Policy

Genachowski: Cybersecurity Should Not Be Part of ITU Treaties

Echoes WICT 12 Ambassador's Concerns about Calls to Expand Telecom Agreements to Broadband 11/15/2012 9:05 AM Eastern

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski outlined various ways the U.S. government, particularly his commission, was combating cyberattacks, but that does not include a coordinated global effort if it means adding cybersecurity provisions to international telecommunication regulations.

He was echoing Ambassador Terry Kramer, who was tapped by President Obama to lead the U.S. delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT 12) in Dubai next month, and who raised similar concerns in an American Enterprise Institute speech and panel discussion earlier this week.

Genachowski and Kramer's concerns, shared by a bipartisan -- for once -- Congress are that adding cybersecurity to the ITU to-do list is part of an effort to expand current  treaties on ITRS (International Telecommunications Regulations) into the Internet space, and give governments like China, Russia and some Arab states an avenue for control of content and its free flow.

In a speech at the Centcom Conference on advancing cybersecurity, Genchowski said the WCIT conference poses real challenges, and pointed to the calls for cybersecurity to part of the treaty conference.

"Calls to add cybersecurity provisions in the International Telecommunication Regulations are misplaced and ultimately counterproductive," he said. "International regulations are simply too broad, too inflexible, and too slow to change to effectively address cybersecurity issues.  And any attempt to draft a 'one-size-fits-all' text could easily do more harm than good."

September