ICANN’s chairman and CEO have been invited to the World Conference on International Telecommunications next week, as “special guests” of the International Telecommunications Union.
It’s a token gesture of friendship at best, with the invitation only good for the opening ceremony, rather than any substantive policy discussions.
But it’s a contrast to the ITU’s treatment of former ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, who was snubbed when he asked for observer status for an ITU Plenipotentiary in 2010.
This year’s invitation is not, however, a reversal of that policy. ICANN’s not technically going to be an observer this time either.
WCIT, which begins on Monday in Dubai, will see the ITU’s member governments convene to redraft their governing International Telecommunications Regulations.
There’s been a bit of a commotion in the US over the last several months over the potential for a power grab by the ITU. Some governments would sooner the ITU handled ICANN’s functions.
But the conventional wisdom at the moment — supported by ITU chief Hamadoun Toure’s strenuous denials — is that ICANN is probably safe.
ITU conferences are notoriously opaque. You can’t even download policy proposals unless you’re a member, and getting an invitation to attend in person has some political value.
That’s why anyone interested in knowing what’s likely to go down at WCIT could do worse than check out .nxt, where Kieren McCarthy earned huge kudos this week by publishing over 200 previously secret documents.