The negotiations in Dubai have failed. Despite the fact that long discussions had created large consensus towards a draft document deprived of the most controversial issues (such as the extension of ITU’s powers over the Internet and the ETNO’s proposal on Internet termination), on December 13, 2102 a last-minute controversial intervention vanished the entire process. The African delegation succeeded in getting approved a resolution which, de facto, would legitimate filtering and monitoring of Internet traffic. US, European countries and most delegations of Western-liberal States have therefore left the negotiation desk. The WCIT12 is therefore collapsing: even if the Treaty will be now signed, it will not be binding vis-à-vis most of the Internet-centric countries.
While the controversial resolution was deemed to be a non-binding document, then it was surprisingly included in the draft ITRs documents deemed for approval. Although the legal implications of the resolution were complex, most Western countries have seen an attempt to re-open the issues of governance of Internet and regulation of content by the ITU. They have therefore refused to sign the final draft of the amended ITRs.
This is a real missed opportunity to extend the benefits of competitive and liberalised markets, but the blame lies with those non-European governments that insisted on creating new rights for governments instead of focusing on what’s good for end users. The main responsibility of this failure lies with ITU and his director general Touré, who managed the negotiations with the scope to increase ITU’s powers and too late realized that others could manipulate the entire process.
What will happen then? A stated above, non-signing countries will not be bound by the new rules. Now, in the absence of a common understanding about an agreed international framework, the multistakeholder model for Internet will go ahead as usual. This model will in any case reflect the supremacy of US and in general western developed countries in this area. However, there will be an increasing risk for fragmentation, in the sense that some countries (Iran, China, Saudi Arabia and in general non liberal countries) will be tempted to establish national data networks which will run in parallel with the Internet (like presently in Cuba). As regards spam, cybercrime and security, there might be also national controversial initiatives.
Euroispa, the European association of iSPs, regrets for the failure of the WCIT12 negotiations.