ISOC can bring 100 members of civil society, bend ITU toward consumers. That would do more for “multi-stakeholder” goals than everything else ISOC is doing. Grigori Saghyan, of ISOC Armenia, is going to Busan as a member of the ISOC delegation. The U.S. is sending 100+ to the Busan Plenipot. I asked Secretary-General Touré whether ISOC could send 100 as well and he confirmed they’d be welcome to send as many as we choose. ISOC is an ITU member entitled to send as many people as we like to WCIT, Plenipot and other meetings.
Bringing dozens of community representatives could dramatically change the tone of ITU meetings, currently dominated by government and corporate reps. In practice, the ITU meetings are very open and civil society representatives can make a huge difference. Harold Feld of Public Knowledge had impact at WCIT.
Sally Wentworth has replaced Kummer and isn’t being as stiff necked as Kummer. She writes, “I understand that you had a question about the ISOC delegation. As you may recall, a few months back, we issued a call for applications to support 5 chapter members to attend Plenipot as part of their national delegations. Grigori was among those selected. Unfortunately, for some of our chapters, participating on their national delegations has proven to be difficult and so, as we got closer to the deadline, we welcomed them to the ISOC delegation.” At ISOC/ICANN, Veni Markovski said chapters have been asking for this for years and it was a welcome change this year. Raul Echeberria of ISOC said that unless there’s a problem ISOC will do more.
Then ISOC policy lead Markus Kummer absolutely rejected my suggestion earlier this year we bring more members to ITU meetings. “We couldn’t be sure they would support ISOC positions” or something similar. I thought that ridiculous; the whole point of a multistakeholder event is to entertain many different ideas.
I strongly recommend ISOC welcome to our delegation all experienced ISOC chapter members. Perhaps the guideline should be that after three years members would normally be welcome. (Finding expense money is a separate problem but some will find a way.) There would be no limit on freedom to speak except prefacing with “Speaking for myself and not ISOC” anything that doesn’t follow the party line.
I also think we should honor the principle of open access to by accrediting any experienced public advocate or scholar, especially those who can’t join their national delegation. Touré told me that one reason the Internet Society is given free membership in the ITU is to bring in more diverse groups.
U.S. Ambassador Verveer told me “ITU is a model of openness that other groups should emulate.” He was right, even if most people have been told otherwise.
Slews of sessions at WCIT were webcast worldwideThey webcast worldwide