Encryption: Free Marketers join Progressives to Protect Encryption

Ed Snowden put his life on the line to prove all larger Western countries were massively spying on their own people. Dozens of top people, including AT&T CEOs Randall Stephenson and Ed Whitacre, could have been sent to jail. The reaction in the U.S., France and England was to change the laws to allow almost all of the spying to continue. Barack Obama as a Senator and when campaigning wanted the laws enforced. As President, he decided to go along with the security agencies.

The latest battleground is encryption. The security forces want to make sure no encryption can lock them out. With 75%+ of the population scared enough to give security anything they ask, basic privacy protections are disappearing. Those who think the government shouldn't be able to spy on everything we do on the Internet have a tough battle.

200 organizations have now signed An open letter to the leaders of the world to hold back this tide. They include the market-oriented TechFreedom group, which rarely sides with progressives. As Kevin Martin said to me, "Some issues are not Republican or Democrat, left or right.

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ITU Plenipot 2014 Delegate List

Here are the 2,000 plus delegates accredited to the every four year ITU Plenipotentiary, as of October 10. The list is available to thousands via a standard ITU TIES account, freely available to anyone in the U.S. Secretary-General Touré has encouraged everyone to take advantage of the fact that ITU documents are public and circulate them freely. A few things I noticed:

Africa: Believes ITU is the most important event. Nigeria sends ~80< Kenya, Ghana, Morocco Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan, Zambia, Burundi, Cameroon and others  a dozen or more. The ITU meeting is used as a crucial meeting point of the Africans for more than just the ITU. Since many of these countries can't afford to go to all the other meetings, so any group that wants to relate to Africa needs to be here. Busan, Korea is not a vacation spot. They come to work.

Central Asia: Large delegations from Kazakhstan and others. Presumably meeting each other here in lieu if effective regional meetings.

England, France: Relatively small delegations, although England is leading an EU attack on the Russians.

U.S.: Only about 7 of about 140 U.S. delegates (5%) represent civil society or consumers. Multi-stakeholder?

U.S.: There are 8 from "three letter agencies" - DOD, NSA, HSA. They are not there to promote freedom of speech.


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Who's Who Among the 100 on U.S. 2014 Plenipot

State department5 or 6 public delegates in 100. Update Oct 15 New list has ~7 public delegates out of about 140. The public advocates were outnumbered something like 10-1 at WCIT, as usual. Some of the top lobbyists aren't even bothering to come. Verizon, Cisco and Google have cut back. The top people probably believe the even may have some loud talk but nothing important is going to happen. The U.S. is likely to be able to block anything we don't like. We essentially don't like the ITU doing anything of substance other than giving us some satellite slots. Hardly anything will get through. 

    The rest are from government, including some from DOD and other three letter agencies. On a similar article for WCIT, I wrote “Multi-stakeholder” is worthless if the only stakeholders are corporate.

   I know most of the top U.S. government people. I believe Danny, Larry, Julie and most of the rest genuinely are working to keep the Internet open and democratic. U.S. Ambassador Danny Sepulveda is hard driving and very capable. He was close to both John Kerry and Barack Obama. I expected very different choices from an Obama person respected by several mutual friends.

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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