Terry Kramer’s Remarkable Opening of the U.S. State Department

Multi-Stakeholder meaningless if stakeholders all corporate
By joining ITAC – free and open to all – you can be a meaningful part of the process and have impact on U.S. policy. All the big tech companies – Microsoft, Cisco, Google, AT&T, Verizon and two dozen more – use the ITAC meetings and mailings to have a say. Over 100 independents are getting the once secret documents of the ITU, regular briefings from Ambassador Terry Kramer and top State officials (Dick Brainerd included) and questions answered.

   With Kramer’s encouragement, I and Mike Masnick at Techdirt publicized how to join and the response was remarkable. Three prominent professors, a former board member of ICANN and many more signed up. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré at Columbia pointed out ITAC as an ideal example of how governments can get all ITU documents to their citizens.

   Terry’s likely to move on after December and the State Department staff will take back control. These include the same people who a few years ago set a firm U.S. opinion that civil society not play a role at ITU. Far too often, I found myself in discussions where I was the only voice outside government that was not corporate. With luck, the success of Kramer’s actions has changed their opinions and they will stay effectively open going forward.

For the record, I sent the below to the WCIT list at State.

Multi-Stakeholder meaningless if stakeholders all corporate
By joining ITAC – free and open to all – you can be a meaningful part of the process and have impact on U.S. policy. All the big tech companies – Microsoft, Cisco, Google, AT&T, Verizon and two dozen more – use the ITAC meetings and mailings to have a say. Over 100 independents are getting the once secret documents of the ITU, regular briefings from Ambassador Terry Kramer and top State officials (Dick Brainerd included) and questions answered.

   With Kramer’s encouragement, I and Mike Masnick at Techdirt publicized how to join and the response was remarkable. Three prominent professors, a former board member of ICANN and many more signed up. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré at Columbia pointed out ITAC as an ideal example of how governments can get all ITU documents to their citizens.

   Terry’s likely to move on after December and the State Department staff will take back control. These include the same people who a few years ago set a firm U.S. opinion that civil society not play a role at ITU. Far too often, I found myself in discussions where I was the only voice outside government that was not corporate. With luck, the success of Kramer’s actions has changed their opinions and they will stay effectively open going forward.

For the record, I sent the below to the WCIT list at State.

It’s important for the non-corporate members of this group to stay active after this meeting. Ambassador Terry Kramer made a special effort to bring non-corporate people into the State department ITAC. He knows the whole U.S. effort for “multi-stakeholder” is compromised if the only stakeholders are corporate. Before WCIT, I was often the only attendee who wasn’t government or corporate. Here’s how to stay involved.

1- Make sure you’re on the main ITAC list, not just the WCIT list. Julian Minard is the man to solve any problems there.

2- The real horsetrading for WCIT has begun now that the U.S. election is over. Continue writing actively to this list.

3- Remember that ITU will continue playing a major role in security whether it’s included in the treaty or not. (They had a hand in uncovering Stuxnet, have a working agreement with Interpol, …) There’s lots of potential for things to go wrong here, so stay involved directly with the ITU.

4- Email me if you want advice on how to navigate the system. I’ve learned some of the ropes and happy to share.

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