State of the Net for the Week of October 27

Yvette Miller ⬥ 27 October

The United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference, which the Washington Post called “the latest battle over who should run the Internet”, continues this week and through to November 7th in Busan, South Korea.

The “battle” that the publication is referring to is an issue that persists in many Internet governance forums, with opposing sides aligning behind either the “multistakeholder” model of Internet governance (which incorporates state and non-state actors alike) or the “multilateral” model of influence (which favors greater national government involvement).

The conference does not have a formal role in implementing or passing public policy on Internet issues, but it hosts working groups and historically, resolutions focusing on Internet governance have been introduced, so remarks from both sides of the issue are likely to stretch throughout the conference. As the Plenipot Conference got underway, U.S. Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, for one, told Bloomberg BNA that, “the multistakeholder process is the best mechanism in which to discuss the Internet-related issues…The reason for that is the complexity of issues and a number of different sectors and types of people that it involves.”

The ITU will continue its work under Houlin Zhao, elected at the conference as the ITU’s next Secretary-General for a term of four years. Zhao ran unopposed, having served in the position of Deputy Secretary General since 2007. For a deeper dive into the issues, the Internet Society has a Plenitpot issue and resolution chart here.

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