[At-Large] US Ambassador Kramer's Remarks on the WCIT
Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro
salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 22:24:28 UTC 2012
World Conference on International Telecommunications
Ambassador U.S. Head of Delegation, World Conference on International
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
December 13, 2012
*MODERATOR:* Yes, good evening everyone. We’re here in Dubai and with
Ambassador Kramer. We’ve just finished a session at the World Conference on
International Telecommunications, and I’m going to turn it over to
Ambassador Kramer now to give us the latest developments that happened at
the WCIT 2012.
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Great. Megan, thank you, and thank all of you for
joining us today. I want to thank you for your attention and patience as
we’ve worked through the last two weeks at this conference, and I
appreciate your diligence and persistence in reporting on the WCIT.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank and commend the ITU Secretary
General Hamadoun Toure and our Conference Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Al-Ghanim,
for their efforts and skills in working to guide this meeting. Our
gratitude also goes to the United Arab Emirates for their hospitality
during these two weeks.
The United States today has announced that it cannot sign the revised
international telecommunication regulations in their current form.
Throughout the WCIT, the U.S. and other likeminded governments have worked
consistently and unwaveringly to maintain and enhance an environment for
success for the international telecommunications and internet sectors. The
United States has consistently believed, and continues to believe, that the
ITRs should be a high-level document and that the scope of the treaty does
not extend to internet governance or content. Other administrations have
made it clear that they believe the treaty should be extended to cover
those issues, and so we cannot be part of that consensus.
There are a number of issues that were critical to the United States in
these negotiations. Number one, recognized operating agencies versus
operating agencies. The United States consistently sought to clarify that
the treaty would not apply to internet service providers or governments or
private network operators.
Number two, spam. The United States position remains that spam is a form of
content and that regulating it inevitably opens the door to regulation of
other forms of content, including political and cultural speech.
Number three, network security. The United States continues to believe that
the ITRs are not a useful venue for addressing security issues and cannot
accede to vague commitments that would have significant implications but
few practical improvements on security.
Number four, internet governance. In several proposals, it was clear that
some administrations were seeking to insert government control over
internet governance, specifically internet naming and addressing functions.
We continue to believe these issues can only be legitimately handled
through multi-stakeholder organizations.
And finally, number five, the internet resolution. This document
represented a direct extension of scope into the internet and of the ITU’s
role therein despite earlier assertions from Secretary General Hamadoun
Toure that the WCIT would not address internet issues.
The United States has been willing to engage in good-faith discussions
regarding these issues, and we’d like to thank and commend the other
delegates for engaging with us. However, while we have consistently
maintained our positions regarding the scope of the conference, other
administrations have continually filed out-of-scope proposals that
unacceptably altered the nature of the discussions, and ultimately of the
It is clear that the world community is at a crossroads in its collective
view of the internet and of the most optimal environment for the
flourishing of the internet in this century. The internet is a global
phenomenon that is providing enormous personal, social, and economic
benefits to consumers, citizens, and societies in all areas of the world.
It has grown exponentially over the past decade and continues to flourish
and adapt to human needs everywhere. The entire world has benefited from
this growth, and the developing countries are seeing higher growth rates
than the developed world. The infrastructure of the global internet is
shifting rapidly away from the transatlantic routes that formerly carried
most traffic. The internet is becoming more regional and national and less
centered in the U.S. and other Western countries. This is a welcome
All of the benefits and growth of the internet have come as a result not of
government action or of intergovernmental treaty. They are an organic
expression of consumer demand and societal needs, along with other
multi-stakeholder governance. We have every expectation that the internet
will continue to grow and provide enormous benefits worldwide. The United
States will continue to uphold and advance the multi-stakeholder model of
internet governance, standards development, and management. No single
organization or government can or should attempt to control the internet or
dictate its future development.
In addition, the United States remains fully committed to the values of
freedom of expression and the free flow of information and ideas on the
internet. While there was no consensus at WCIT-12, the conference served a
valuable purpose in clarifying views and building a foundation for
continued dialogue. The United States will continue to work not only within
the ITU but in multiple forums to achieve the universal goals of further
growth of advanced network infrastructure in developing countries.
The United States continues to believe that multi-stakeholder governance of
the internet, coupled with liberalized telecommunication markets and the
growth of network infrastructure in all countries, will accelerate growth
and spread of the international telecommunications and internet throughout
the world. The U.S. will remain engaged in a global dialogue on the role of
governments and other stakeholders in the growth and development of
international telecommunications and the internet sectors. This
conversation will not be over when WCIT-12 ends. Rather, the discussion
will continue for many months and years.
I’d like to now open the floor for your questions.
*OPERATOR:* Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to ask a question,
please press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. You will hear a tone
indicating you have been placed in queue. You may remove yourself from the
queue at any time by pressing the # key. If you are using a speakerphone,
please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers. One moment, please,
for our first question.
Our first question is from Rob Lever with AFP. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION: *Yes, Ambassador, thank you. You said at the start that the
United States cannot sign these ITRs in their current form. And does that
mean that it’s not quite over and that you still have some hope of reaching
some compromise, or is – you believe that proposal is on the table? And
secondly, what does it mean if there is no consensus or no treaty that’s
signed? What does that mean? Do we even need this at all?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yeah. Thank you for the question. So first of all, the
discussions in the main plenary right now are in the final stages. And the
chairman has gone through – the chairman of the conference has gone through
several rounds of changes to the ITRs to try and meet a variety of needs.
And that’s been a lot of our negotiations that have gone on over the last
The version that’s out there now looks like it’s the near-final one. There
could still be some very small ones, but it’s looking near final. And the
level of support from a variety of other nations looks strong enough that
it looks unlikely it will materially change. So I just made a public
commentary on the plenary floor to let the audience know there that we were
not going to sign the agreement. And obviously, we talked about our
fundamental belief in multi-stakeholder governance. So while there’s still
a chance things could change, I’d say it’s highly unlikely. The plenary
will meet for another hour or two, and then there’s formalities tomorrow
with signatures and other things.
So what can happen is your second question. So what’s likely is if there’s
enough consensus to proceed, there’ll be an actual signing ceremony where
the countries that do agree with the ITRs will formally sign them.
Obviously we are not going to be signing them. There may be some nations
that will take reservations. So they may sign the agreement, but they will
identify several areas that they don’t like about the treaty. So it’s a way
of expressing opposition to it.
So the final part of your question is why does all this matter, how does it
matter, et cetera. At the end of the day, these ITRs are not legally
binding terms. They’re much more normative and values oriented. It really
kind of drives what the public discussion is. The actual ITRs officially
don’t take effect until January of 2015, and again, there’s not a legally
binding nature to it. But what is very fundamental about all this
discussion is this is – we’ve had a very explicit discussion about views on
the internet, and how it should be managed. And that – it was an explicit
discussion on the plenary floor, and with our bilaterals, et cetera. And as
you know, the divergence of views is significant. And we’re going to
continue to advocate the multi-stakeholder model. I’d like to think that as
time progresses and people see the benefit of the internet, that the belief
in liberalized markets and a multi-stakeholder model that frankly is much
more practical in terms of advancing the internet, that that will take
hold. But that will take a period of time, that discussion.
*OPERATOR:* Our next question is from Eliza Krigman. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION: *Hi. This is Eliza Krigman with Politico. Thanks for taking my
call. What does this mean for the commercial arrangement between carriers,
and specifically within payments from – or sending party pay payments, will
there – if some countries ratify this treaty, does that mean they’re going
to then send Google a bill for sending their subscribers YouTube content?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yeah. So, Eliza, fortunately the sending party pays
elements have been removed through negotiations. They have been removed
from the agreements here. So we’re obviously very pleased about that.
There’s obviously still – you have a lot of organizations that do business
globally. But the way the treaty works is there’s national sovereignty
rights, so countries can do whatever they want to do in their own country.
But obviously we don’t want to have agreements globally that set a tone. So
we’re going to have to continue to advocate the importance of the global
nature of the internet. And there’s a natural momentum where the world is
becoming more interconnected, and the commercial opportunities are
significant. So that’s where there’s a continued kind of momentum to keep
negotiations going between countries, between network operators.
*QUESTION: *Thank you.
*OPERATOR:* Okay. Our next question is from John Eggerton with Broadcasting
& Cable. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION: *Yes, Ambassador. Can you identify any of the other countries
you think might not sign, or is it just going to be the U.S.?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yeah, so there were several – after I made my
statement, there were a variety of other nations that then started to share
their views, their concerns about the treaty. And they were either
acknowledging that they would not sign or they acknowledged they had
significant reservations and wanted to talk to their capitals overnight, or
they identified specific areas that they want to take a reservation on. And
matter of fact, once I spoke, there was a variety of nations, and I’ll read
them off to you here, and then we went to a break immediately afterwards.
So the countries that have already spoken and we’ll hear from more, but it
is the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Denmark, Egypt, Sweden, Netherlands,
Kenya, the Czech Republic, Canada, New Zealand, and Poland. And again, that
was just the group that spoke before we went on a break. So we’ll know more
after this. One of the reasons, obviously, that I put my statement out is
we wanted to clearly signal that this is the United States position.
There’s a lot of countries, as you can imagine, that are waiting to see
where the U.S. comes out.
But on this issue, candidly, we are resolute on this. We had to go in
understanding that we may have nobody else supporting us, because these
issues are so fundamental. And fortunately, as I mentioned with that list
of countries, a lot of other countries see the same issues we do.
*QUESTION: *All right. But that’s a mix. You don’t know which specifically
have said they’re not going to sign; that’s a mix of all three of those?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* That’s right. That’s right. But all of them – the tone
in which they shared it were all concerns. There isn’t anybody in that
group saying, “We love it.” They are all either going to be taking some
sort of reservation or they’re going to not sign. I mean, it was pretty
clear from their comments.
*QUESTION: *Okay. Thanks.
*OPERATOR:* Our next question is from Richard Waters with *Financial Times*.
Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION:* Yes, hello. The fact that so many countries haven’t – sorry,
are going to sign this suggests that – or does it suggest that actually the
trend is away from the kind of open, free internet that you’ve been
discussing here? And particularly if you bear in mind what happened at
earlier conferences in 2003 and ‘5 where the kind of worst outcomes were
headed off from your point of view, is what we’re seeing now a trend away
from the kind of web and the internet that the U.S. would like? And what
gives you the confidence to think that if things will swing around? You
seem to be suggesting that when countries see the benefit of an open
internet, they will adjust their point of view, but it seems to be exactly
the opposite here, isn’t it?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yes. So first of all, we don’t know yet who’s going to
vote in favor, because we won’t know, literally, till tomorrow on that.
There could be a lot of countries that abstain, et cetera. So it’s, I
think, premature for us to say who’s going to agree or not agree.
But a couple of things on this. A lot of the countries that are expressing
points of view different than ours are newer and less experienced in the
whole internet play. It’s a newer phenomenon. The penetration rates are
still growing, et cetera. Many of them are dealing with political issues in
their home countries where there’s political instability and there’s a
different mindset to what the benefits of the internet bring. So the
context, first of all, is very different in a lot of the countries that
have expressed points of view different to ours.
The second comment, Richard, is, as you know, I’ve got a mobile background.
I used to work with Vodafone. It is amazing as technology rolls from
country to country how it looks in different places. It carries its own
life and customizes to the local market. I actually think even more than
the mobile sector, the internet looks different in different places from a
content standpoint, an application standpoint, et cetera. And in turn, as
that customization occurs, growth tends to increase. So I’m a fundamental
believer over the long term you will see a lot more interest, economic
activity, et cetera. Are there going to be political issues where certain
countries don’t want free expression? Absolutely, but if you say over a
long period of time, I think people will see a lot of the benefits, and
this is a long game that we’re playing here.
*QUESTION:* But as more countries join the internet, as you say, it could
be that they will change the internet rather than the internet changing
them. So this just might be the way (inaudible) countries that have a
different approach to the medium changing the internet.
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* I don’t know. I mean, it depends what you mean by
changing the internet. If you mean they’re going to look to make it look
different and customize it to their environment, then yeah, I would agree
with you. If it’s governments are going to, on the long term, control the
internet and decide what it looks and how, I don’t know that’s going to
happen yet. Certainly, people talk about it in a futuristic way, but I’ve
not seen kind of a concrete piece of it.
And take an example of Kenya. I think Kenya is a great example from the
internet and mobile and they’re one of the supporters of our activity. They
see a clear benefit in their society because it creates economic value, it
reduces the digital divide, it creates more demand for services, it
connects them with the world. And I think as you see more of those case
examples of success, you get more and more people that say this is a good
thing. And that’s, again, the long game that we see.
*QUESTION:* All right, thanks.
*OPERATOR:* Okay, our next question is from Joseph Menn with Reuters. Go
*QUESTION:* Hi, Ambassador. I wasn’t tracking all of it as well as I might
have been, but it looked like 3.8, the addressing thing, came out, which
seemed like a very clear stumbling block. If that’s right, then was the
last straw the provision on countries pledging not to disconnect each
other? Because if so, that sort of makes it look like the U.S. is an
outlier and wants the ability to disconnect other countries in times of
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yeah. So you know, candidly, there were several items
that really were the things that turned this over. What was interesting
about this negotiation is sometimes there’s this impression, well, you’re
negotiating ten items; one or two matter a lot, and seven or eight are kind
of moderate, they don’t matter a huge amount, you can give and take. In
this negotiation, candidly, there’s like five, six, seven things that were
huge issues that had a lot to do, again, with different aspects of
controlling the internet, and any one of these would have been a trip for
us, would have been us saying no, we don’t want to do this. And so when I
read those off at the beginning of the call, each of those would have been
a big issue.
So there was an internet resolution, as I mentioned. The internet
resolution specifically talks about governance, about governments involved
in governance of the internet. Now, what happened in the negotiations, they
said, well, we’ll take that internet resolution, we’ll move it from the
body of the articles which are binding in nature and they’ll move it to a
resolution which is nonbinding. And they said, well, isn’t that great? The
reality is it’s still in the ITRs and people are going to look at it and
say the ITU and this WCIT conference got into internet governance. So that
was a fundamental issue that would have tripped, again, our position.
The second one is on spam. There’s a provision on spam in this. And again,
there was a lot of effort to try and water it down with saying we’re going
to mitigate, the focus on content, et cetera. But at the end of the day, if
you’re saying you want to reduce the spam problem, you’re getting into a
content issue there. And somebody, especially if you’re talking amongst
governments, you’re giving the government the right to look at those issues.
A third issue was the issue of security. When you put security mixed in
here with the internet and content, again, you open the door for an
organization to say, listen, in the quest of dealing with cyber security
issues, I’m going to have to look at content and I’m going to make it okay
to review that content. So again, there’s all these kind of circuitous ways
to get into these things.
The final thing is just the agencies that are subject to this. We don’t
want lack of clarity about the agencies that are subject to this. We’re
very clear on this that public providers of telecomm services should be the
ones that are affected but not any others, not private networks, not
internet players, not cloud computing players, not government networks, et
cetera. There’s a lot of players in this kind of converged world that,
again, indirectly or directly could be subject to these regulations.
So candidly, the decision to do a no-sign – there wasn’t a lot of
consternation on it. There were too many issues here that were problematic
for us, and it made the decision clear.
*QUESTION:* Thank you.
*OPERATOR:* Our next question is from David Gewirtz with CBS Interactive.
Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION:* Hi. This is David Gewirtz calling. So Ambassador, what happens
now? Will other countries essentially route around the U.S. desires for an
open net? Will this lead to what might essentially become two internets,
one open and one closed?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Well, we obviously hope that doesn’t happen here. And
again, from my own technology and mobile background, there’s a natural
momentum to players that have scale, that are first-movers, et cetera, that
create lower costs, they create greater inoperability, et cetera. So
there’s a natural, I think, bias or advantage to that. And that benefits,
by the way – we talk about Richard’s question earlier about when technology
rolls to successive markets, many of those later markets get the better end
of the technology, because infrastructure costs come down, or handset costs
come down, or unique contents available, et cetera, they get the benefit of
Now, if a country says, listen, I want to have a different standard, I’m
going to have a different approach, then they can go proceed with that.
Candidly, they could still do that under national sovereignty. But they’re
going to have to deal, again, with a more and more interconnected
environment. And so I think our job in all of this is to continue to
espouse the benefits of an open internet, of free content, of low costs
here, of all the things that entrepreneurs do with the internet. We have to
keep advocating that, and that will create a natural bias or momentum in
favor of it. And again, at the end of the day, if somebody wants to develop
a different standard approach, it’s obviously that’s country’s prerogative.
But we’re hoping that’s not an easy task.
*QUESTION:* Thank you.
*OPERATOR:* Okay. Our next question is from Grant Gross with IDG News
Service. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION:* Hello, Ambassador. Thanks for taking our calls. Kind of
following up on that, what is the danger of this kind of resolution now as
you see it coming out? What problems could it cause, even with the U.S. and
the UK and other countries not adopting it?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Well, so I don’t see a lot of near-term or
intermediate-term risks here, because it’s not a legally binding document.
It doesn’t carry that risk. I think we’ve also maintained good
relationships and enough kind of openness that companies that do business
abroad have got a good environment.
I do think that it does set up for a much more direct conversation that’s
going to have to happen on multi-stakeholder governance, that that is
really the only model that’s been proven to be effective, where, again,
you’ve got civil society and industry and others there addressing
fundamental internet issues. And in turn, multi-stakeholder organizations
are going to have to continue to focus on outreach and being global in
And if you – there’s issues in Africa. A lot of our African colleagues here
are saying, listen, we’ve got cyber issues; we need help with that. Then we
need to make sure there are multi-stakeholder organizations available to
help then with those issues. The United States, in addition, does a variety
of bilaterals with individual countries to help them with their own cyber
work and other issues related to the internet.
But again, our fundamental view on this thing is you’ve got to be
pragmatic. No one government can solve fundamental issues and deal with the
internet, so you’ve got to have that expertise, that agility. And
importantly, you’ve got to be customized in your approach.
So again, to bring up the cyber security issue, when you ask a lot of
countries what is the cyber security issue, at the end of the day, it’s
heavily a regional issue; it’s not a global issue. There’s kind of one or
two countries there are cyber issues with. So then you kind of ask the
question, well, why exactly would you want to put terms in a global
agreement on cyber. And there’s not a very good answer.
So the net net of all this is we need to continue to advance the argument
and the benefits of multi-stakeholder organizations. We need to put a lot
of energy into the effectiveness of those organizations and make sure we
continue to kind of build that global opportunity. So I think that’s the
charter going forward. And again, coming from the mobile industry, I’ve
seen that in my own life with the associations and standards bodies that
work very well in that environment. So I do think it will happen. It’s just
a period of time.
*OPERATOR:* Okay. Our next question is from Adam Popescu with
ReadWrite.com. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION:* Hi, Mr. Ambassador. Thanks for your time. A lot of my questions
have already been answered by my peers, but going forward, what I’m – what
I understand from what you’re saying is because of the fact that other
nations are going to be putting forth a lot of this stuff in terms of the
ROA versus OA, basically my question is, sort of dovetailing on one of the
last questions about the two internets, are we going to see a different
view of a certain site for international, when they’re here in the U.S.?
And what’s going to happen globally? And you mentioned January 2015 as the
day when these are supposed to take effect, so maybe you could speak on
that a little bit.
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Yeah. So first of all, I mean on a second internet,
again, anything is possible. And you see on the content side there are
social media sites, for example, in Russia that are unique in Russia. But
again, what happens in this space, as you know – take a Facebook, right,
with over a billion users. There’s a natural advantage to having that type
of user base globally. And that creates a momentum for that to spread
So I think, again, with the momentum that’s going on, that it’s kind of a
natural that having some unique standard and setup somewhere else is going
to be an easy task. There’s countries, again, in the mobile space that have
tried to set up a different standard for 3G, 4G, the latest network
technologies – very difficult to pull off. So I don’t know necessarily
there’s some ulterior motive at this point. We’re seeing some nation want
create some new effort. But we are going to need to continue to do this
global outreach so we don’t inadvertently allow a Balkanization of the
And in terms of the January 15th date, nothing happens until then. And
there’s a lot of activities and conferences that are going to happen
between now and January of 2015. So a lot of different reviews are going to
happen. And candidly, in these situations a lot of people may have buyer’s
remorse. It’s interesting; even when we do our bilats, et cetera, there are
a lot of nations that are still kind of getting their head around what the
internet is, the opportunity, what are the issues with spam, and what are
the issues with roaming related to this et cetera. And that’s been the
benefit of this conference and our bilaterals, is we can have that
discussion with people. And I think from that information, that education,
you get a much better outcome. And I think people will come to the
conclusion that multi-stakeholder governance is the right approach.
*QUESTION: *One quick follow-up question: When is the next major internet
conference where we can kind of take up some of these matters?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Well, there’s WTPF, a policy forum that’s in May of
next year. So that’s going to be a place where some internet issues will be
discussed. There’s an IGF, an Internet Governance Forum meeting that’s
every year. I think their – it’s tentatively targeted for Indonesia next
year in the fall. So these happen literally every few months or so. But
again, what we don’t want to see is have these in the form of a treaty
negotiating conference. There’s a huge amount to be done in best practice
sharing, and fora that talk about ideas and approaches, but just not
setting up regulations.
*QUESTION: *And then my final question: Is this conference, then, and the
fact that we’re not signing, is this a failure?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Not at all. It’s an interesting question, because I
would talk with our U.S. delegation – success – and we always set this out
with the goals of our delegation in the U.S. effort. Our end goal here is
to create an environment where we can say there’s going to be success for
the internet and telecom. And it is so easy in this setting here where
you’re dealing with a lot of technical rules and regulations, you’re
dealing with other regulators here, et cetera, to lose sight of the plot in
life. The plot here is to make sure that these sectors do well. And if you
can’t definitively say that an ITR is going to help that future of success,
then you shouldn’t put the ITR in. You shouldn’t put regulation in.
So I very much look at this – this is success. We’ve had a chance in this
conference to communicate what success, we think, looks like, the
importance of the internet globally. There’s been a connection between
different countries and different people, et cetera, that I think all of
that is a benefit. And on any issue that you have that’s a deep kind of
philosophical or technical issue, you don’t have kind of one conversation
and people’s minds change. It happens over a period of time. It happens
when you can point to success. It happens when you can say, look at what’s
happened in Kenya with broadband and the internet. Look what’s happened in
India with mobile penetration. You start pointing to success, and people
say, “Now I know this isn’t some theoretical, philosophical argument. This
is a model that works.” And so I think those things will happen. I’m
optimistic about it. But it’s the beginning of several steps. And so I do
think this was a success, and there are going to be more of them.
*QUESTION: *Thank you.
*OPERATOR: *Our next question is from Cyrus Farivar with ARS Technica. Go
*QUESTION: *Hello Mr. Ambassador, and thank you very much for my taking
question. I had two questions. First of all, I’m wondering – you talked
about how the United States is not going to be supporting these agreements.
I’m wondering why these agreements are even necessary in the first place.
As you know, and I think as pretty much all of my colleagues know, lots of
countries out there already conduct their own national internets to varying
degrees. I’m talking most notably of China, Iran, certainly North Korea,
that has probably the most restrictive internet policy of anyone in the
world. So I wonder: Why are these even kind of national-based agreements
even necessary to begin with when this practice is already going on? That’s
my first question.
And then my second question is: I’m wondering what was the role of lobbying
to your delegation, particularly by corporations such as Google and
particularly by prominent internet technical experts, like Vint Cerf, who,
as you know, was the architect of some of the fundamental foundations of
the protocols behind the internet itself.
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER:* Yeah. No. Great questions. So first of all, on your
first question on the global nature, you’re absolutely right. Countries
have national sovereignty rights, so they can do what they want. But what
we don’t want over time is a set of global agreements that people can point
to and say, listen, this treaty gave us the right to impose these terms on
global operators of some sort. Now, again, we don’t’ think that’s going to
happen with this per se because it’s a normative approach, it’s not legally
binding. But you sure don’t want to kind of just allow something to happen
that people can think is a binding term on an increasingly global
environment. So that’s why we don’t want it to happen.
Our argument specifically on the ITU is the ITU does great work in a lot of
the radio areas, in spectrum work, in coordination work, they do a lot of
great work in developing markets, et cetera. But in the internet, it’s not
the charter. It’s not the place. It’s not going to be able to do the things
that are going to really add value. And so that’s why we say, continue with
the ITU and interact with a lot of other delegates, but make sure it’s on
the right topics.
Now your second question – you said “lobbying.” It’s a good question, but
I’ll rephrase it. It’s not lobbying per se. We had – have a delegation here
of 100 representatives, roughly 50 from U.S. Government that are people
from State Department, FCC, Commerce Department, Department of Defense, et
cetera. We had about 40 people from industry, industry being either
internet players or telecom players, and then another 10 people or so that
were members of civil society. Their job as delegates is not to lobby. They
– as a matter of fact they have to sign an agreement that says they’re
representing national interests.
So what we did is put them to work in a couple of areas. Number one is to
be subject matter experts about what does the internet look like in these
different places, what are the challenges and security issues going
forward, why is spam being discussed here, et cetera. And they – the
industry provided very, very helpful insights, positions, et cetera, that
informed our positions more broadly on a national basis.
A lot of that thought process, thought leadership was then used in our
bilaterals to work with other countries. And when I said that’s the real
benefit of this conference, we had some great discussions. The second piece
of their work as members of industry, civil society, et cetera, was to do
outreach. And the beauty of outreach when you get in this setting is you’re
able to talk to a lot of different countries, a lot of different players,
and share the points of view. And that’s been a huge benefit of our
But finally I’ll say – and I don’t know if you call – it’s a bit of the
irony of all this is we – people said, “Geez, you guys have a large
delegation.” The fact we had a large delegation with the type of engagement
we had is the beauty of our system – is you have a lot of people that are
taking their ideas – some of them are their own self-interest, but a lot of
it is much broader than that, and they’re contributing to a greater outcome
here. And as I did bilaterals with other nations, it was interesting how
many countries I would go to where a member of industry or civil society
said, could you tell my government this, this and this? And I said, well,
isn’t there a delegation in their own country sharing it? Well, the reality
is a lot of countries don’t have that type of inclusive nature. Certainly
the democratic ones do, but there are a lot of ones that aren’t. And it was
a very stark message to me of exactly what we’re talking about when we talk
about multi-stakeholder governance and how you collect the best wisdom and
energy to create something bigger. So a long-winded answer to your
question, but that – those representatives were a very essential part of
*QUESTION:* Thank you.
*OPERATOR:* Okay. Our next question is from David McAuley with Bloomberg
BNA. Go ahead, please.
*QUESTION:* Thank you. Ambassador Kramer, my questions, too, have been
answered, but let me ask this: What will happen to the U.S. delegation now
and to your role between now and, let’s say, WTPF in May? And what are the
U.S. plans going forward between now and January of 2015?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Yeah. Thank you, David. And so a couple of things.
People will all go into their own worlds again in the coming weeks and
months. So our delegation – obviously a lot of them are in civil society or
industry, et cetera. They’ll, obviously, go back into that. I’ll eventually
go back into probably academia and the work that I was doing before, and
maybe industry again. You never know.
But importantly, what should be happening in the next month or two is what
are the learnings from the conference, what are the implications going
forward, how do we advance multi-stakeholder governance. All of those
things, I think, are going to be very, very helpful. And I think, again, to
the earlier question about was this successful, there’s a lot of success in
understanding points of view of other nations, of really honing in on our
arguments, and importantly how do you advance these ideas about liberalized
markets and about multi-stakeholder governance. So the next couple of
months, my mind is going to be on that and sharing insights as well as a
lot of my colleagues.
*QUESTION:* Thank you.
*OPERATOR:* Next question comes from Jennifer Martinez, The Hill. Please go
*QUESTION:* Hi. Thanks so much for taking my call. Appreciate it. You’ve
kind of touched on this in previous questions, so apologies if this is
somewhat of a repeat. But with the countries that are signing the ITRs, I
guess, would they be treating a company like Google or Facebook differently
in the future, or is it too early to tell, since the treaty hasn’t gone
into effect yet?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Yeah. I think it’s too early to tell. A lot of the
countries that would sign, that would have policies very different than
ours, are already creating a very different environment. So I don’t think
that’s likely to happen near term. And again, I think from a legally
binding standpoint, these ITRs don’t have teeth in them. But I do think we
have to continually be vigilant on this issue about not erecting barriers.
And some of the arguments on this, Jennifer, it’s interesting. You may have
governments that have different political views than us. They may have
different practices on censorship, et cetera. But many of them are
fundamentally concerned about commercial issues. They want to see commerce;
they want to see people using the internet effectively, et cetera. And so
there’s always that argument that helps advance keeping the internet free
So that’s kind of the mindset from here. And again, I don’t expect any big
change in any of this. But we are going to have a continued effort to make
sure this multi-stakeholder model and the global opportunity is made clear.
*MODERATOR:* All right. We have time for one more question.
*OPERATOR:* Okay. Last question comes from Josh Peterson, The Daily Caller.
*QUESTION:* Hi, Ambassador. Thank you for your time and thank you for
taking my question. I just wanted to go back and talk a little bit about
what brought the proceedings to a vote. Because from what I understand, the
event operates on consensus, but – and a vote was unlikely. So what was it
that prompted this to happen?
*AMBASSADOR KRAMER: *Well, so first of all, what happened last night and
what also happened this evening is there was an indication of interest.
People hold up placards. They did one vote, I think, later on to try and
move things along. So some of what’s happening is the views on these issues
are so heartfelt and so significant, and it slowed down a lot of the
negotiations. I mean, here we are Thursday night, and it’s almost midnight
here, and people are still trying to work away.
So the chairman has really tried to move things along. And one of the tools
was to do this vote on the human rights element. But in general, they’ve
tried to really stick to consensus. So I don’t feel, per se, that this
indication of interest or a nominal vote has been the big issue. I think
the bigger issue is there’s a variety of nations out there that do hold
different views than our own, and we’re going to have to continue to engage
so that we don’t find that that continues to be an area of disagreement.
*MODERATOR:* All right. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us this
evening. And as a reminder, we will not be having another call. This was
our press briefing that we had mentioned in our media note previously.
Thank you, everyone. Have a good night.
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