As you might know, a few months ago Eli Dourado and I launched WCITLeaks.org, a site meant to bring transparency to the UN’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT, pronounced wicket). Today we’re relaunching a new and improved version of the site.
At the conference in December, world governments will consider proposals to increase government control of the Internet. The father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, has warned that “Such proposals raise the prospect of policies that enable government controls but greatly diminish the ‘permissionless innovation’ that underlies extraordinary Internet-based economic growth to say nothing of trampling human rights.”
Sadly, though, those proposals have been kept secret by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which is hosting the meeting. WCITLeaks.org gave those in possession of such documents a way to make them available to the public. To date we have published about 11 percent of ITU documents related to the WCIT. But we think there’s more we can do.
The new WCITLeaks also provides a resource bank with links to analysis and advocacy materials from civil society, and a news page populated both with broad overviews of the issue and recent headlines. The hope is that WCITLeaks.org can serve as a clearinghouse for information related to the conference, as well as future efforts by the ITU to regulate the Internet.
In a couple of weeks, the ITU will be holding a press conference to discuss the WCIT because, they say, “there is quite a lot of misinformation being circulated concerning the agenda and process of the conference.” They invite journalists to “Join this global discussion to find out what’s REALLY going to be discussed[.]”
It’s amazing, but they are holding a press conference to dispel “misinformation” about what’s going to be discussed at the conference, and what’s going to be discussed at the conference is—wait for it—in the documents they keep secret! If the ITU is serious about dispelling any misinformation, the best way to do that is not with a press conference but by making all documents related to the WCIT public.
Until then, WCITLeaks.org will continue to serve as a resource where citizens can inform themselves by reading the secret government’s proposals, and now also by perusing news, policy analyses, and advocacy materials from a broad spectrum of civil society groups. We hope you will help us spread the word about the site, and submit documents and links you think should be included. Thanks for your help!