12.30.11

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Cablegate: Brazil and Ghana Want Free/Open Source Added in World Summit on the Information Society, US and Australia Oppose

Posted in Cablegate, Free/Libre Software at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: A United Nations cable shows the difference between developing countries (oppressed countries) and ruling nations, which obviously get their way

According to the following United Nations-related Cablegate cable, there is truly a struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed, just as we saw in OOXML corruptions, ACTA debates, etc.

Here is the relevant part:

Open Source

¶14. Paragraphs on open source software (OSS) remain open. Brazil proposed the addition of the original “Rio Commitment,” reflecting Brazil’s (and GRULAC’s) promotion of open source software (OSS) over proprietary software products. Ghana, speaking for the African Group, also supported this proposal. The U.S. opposed the addition in that it lacked the requisite technology neutrality previously recognized in the Geneva Declaration of Principles and has proposed technologically neutral language with which Brazil, GRULAC, and Ghana have indicated they could agree. The U.S. resisted Brazil’s attempts to move the technologically neutral language within the paragraph, which would have resulted in promotion of OSS over proprietary software. It appears that all parties are willing to agree to the U.S.’ original suggested placement of the language. Brazil also had communicated its desire to eliminate all other references to OSS anywhere in the final document, in favor of the one reference to OSS in the PoliticalChapeau. This possibility remains an open issue, however, as other references to OSS already were the subject of working group drafts. Drafting group participants have not completed work on all the paragraphs concerned. Australia favored dropping Brazil’s proposal altogether, with which the U.S. would agree. Ghana has indicated to the U.S., however, that it needs this provision on OSS in the Political Chapeau to support its development agenda.

To clarify the obvious, they confuse vendor-neutral with neutral. Open Source is not a company or a product, it is a licensing and development paradigm that helps respect nation’s autonomy and self determination. The word “neural” — like “choice” — is often used by Microsoft and its front groups to mean “not open source”.

Here is the Cablegate cable in full:


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 GENEVA 002727 
 
SIPDIS 
 
PLEASE PASS TO IO/T FOR JOYCE NAMDE AND EB/CIP FOR SALLY 
SHIPMAN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECPS [Communications and Postal Systems], EU [Europa Island], IO [Chagos Archipelago; Diego Garcia; British Indian Ocean Territory], TS [Tunisia], WSIS 
SUBJECT: WSIS PREPCOM III MEETS IN GENEVA; LEAVES KEY 
ISSUES UNRESOLVED 
 
 
¶1.  Summary: The third meeting of the Preparatory Committee 
(PrepCom III) for Phase II of the World Summit on the 
Information Society (WSIS) took place in Geneva, Switzerland 
on September 19 ) 30, 2005.  Over 1,900 participants 
attended the PrepCom including 1047 delegates representing 
152 states and the European Commission.  UN agencies, 
international organizations, private sector and civil society 
organizations also participated.  Major issues from the 
PrepCom remain unresolved and negotiations will continue 
during the intersessional period and a resumed PrepCom III 
scheduled for the three days prior to WSIS, in Tunisia.  The 
issue of Internet governance was particularly contentious 
with the EU moving to the extreme and proposing an alternate 
model of management with a high degree of government 
involvement.  WSIS implementation and follow-up also remain 
unresolved with debate centering around which UN body should 
coordinate implementation.  Many freedom of expression 
issues, stemming from Cuban proposals, and debate on 
financial mechanisms from PrepCom II also remain open. 
 
¶2.  The output of the Tunis Phase will be a non-binding 
document comprising a political part (political chapeau) and 
an operational part.  The operational part will consist of 
four chapters: 1) implementation; 2) financing; 3) Internet 
governance; and 4) the way ahead.  PrepCom III focussed on 
the political chapeau, chapters 1, 3 and 4 and the unresolved 
portions of chapter 2 remaining from PrepCom II.  Ambassador 
David Gross, EB/CIP, led the U.S. delegation which included 
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and 
Information/Administrator of NTIA, Michael Gallagher and 
representatives of State (EB/CIP, EB/CBA IO, DRL, PM, L/EB, 
Mission Geneva), USAID, DOC/NTIA, DOC/PTO, Library of 
Congress, Institute of Museum and Library Services, DOJ, and 
NASA.  End Summary. 
 
Key Issues: 
 
Internet Governance 
 
¶3.  The primary issue of PrepCom III was Internet governance. 
  During Phase I of the WSIS, participants discussed Internet 
governance and adopted a series of principles.  To further 
the discussion,  the various WSIS stakeholders asked the UN 
Secretary General to convene a working group to consider the 
 
SIPDIS 
issue further and to prepare a report in time for discussion 
at the September PrepCom.  The working group released its 
report in July and asked stakeholders to comment.  The U.S. 
delegation submitted views founded primarily on the 
Administration,s principles with respect to the Internet,s 
Domain Name and Address System (DNS) as well as long standing 
U.S. policy on general Internet issues. 
 
¶4.  The Internet governance debate during the PrepCom focused 
on a number of key issues.  First, prepcom participants 
debated the role of the various stakeholders (governments, 
civil society, and private sector).  The U.S. argued firmly 
that the success of the Internet is due, in large measure, to 
the unfettered ability of the Internet community throughout 
the world to innovate and add economic value at the edges of 
the network.  A number of countries, in contrast, supported a 
stronger role for governments in both the technical and 
policy aspects of the Internet.  This discussion quickly 
moved into a debate over whether governmental oversight of 
the Internet is needed. While most delegations agreed, in 
principle, that governments ought not to be involved in the 
day-to-day management of the Internet, there are great 
differences in what is perceived to be part of the technical 
management versus public policy. 
 
¶5.  Second, there was an ongoing debate about the nature of 
change in Internet management ) whether this change should 
be evolutionary or whether a more revolutionary approach is 
warranted.  Those favoring an evolutionary approach supported 
permitting technological change within existing systems. 
Supporters of a revolutionary change are seeking to uproot 
the current system and develop a new mechanism for Internet 
management, which would then be sent to the UN to oversee. 
Supporters of evolutionary change differed on whether 
governments should drive change through additional processes 
and mechanisms or whether the evolutionary change should be 
driven primarily by the technology and new innovation. 
 
¶6.  Third, several delegations expressed dissatisfaction that 
a single government, the United States, has an essential role 
in the management of the Internet, specifically the role by 
the Department of Commerce in authorizing changes or 
modifications to the authoritative root zone file of the DNS. 
 Various formulations were offered as to how to 
&multilateralize8 this role.  The U.S. defended its unique 
role in the system and reiterated the U.S. commitment to 
doing its part to ensure the long-term stability and security 
of the Internet. 
 
¶7.  Lastly, discussions focused on whether or not there was a 
need to develop some sort of forum to continue the debate on 
Internet governance issues broadly.  While most delegations 
agreed that dialogue should continue, disagreements persisted 
over the terms of reference for such a forum.  Some 
governments such as the U.S. and Australia articulated a 
preference to use existing institutions while others called 
for the creation of a new organization to fulfill the role. 
 
¶8.  In a surprise move toward the end of the PrepCom, the EU 
presented a proposal that would transfer much of the 
Internet,s management, both technical and policy-related, to 
an intergovernmental oversight body.  Iran, Cuba, Brazil, 
China and Saudi Arabia, who have long argued for greater 
intergovernmental control of the Internet, promptly supported 
this proposal.  Argentina, with support from Canada, New 
Zealand, Singapore, Mexico and others, tabled an alternative 
proposal that focused on the need to strengthen and improve 
existing institutions, and which called for a forum to 
address public policy issues.  The U.S. has expressed 
interest in the Argentine proposal. 
 
¶9.  While prepcom participants tentatively agreed on 
introductory text on the role of stakeholders and some 
issue-specific text, they did not reach consensus on issues 
related to the authoritative root zone file, Internet 
oversight or a new forum dialogue.  The Subcommittee chairman 
produced a text that sought to bring together the various 
proposals.  The Chair,s proposal, coming at the end of the 
PrepCom, did not help the negotiations; indeed it established 
another element that further confused future negotiations. 
This document has no status and is not considered a baseline 
text by the U.S.  The issue of Internet governance will be 
discussed further during the resumed PrepCom III in Tunis. 
 
¶10.  Additional Internet governance issues include: 
international charging arrangements for Internet services, 
cybersecurity, cybercrime, spam: 
 
(a) International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services 
(ICAIS) 
In the context of measures to promote development, 
disagreements persisted over the need for governments to 
impose a cost-sharing model on interconnection arrangements 
between Internet Service Providers (ISPs), similar to the 
model used in traditional international voice 
telecommunications. The U.S. continued to advocate that 
arrangements for Internet services should continue to be 
negotiated commercially and governments should rely on 
technology and market forces to support expansion of the 
Internet and should not intervene in the process.  Text was 
agreed that supports: the commercial nature of these 
negotiations; the continued development of regional Internet 
Exchange Centers; the development of low cost terminal 
equipment; and the completion of ITU work on this issue.  A 
proposal originally tied to existing multilateral trade rules 
remains bracketed due to ambiguity in drafting. 
 
(b) Cybersecurity 
 
Russia proposed language on security for the political 
chapeau based on that in paragraph 36 of the Geneva 
Declaration of Principles.   In corridor discussions, the 
U.S. worked with Russia to modify that language, which they 
accepted, but Iran, Cuba and El Salvador proposed additional 
sentences drawn from paragraphs 35 and 36 on social and 
economic development and human rights.  While all parties had 
indicated acceptance for the language, Russia and Cuba placed 
the paragraph in brackets.  Upon review, the U.S. will 
propose inclusion of language on the culture of 
cybersecurity, drawn from paragraph 35, to rebalance the 
compromise between paragraphs 35 and 36 reached in the Geneva 
Declaration of Principles. 
 
Much of the U.S. proposed language on cybersecurity in other 
sections was agreed upon.   The agreed language promotes a 
culture of cybersecurity, with specific mention of 
information sharing to develop common standards and exchange 
of best practices.  In addition, the language highlights the 
importance of promoting cybersecurity while respecting 
privacy and human rights. 
 
(c) Cybercrime 
 
Prepcom participants agreed to the core U.S. language with a 
call for governments to adopt domestic legislation on 
cybercrime, taking into account existing frameworks.  In 
addition, there is a specific acknowledgment of the Council 
of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime as an existing framework 
for fighting cybercrime.  However, the last sentence of new 
paragraph 61 is still in brackets as requested by the Russian 
Federation.  This sentence focuses on the need for 
international cooperation on cybercrime enforcement efforts, 
but avoids a call for any new international agreement on 
cybercrime. 
 
(d) Spam 
 
The core U.S. language was agreed to at PrepCom III. Pursuant 
to U.S. policy, the language explicitly acknowledges the 
London Action Plan, among other multi-lateral memoranda of 
understanding, and calls for a multi-pronged approach to 
counter spam that includes policy elements promoted by the 
U.S. (consumer and business education; appropriate 
legislation; law enforcement authorities and tools; continued 
development of self-regulatory and technical measures; best 
practices; and international cooperation).  In addition, the 
language avoids a call for a global agreement on spam. 
 
WSIS Implementation 
 
¶11.  The issues of coordination and implementation of the 
outcomes of the WSIS remained highly contentious.  Many 
States at the PrepCom want the WSIS to designate specific UN 
agencies to carry out specific tasks related to the WSIS 
outcomes, want the WSIS to specify those tasks and want the 
ITU, UNESCO and UNDP to play a &leading role8 in WSIS 
coordination and implementation.  These States include 
Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia, El Salvador, Ghana, 
Iran, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. 
 The U.S., the European Union (represented by the UK), 
Norway, Australia and Canada contend that it is not up to the 
WSIS to designate the tasks of UN agencies and that 
coordination on implementation should be carried out through 
the UN Secretary General within the context of the existing 
framework of UN coordination under UNGA Resolution 57/270B 
(on integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow 
up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences 
and summits in the economic and social fields) and within 
existing UN mandates and resources.  An extensive debate on 
this issue was conducted over the course of several days in 
PrepCom Subcommittee B (chaired by Lyndall Shope-Mafole of 
South Africa) and the attending States were unable reach 
agreement on the issue.  The issue of WSIS implementation is 
inextricably linked to the issues related to Internet 
governance and is unlikely to be settled until the issue of 
Internet governance is resolved within the WSIS. 
 
Political Issues 
 
¶12.  Freedom of Expression/Role of Media/Unilateral Measures 
Language:  The U.S., EU, Canada and Australia expressed 
strong support repeatedly for reaffirming the commitment made 
to human rights in the Geneva Declaration of Principles, 
without reopening the language.  However, proposals made 
primarily by Cuba attempted to reopen language rejected in 
Phase I instead of utilizing negotiated language already 
agreed.  This was particularly the case regarding references 
to the &removal of obstacles8 in the Political Chapeau and 
the Implementation chapters of the Summit document(s) that 
were geared to evoke criticism of the U.S. embargo and/or 
U.S. media transmissions to Cuba (Radio/TV Marti).  Cuba also 
continued to press for inclusion of paragraphs on the role of 
the media and the &new world information and communication 
order8 that are unacceptable to the U.S. and other 
like-minded nations.  Although the U.S. delegation was able 
to whittle the Cuban proposals down from many paragraphs to a 
more limited number, the end result is that all such language 
remains bracketed in the text.  Cuba is committed to 
&operationalizing8 paragraph 46 of the Geneva Declaration 
(on unilateral measures) and paragraph 45 of that Declaration 
(on legality of management of the radio frequency spectrum). 
Twice Cuba agreed to and then reneged on negotiated language 
on those issues.  Agreement remains a major challenge prior 
to Tunis. 
 
Financial Mechanisms 
 
¶13.  Chapter Two on Financial Mechanisms was substantially 
agreed at PrepCom II.  However, due to lack of time, the few 
remaining bracketed passages were never brought to the 
Committee for final agreement. 
 
Open Source 
 
¶14.  Paragraphs on open source software (OSS) remain open. 
Brazil proposed the addition of the original "Rio 
Commitment," reflecting Brazil's (and GRULAC's) promotion of 
open source software (OSS) over proprietary software 
products.   Ghana, speaking for the African Group, also 
supported this proposal.  The U.S. opposed the addition in 
that it lacked the requisite technology neutrality previously 
recognized in the Geneva Declaration of Principles and has 
proposed technologically neutral language with which Brazil, 
GRULAC, and Ghana have indicated they could agree.  The U.S. 
resisted Brazil's attempts to move the technologically 
neutral language within the paragraph, which would have 
resulted in promotion of OSS over proprietary software.  It 
appears that all parties are willing to agree to the U.S.' 
original suggested placement of the language.  Brazil also 
had communicated its desire to eliminate all other references 
to OSS anywhere in the final document, in favor of the one 
reference to OSS in the Political Chapeau.  This possibility 
remains an open issue, however, as other references to OSS 
already were the subject of working group drafts.  Drafting 
group participants have not completed work on all the 
paragraphs concerned.  Australia favored dropping Brazil's 
proposal altogether, with which the U.S. would agree.   Ghana 
has indicated to the U.S., however, that it needs this 
provision on OSS in the Political Chapeau to support its 
development agenda. 
 
Technology Transfer 
 
¶15.  Technology transfer continues to be an open issue, 
although it is not expected to be a fractious one in that 
there appears to be general agreement to modify the phrase 
with "on mutually agreed terms" or similar modifications such 
as "enabling environment."  Initial clashes with Saudi Arabia 
and Egypt over inclusion of "with mutually agreed terms" were 
resolved through several meetings of the drafting group, in 
which the U.S. pointed to similar references in the Geneva 
Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action and the 
parties were able to address their disagreement through the 
inclusion of the phrase "enabling environment." 
 
Cultural diversity 
 
¶16.  Several paragraphs relating to cultural diversity/the 
diversity of cultural content and artistic expression appear 
in the political chapeau.  The U.S. agreed to language on 
&respecting cultural and linguistic diversity8 in paragraph 
13; however, debate remains open on paragraph 35 around 
language on the &promotion and protection of cultural 
diversity and identity,8 which the U.S. does not support. A 
working group of Egypt, Ghana, Honduras and the U.S. proposed 
an alternative, which removed reference to protecting 
cultural diversity, which Egypt later rejected.  The working 
group reconvened with the EU, Australia and Guatemala also 
participating to develop the following language which will be 
submitted at the intersessional PrepCom meeting: &We 
reaffirm our commitment to promoting the involvement of all 
peoples in the information society through the development 
and use of local languages in ICTs, thereby promoting, 
affirming, and preserving diverse cultural identities and 
languages.8 
 
Tunisia 
 
¶17.  At the closing plenary of the WSIS PrepCom III, the 
issue of respect for human rights resurfaced in a dramatic 
way.  The Canadian delegation read a statement on behalf of 
the EU, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia/Montenegro, 
Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Monaco, Australia 
and the U.S. that emphasized, while their governments are 
dedicated to achieving a successful WSIS Summit in Tunis, 
they remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation 
in Tunisia, particularly with recent incidents and issues 
involving limitations on freedom of expression and 
participation by some groups of Tunisian civil society.  The 
statement noted that they expected Tunisia to demonstrate its 
commitment to freedom of expression and opinion as host of 
the Summit. 
 
¶18.  Tunisia responded vehemently by saying that it had 
spared no effort to make WSIS a success and that it had 
provided the conditions for an open and inclusive summit, in 
line with the UN rules and procedures.  The GOT also said 
there was no reason for further concern and that there was no 
reason to raise this issue at the Plenary and that it 
regretted hearing such a statement. 
 
¶19.  Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Arab Group), Pakistan (on 
behalf of the Asia Group), Ghana (on behalf of the Africa 
Group), and Cuba spoke in support of the Tunisian efforts to 
hold a successful summit.  Saudi Arabia, in particular, 
deplored that this issue was raised in Plenary.  ITU 
Secretary General assured the Plenary that the UN rules would 
 
SIPDIS 
apply to the Tunis Summit and that the inclusive nature of 
WSIS would be upheld.  He claimed that the host country 
agreement, just signed by Tunisia and the ITU, will ensure 
the openness of the summit, in accordance with the UN rules. 
The tension surrounding the issue was clear and the dividing 
lines in the plenary hall were evident. 
 
Accreditation 
 
¶20.  Contentious human rights issues served as the bookends 
for PrepCom III, opening and closing the meeting.  During the 
opening plenary, the United States raised the issue of the 
accreditation of U.S.-based NGO Human Rights in China (HRIC) 
and requested an explanation from the WSIS Secretariat as to 
why HRIC was not accredited for this meeting, given they had 
submitted all necessary paperwork, including audited 
financial statements showing they received no government 
support. This concern was echoed by Canada and the UK on 
behalf of the EU.  Following the Secretariat's explanation 
that HRIC was denied accreditation because it failed to 
disclose information about its anonymous donors, the U.S. 
moved that the HRIC be accredited.   A lengthy procedural 
discussion followed in which China strongly objected, stating 
that discussing a single NGO after the Secretariat had not 
recommended their accreditation would break with standard 
procedures and that all NGOs rejected for accreditation could 
also need to be discussed.  China raised a procedural point 
that the PrepCom should not take up the discussion of NGOs 
not recommended for accreditation by the Secretariat.   In an 
intervention, Cuba supported this position. 
¶21.  Ambassador Karklins, President of the PrepCom, proposed 
postponing the discussion on HRIC to allow time for greater 
examination of the issue and to save precious plenary time. 
However, China expressed concern that, by doing this, a 
precedent would be set and also argued that HRIC does not 
work for the protection of human rights in China.  China then 
called for a roll call vote on its proposal to not discuss 
the issue of NGOs denied accreditation.  Acknowledging that 
there was no guiding precedent in WSIS for this issue, 
Ambassador Karklins called a roll call vote with the 
following results: 52 countries supported China,s proposal, 
35 voted in favor of discussing the accreditation issue, 35 
countries abstained and 70 countries were declared absent, 
primarily because they chose not to respond to the roll call 
(many of them were in the room).   Following the vote, which 
prevented the U.S. motion to accredit HRIC from being 
considered, the U.S. expressed disappointment that the WSIS 
process would not be as transparent and inclusive as the U.S. 
had hoped. 
 
Conclusion/Comments 
 
¶22.  PrepCom III will be remembered as the international 
meeting where the EU dramatically shifted its support from 
the current system of Internet Governance to one it has 
characterized as &a new cooperation model.8   In so doing, 
the EU not only moved away from supporting a system it was 
instrumental in helping to create but in so doing, it clearly 
appeared to rebuke the U.S. and its historic role in the 
management of the Internet system.  This dramatic shift -- 
reflecting the views of Commissioner Viviane Redding -- is in 
sharp contrast to the policies advocated by her predecessor 
Commissioner Erkki Liikonen.  The summit will now be 
remembered for the outcome of the US/EU differences over 
Internet Governance. Consequences of these differences, and 
how they will be dealt with at the Summit, will echo across a 
number of upcoming international meetings, particularly 
during the ITU,s Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in 
Turkey in November 2006. 
Moley

Next up: Venezuela.

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