Accession to the ITRs Considered Harmful
Author(s): A. Rutkowski
One of the treaties maintained by the International Telecommunication Union is the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), whose purpose historically has been to create international service uniformity and a global monopoly cartel for provisioning legacy international telecommunication services. Nations...
General Area A. M. Rutkowski Internet-Draft Netmagic Associates LLC Intended status: Informational Expires: January 14, 2014 July 14, 2013 Accession to the ITRs Considered Harmful draft-rutkowski-itr-accession-harmful-00.txt Abstract One of the treaties maintained by the International Telecommunication Union is the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), whose purpose historically has been to create international service uniformity and a global monopoly cartel for provisioning legacy international telecommunication services. Nations such as the U.S. and Canada have typically neither signed them nor accepted their provisions. The 1988 version of the ITRs was similar in purpose and effect, but failed in its objectives because the mandated OSI services and ITU-T standards were unsuccessful in the marketplace. In addition, most of the world's Nation-States moved away from monopoly government-run telecom provisioning to competitive market models. This also resulted in a substantial decline of the ITU itself as an intergovernmental home for monopoly Nation-State providers. Given this institutional decline and the vestigial opposition of some ITU Members to this provisioning paradigm shift, efforts were begun a decade ago by some ITU participants and officials to imbue the ITU with a vast expansion of its scope and jurisdiction and impose new regulatory controls through revisions to the moribund ITRs. Most progressive national Administrations opposed these efforts. The conflict played out in Dec 2012 in Dubai at a global treaty conference known as the WCIT. Only 89 of the ITU 193 member nations signed the resulting treaty instrument at Dubai - largely those without significant national communication infrastructure, or those favoring strong regulatory regimes for Internet use. The result was an embarrassing miscalculation for those seeking these changes. It bifurcated the treaty basis for the ITU. This document analyses the many adverse effects of the resulting treaty, and identifies problems that may arise for those states acceding to the treaty. It concludes by noting how the Internet community, including citizens of non-signatory countries, benefit from the rejection of this broken treaty instrument. Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 1] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 Status of this Memo This Internet-Draft is submitted to IETF in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79. Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas, and its working groups. Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress." The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at http://www.ietf.org/ietf/1id-abstracts.txt. The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at http://www.ietf.org/shadow.html. This Internet-Draft will expire on January 14, 2014. Copyright Notice Copyright (c) 2013 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved. This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License. Table of Contents 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. The 2012 ITRs and their far-reaching adverse effects . . . . . 4 3. Specific adverse effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 4. Future ITU treaty instrument evolution . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 5. IANA considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 6. Security considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 7. Informative references . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Author's Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 2] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 1. Introduction The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) was convened in December 2012 as a treaty conference among the ITU Member Nation-States to revise the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). The ITRs - which trace their origin to the 1850 Dresden Treaty for the electrical telegraph - have historically existed to effect a global cartel among ITU's Members by maintaining provisioning constraints and controls over legacy telecommunication services that they provided. The U.S., Canada, and other nations that did not provide public telecommunications through a national government agency (known as a PTT), typically did not participate in the conferences or adhere to the treaty provisions. The most recent version of the ITRs produced in 1988 were an abysmal failure because of wholesale reservations to the provisions, because they mandated the use of OSI platforms and ITU-T standards that failed completely in the marketplace, and the elimination of most national government telecommunication provisioning monopolies in the 1990s. The last factor was accompanied by the emergence of pro-competition treaty regimes such as the World Trade Organization General Agreement on Trade in Services. The Internet, global mobile infrastructure, and myriad additional information services rapidly emerged in most nations as a result - and notwithstanding the potential negative effects of the 1988 ITRs. These changes dramatically diminished the relevance of the ITU as an intergovernmental organization involved in the provisioning of telecommunication and information services. The ITRs became effecively a nullity because the mandated standards became unused. The ITU's activities and participants diminished. Twenty-nine Member States significantly reduced their financial contributions. Even their once popular and profitable industry Telecom trade shows became embarrassing financial liabilities. All of these changes did not set well, however, with those vestigial Member States that felt threatened by robust service provisioning and technological revolutions of which they were either not a part or could not control. Over the past ten years, this hostility to change brought together a combination of some Nation-States and pandering ITU officials. They sought to reverse what had occurred in the global marketplace by morphing the moribund 1988 treaty provisions into what they hoped would be a new relevancy for the ITU and control over the Internet and just about everything else in the way of electronic networks and information systems. The result was proposals by some nations and the ITU General Secretariat that used the ITR treaty instrument to vastly expand the jurisdiction and authority of the ITU. The ultimate vision was to Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 3] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 include all "ICT" services, as well as all providers and users of those services. Normative regulatory provisions were then added into the ITRs with the intent like decades past, to make ITU standards "preeminent" and effectively mandatory. Most progressive nations rejected this result. Unlike in decades past, where only the U.S. and Canada refused to sign and took reservations, most of the world's networked nations rejected the contrived treaty result. Only 89 signed the instrument - primarily from the Middle East and Africa, plus Russia and China. This result was unprecedented in the history of the ITU, as well as a significant embarrassment for the ITU officials who are continuing to sell what they ludicrously assert are "benefits" without treating the substantial adverse effects of the new instrument. The ITRs are utterly irrelevant today, and there are no "difficulties" or downside by not acceding. Indeed, acceding is highly embarrassing for any nation doing so - saying effectively that they do not understand how the global marketplace in services operates today. They also ignore the reality that most major nations have completely ignored the ITR provisions for decades - with only positive results. The old 1988 provisions mandated the use of non-IETF, OSI standards and services. This plainly would not have been good for the Internet or the global economy! Few judicious nations would want to accede to the ITRs, and those which already have will likely treat the action as a superficial political gesture. In addition to all the other adverse factors, the ITU today - except in the radio spectrum domain - has been largely abandoned, and lacks the ability to take on far reaching roles for the world's ICT networks and services. 2. The 2012 ITRs and their far-reaching adverse effects The ITR provisions are a construct for a world that existed in 1850 and were incrementally evolved over the decades to apply to a narrow set of legacy international telecommunication services. On the positive side, the 1988 evolution allowed for the first time for alternative uses of international leased lines. However, they also sought to much more broadly apply the ITU-T OSI standards and declare them preeminent. It was a fatal mistake, and guaranteed the ITRs would be irrelevant and ignored. Where the 2012 revisions went very wrong was the expansion of the treaty from applying only to "administration or recognized private operating agency(ies)" to now applying to all "authorized operating agencies." The old RPOA term was very narrowly constructed and interpreted to apply only to a handful of legacy telecom carriers. There are almost no RPOAs today. This definitional devise crossed a "red line' that was made plain at the outset of the conference, that Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 4] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 most progressive Nation States were not going to cross. Thus, for example, the new treaty provisions require that "in implementing the principles of these Regulations, authorized operating agencies should comply with, to the greatest extent practicable, the relevant ITU-T Recommendations." In the context of the IETF and the Internet, it is inconceivable that such a constraint would be acceptable. For example, where there is a conflict between an IETF and an ITU-T standard, nations acceding to the 2012 ITRs are obliging themselves to ignore the IETF in favor of the ITU-T and consigning their infrastructure to standards that have largely been a proven failure over the past three decades. The adverse effects go far beyond the Internet as even in the world of mobile communications where the infrastructures and services are built on 3GPP and GSMA provisions, it is ITU-T standards under the ITRs that would be preeminent. The result is untenable. In reality, almost no ICT infrastructure or services make use of ITU-T standards. The change in the ITRs concerning the broad application of the obligations is the most far reaching of the multiple highly adverse effects of the 2012 provisions. This fundamental change goes clearly far beyond merely "some editorial revisions to bring them up to date" as ITU officials and staff have suggested. 3. Specific adverse effects The generic expansion of the ITRs to apply essentially to all service providers as described above, adversely affects the Internet and other telecommunication infrastructures by creating significant new regulatory requirements through ITU-T Recommendations. In addition, the new clauses added in Dubai, create still further adverse consequences. Regarding specific provisions: * In the Preamble, a far reaching new provision was added that states "these Regulations recognize the right of access of Member States to international telecommunication services." The provision was added in response to efforts by some landlocked nations to require access to nearby backbone transit facilities. However, in the past few years, similar ITU provisions have been applied against Internet based service providers who reject traffic from some nations for security or legal compliance purposes. Indeed, the new provision effectively creates a right for a nation to expropriate private resources where that nation can demand access to anything they deem to be an "international telecommunication service." * New language in Article 1 vastly expands the jurisdiction of the ITU and the ITRs to anyone designated an "authorized operating agency." Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 5] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 This expansion was one of the principal reasons why so many nations refused to sign the provisions. In particular, it effectively places the ITU in technical and operational control of the Internet by requiring in numerous ITR provisions that ITU-T standards are "preeminent" and to be followed rather than those of the IETF or other Internet organizations. * Other Article 1 sub-clauses repeatedly underscore ITU-T preeminence by stating "authorized operating agencies should comply with, to the greatest extent practicable, the relevant ITU-T Recommendations." Additional sub-clauses "encourage the application of relevant ITU-T Recommendations by [authorized operating agency] service providers." * Modified and new provisions in Article 3 require that "Member States endeavor to ensure that authorized operating agencies to provide a satisfactory quality of service," and then explicitly state that "a satisfactory quality of service should be maintained to the greatest extent practicable, corresponding to the relevant ITU-T Recommendations." Here again, the ITRs operate to create an ITU-T preeminence over the IETF and other Internet organizations on "quality of service." If the 1988 ITRs had prevailed, "broadband ISDN" would be used today to meet ITU requirements for "quality of service" rather than IETF standards in a flexible marketplace. * A matter of some contemporary conflict with the IETF and Internet organizations over VoIP services arises through three new Article 3 clauses. One requires "that international telecommunication numbering resources specified in ITU-T Recommendations are used only by the assignees and only for the purposes for which they were assigned; and that unassigned resources are not used." A second requires Member States to institute calling line identification pursuant to ITU-T Recommendations. A third requires that Member States become involved in "the implementation of regional telecommunication traffic exchange points." This provision potentially adversely affects IETF efforts, for example, related to STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited). * Just as the modified provisions in Article 3 provide for ITU-T preeminence for network infrastructure, similar provisions in Article 4 require that "authorized operating agencies... international telecommunication services which should conform, to the greatest extent practicable, to the relevant ITU-T Recommendations." The provisions then go further to require Member States "ensure that authorized operating agencies provide and maintain, to the greatest extent practicable, a satisfactory quality of service corresponding to the relevant ITU-T Recommendations." Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 6] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 4. Future ITU treaty instrument evolution It is unlikely that the many nations who refused to sign the International Telecommunication Regulations will accede in the future. The adverse consequences of accepting and implementing the basic provisions would be far reaching for nations - who would then be obliged to maintain loyalty to an "ITU regime" whose standards are not viable and looks to a global regulatory model for service provisioning. Such nations consign themselves to a kind of second class status among networked nations, and the 89 that signed in Dubai should reject accession. Already since December 2012, most major networking nations and their industries have accelerated their flight from the ITU-T - leaving it largely a shell. There is nothing but "upside" to not signing the ITRs - as was amply demonstrated in the years following 1988 when increasing numbers of nations collectively ignored the provisions. What the Dubai WCIT made plain was a long-term evolution where "old school" government officials in some nations failed to realize that an intergovernmental treaty organization that functions as a United Nations Specialized Agency, has a very limited value proposition today in a world of the Internet and mobile telecommunications. Indeed, such an organization is in large measure detrimental to the interests and citizens of all nations. The last thing that should occur is to expand the ITU's reach to include and regulate under a common ITR regime, all Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and their providers as articulated in the ITR provisions and accompanying Resolutions. These fundamental bifurcations represented in development of the ITRs in 2012 in Dubai could spill over into the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in late 2014. If the same nations who pushed for ITR changes to broaden the ITU's jurisdiction and role attempt to do so in the ITU Constitution as well, a similar scenario is likely to unfold where large numbers of ITU Member States will refuse to sign the treaty containing its Constitution. The trend to flee the ITU will be even further exacerbated. It is possible that an independent ITU Radiocommunication treaty organization could emerge - as existed prior to the ITU amalgamation that occurred in 1934. 5. IANA considerations None. Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 7] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 6. Security considerations The requirement that nations acceding to the 2012 ITRs follow ITU treaty provisions, including an obligation to "comply with, to the greatest extent practicable, the relevant ITU-T Recommendations" for Internet networks and services, is a major security vulnerability. 7. Informative references [never-say-die] Telecomtv, Never say die: the ITU goes door- stepping for signatures, http://www.telecomtv.com/comspace_newsDetail.aspx? n=50069&id=e9381817-0593-417a-8639-c4c53e2a2a10 [staff-gone-wild] CircleID, ITU Staff Gone Wild, 13 Mar 2013, http://browse.feedreader.com/c/CircleID/351187458 [itu-meltdown] CircleID, The Continuing ITU Meltdown, 10 Feb 2013, http://www.circleid.com/posts/20130210_the_continu ing_itu_meltdown/ [after-dubai CircleID, After Saying No in Dubai: What Next, 19 Dec 2012, http://www.circleid.com/posts/20121219_after_sayin g_no_in_dubai_what_next/ [itu-failed] c/net, ITU 'failed,' says former policy chief, 12 Dec 2012, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_357558819- 93/exclusive-itu-failed-says-formerpolicy- chief/ [does-it-matter] CircleID, The Dubai Debacle: Does It Matter?, 4 Dec 2012, http://www.circleid.com/posts/20121204_the_dubai_d ebacle_does_it_matter/ [itu-gone-wild] Enterprise Tech Central, ITU Gone Wild, 26 Nov 2012, http://blog.itcentralstation.com/itu-gonewild- or-why-free-speech-on-the-internet-is-atrisk/ [only-winning-game] CircleID, The Only Winning Game at the WCIT, 15 Nov 2012 http://www.circleid.com/posts/20121115_the_only_wi nning_game_at_the_wcit/ Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 8] Internet-Draft ITR Accession Harmful July 2013 [just-say-no] Computerworld, WCIT-12: Just say no, 14 Sep 2012, http://blogs.computerworld.com/it industry/20993/wcit-12-just-say-no [privatizing-itu-t] Circle ID, Privatizing the ITU-T: Back to the Future, 16 Aug 2012, http://www.circleid.com/posts/20120816_privatizing _the_itu_t_back_to_the_future/ [extreme-agendas] Wordpress, Extreme agendas in the ITU, 29 June 2012, http://inetaria.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/ituextreme- agendas-v1-2-1.pdf Author's Address A. M. Rutkowski Netmagic Associates LLC Ashburn VA, USA Phone: Fax: Email: email@example.com Rutkowski Expires January 14, 2014 [Page 9]