are pleased to announce a major update to WCITLeaks.org, our project to bring transparency to the ITU’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT, pronounced wicket).
If you haven’t been following along, WCIT is an upcoming treaty conference to update the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), which currently govern some parts of the international telephone system, as well as other antiquated communication methods, like telegraphs. There has been a push from some ITU member states to bring some aspects of Internet policy into the ITRs for the first time.
We started WCITLeaks.org to provide a public hosting platform for people with access to secret ITU documents. We think that if ITU member states want to discuss the future of the Internet, they need to do so on an open and transparent basis, not behind closed doors.
Today, we’re taking our critique one step further. Input into the WCIT process has been dominated by member states and private industry. We believe it is important that civil society have its say as well. That is why we are launching a new section of the site devoted to policy analysis and advocacy resources. We want the public to have the very best information from a broad spectrum of civil society, not just whatever information most serves interests of the ITU, member states, and trade associations.
At the same time, we’re not backing off from our original position. We think the ITU’s policy of keeping WCIT-related documents secret is becoming increasingly untenable. We received an email from the ITU’s press office yesterday announcing a global press briefing. Here is what it said:
As the conference approaches, there is quite a lot of misinformation being circulated concerning the agenda and process of the conference. Join this global discussion to find out what’s REALLY going to be discussed, and how the process of proposals and debates operates to ensure a global consensus among all countries.
Misinformation, they claim—about documents the ITU keeps secret. If the ITU and its client states have nothing to hide, why are they keeping information from the public? The best way to fight misinformation is with transparency. We call on the ITU and its member states to make all documents associated with global telecommunications available to the public.
We could also use your help. Please help us spread the word about WCITLeaks to anyone who may be interested. In addition, we ask our users around the world to apply pressure to their governments to make their documents publicly available. Finally, please make good use of our new resources section; it is vital for the future of the Internet that the global citizenry be well-informed about potential threats to the free flow of information.