"Some issues are neither right nor left." I'd never vote for Marine Le Pen, President of the National Front in France and consider it tragic her party is doing so well. But when she's right, she's right. In her vote at the EU and in her statement below, she strongly supports Net Neutrality. Meanwhile, the "socialist" French government waffled on the subject and the "liberal" U.S. Obama regime actively opposed NN at the U.N. 

    Danny Sepulveda's State Department insisted that the words "Net Neutrality" be removed from the ITU & WSIS resolutions. I was horrified by this, especially after Net Neutrality was a strong part of the President's campaign. I said so on the State Department ITAC, where I'm a member and I urge you to also join.

"I believe Barack Obama and the U.S. government continue to support net neutrality, a major plank of Obama's platform since 2007. So we should have been happy that WSIS + 10 included two references. Instead, our draft strips out both. I asked what was going on on the ITAC call and was told "we believe NN is too controversial'' by a corporate lobbyist. Someone tried to change that to the more bureaucratically correct "this isn't the right place" but that's obviously not the real issue. 

   The U.S. is not a credible defender of the open Internet if we keep making decisions like this. 

Dave Burstein"

    I make a point of reporting what I say at ITAC but I keep "off the record" other people's comments. I urge all of you to join, filtering the (voluminuous) email into a folder to read at your convenience. Ambassador Phil Verveer testified to Congress, that ITAC is “open to all interested parties to review and advise." Julie Zoller writes

"Please provide the following if you wish to join the ITAC to Julian Minard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.M:

Name:

Company/Organization/Community you are representing:

Mailing Address:

Email address:

Telephone Number: 

     I've been assured there will be minimal bureaucratic difficulty but be considerate if there's a short delay because the staff is very busy.

 Below, my earlier article confirming with State that ITAC is open, Ms. Le Pen's official statement that is more progressive than two "liberal" governments and some miscellaneous rules of State committees.

 

ITU Secrecy Disappearing As U.S. ITAC Open To All

Join me and make a difference. 303,000,000 Americans have just been offered access to the notoriously secret ITU WCIT documents. Just join ITAC, the State Department International Telecommunications Advisory Committee, and enjoy access. “It takes a simple email with a request to be placed on the ITAC listserv, based on some material interest in a given topic,” Paul Najarian of State writes. Simply send an email to joinJulian Minard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and you automatically have access to ITAC. That's actually proving true, and email me if you need details how to make this work for you. Until now, no one knew about it so almost no one applies except insiders. It’s really that simple. I’ve recommended three people and they were all treated respectfully.

  Uncle Sam wants you, as  Ambassador Terry Kramer makes clear below and confirmed to me in a brief phone call. “We welcome all interested stakeholders to participate in our WCIT preparatory process and help the U.S. Government form positions in advance of the conference.  We solicit this input and feedback through the United States International Telecommunications Advisory Committee (ITAC).” His colleague, Ambassador Phil Verveer testified to Congress, that ITAC is “open to all interested parties to review and advise on the regional and national contributions to WCIT as they are submitted.” 
    To my amazement, the discussions are substantive. With almost no one outside the system, it's become a convenient forum for State to share information with NTIA, FCC, and others, as well as two dozen or so corporate people who are on the inside. So it's actually a useful point to express your opinion. Being on ITAC gives you access to the main ITU and WCIT documents, along with a painful number of exceedingly boring emails. The meetings are in D.C. at State and generally have call-ins. 

 

 Defending freedom and neutrality on the Internet

Explanation of vote Marine Le Pen, French MEP, the report Pilar Del Castillo Vera "Single European Electronic Communications Market"I voted with my colleagues, the texts in the European Parliament to defend freedom and neutrality in particular on the internet. I considered it my duty to preserve this rare area of ??freedom of expression with respect to requirements, at least suspicious of certain lobbies telecom operators and their allies-Europeans within the Industry Committee " ".

It is very important to affirm our principles relating to the defense of our freedoms against the abuses observed across the Atlantic and around the world, both in terms of scandals widespread surveillance of citizens and public actors, Dangerous agreements between multinationals.

------------

Membership in the Department of State’s International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) is open to representatives of U.S. government agencies; representatives of recognized operating agencies, scientific or industrial organizations that are in engaged in telecommunications; and individuals or representatives of any other entity with an interest in telecommunications and information policy matters.  There is no citizenship requirement; however, anyone considering membership should be aware that the Foreign Agent Registration Act requires every agent of a foreign principal, not otherwise exempt, to register with the Department of Justice.

 

The Department of State has established an ITAC email list as a convenient means of communication.  The purpose of the ITAC email list is to announce ITAC meetings, to announce U.S. preparations for participation in international meetings, to distribute documents of general interest (e.g., the agenda for the ITAC meetings, an ITU Circular Letter announcing a meeting, etc.), and for the Department to share information of general interest relevant to fulfilling the purpose of the ITAC. The e-mail list may also be used from time to time to solicit the views of ITAC members on discrete issues, but the committee’s official business takes place through meetings.  Information on the ITAC email list is not for publication.

 

The Department will consider all those on the ITAC e-mail list to be members of the advisory committee.  Membership—and thus use of the e-mail list—is at the Department’s discretion.  Members of federal advisory committees are either representatives of specified entities or special government employees.  Individual members (representing “themselves”) cannot be a member of an advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act.  Therefore, anyone who wishes to be included/remain on the ITAC list must provide not only his or her name, but also the company, organization, or community that he or she is representing.  Individuals or representatives of organizations that do not participate as members of the ITAC may nonetheless attend ITAC meetings and share their perspectives.  All ITAC meetings are announced and open to the public.

The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein

Latest

Professor Noam's "Many Internets" http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-hold-rally-on-internet-at-citi-field.html . More from Noam http://bit.ly/ManyNets

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more http://bit.ly/RussiaDNS

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board http://bit.ly/CEOPromises
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,http://bit.ly/CEOPromises

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling http://bit.ly/SorryPai
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors http://bit.ly/SorryPai

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More http://bit.ly/VintTim
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list, http://bit.ly/VintTim