A Modest Proposal to Open ITU to All Civil Society

A Modest Proposal 1729 CoverHamadoun Touré at Columbia made clear he wants more involvement at ITU, but it’s an international organization that moves slowly. The Internet Society can easily speed things up if they had the courage.
 I wrote to the ISOC list


    Allowing all ISOC members active in civil society to join the ISOC delegation to WCIT and other ITU events would quickly and effectively resolve the issue of limited civil society involvement. ITU members, including ISOC, have total discretion about who is on their delegation. Hamadoun Touré has actively encouraged members such as the U.S. to include in their delegation civil society. Speaking to Touré, I believe he sees a political advantage to expanding civil society. 

   The U.S. delegation currently numbers 115. The Nigerians are sending 70. ISOC only is sending 8. There’s no reason not to expand the delegation. Only a limited number of civil society representatives will have the money and time. I’d bet we could include just about all of them and still have a modest sized delegation. 

   I suggest ISOC immediately put out word that “any civil society representative who has been personally active supporting the causes of the ISOC mission” is welcome to be included in the delegation. Current non-members can simply and instantly join. Those active in ISOC like Veni, Alejandro, and Joly would also be a strong addition. 

   Of course it’s more cumbersome to coordinate a larger mission. But it establishes an important principle of how meetings like WCIT should be inclusive. The main objection I foresee is “that’s not the way we do things.” It could be. 

    Similarly, Touré has encouraged all members to share within their constituency all documents. They are not secret, he’s said, and countries and other members should distribute them. The U.S. State Department is doing just that, inviting everyone to join ITAC where it shares the documents. We should do that via the ISOC policy mailing list. 
   In that spirit, I’ve attached a current list of the 1,200 or so delegates accredited to WCIT. 
p.s. I’m accredited as press so can go if I raise the money. I’m about to do a Kickstarter for that purpose. 

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