Feeds

Delegates launch dawn spitball raid in battle for INTERNET DOMINATION

Funny that, no mention of interwebs in comms treaty...

Intelligent flash storage arrays

WCIT2012 As night turned into morning, events took a turn for the strange at the ITU conference, with a vote which wasn't a vote, a resolution which wasn't resolved and an indecent proposal from Russia wielded as a threat.

The non-vote came as 2am approached, with the conference centre being held open while delegates continued thrashing out the treaty. It isn't going well. The Russians and Saudis are down to base threats, promising to resurrect already-expunged proposals if the USA continues to refuse to budge. Meanwhile the Chair is descending into a funk as Member States reject outright text they'd previously approved, and the delegates are reduced to throwing spitballs to stave off looming unconsciousness.

Huge screens adorn the hall, onto which State representatives are projected when they're speaking, and it was a chap sitting behind one of them who was hit with the rolled-up ball of paper. He gazed around dumbfounded while his colleagues desperately tried to suppress their giggles but it wasn't the funniest thing to happen during the day.

It was well after midnight when Saudi Arabia tried to slip in a clause calling for all governments to have an equal role in internet governance, but no one was comatose enough to let that past and the Americans were, by this point, rejecting any mention of the i-word on principle:

The term "internet" has been entirely expunged from the treaty itself, but the ITU had carefully got agreement for a proposal tacked on the end "To Foster an enabling environment for the greater growth of the Internet"... at least it thought it had. The Americans were having none of it, and objected to the entire proposal rather than running through the clauses as had been planned, leaving the audience split.

"I'd like to get a weather of the room," the Chair suggested, asking delegates to hold up their voting paddles to indicate if they wanted to see the new proposal wiped from the record. Votes never happen at the ITU, despite the presence of the paddles system. The ITU works entirely by consensus - which is why it has such a hard time achieving anything.

The vote

Delegates not voting, or were they?

"The majority are in favour of the proposal," declared the Chair, prompting several Member States to ask for clarification over whether a vote had in fact taken place. The ITU's constitution clearly states that a vote has to be declared before it can be held, but as the meeting broke up immediately afterwards many delegates headed off to bed not knowing if they'd just voted to keep the proposal, or not, or both.

There's one day left to find out, though Friday morning could be utilised if an end was in sight... but the end is far from in sight. All the really contentious issues have been postponed to the last day, and like a teenager's pile of homework there's always the chance that it just won't get done in time.

Anyone wanting to get a feel for the process should try this simple task: take 200 marbles and place 199 of them on a tea tray, then try to balance the tray on top of the last marble. To properly simulate the ITU process, groups of marbles should be working in teams to destabilise the whole thing, but no simulation is perfect. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.