Meetings of the ITU Council working groups - Geneva

The working groups (WGs) on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues, Child Online Protection and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) met in Geneva last 10-14 October.

The WG on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues considered several concerns of mobile operators, specifically the lack of local content, the need for more affordable prices, digital competence and digital inclusion, and network coverage. Positions were defended regarding financing of access in remote areas for satellite dish and modem installation, given that from the standpoint of main infrastructure (satellite and satellite networks), such investment has been carried out normally by private operators who launch satellites and keep them operational for a period that is usually 20 years. It is fundamental for the various sectors to work together. It would otherwise not be possible to have satellite connections to the internet, which through mobile networks and WiFi provide access to end-users where fixed infrastructure does not exist.

The WG also discussed various proposals for the next international public consultation, as indicated:

“Considering the importance of Internet to the global digital economy, all stakeholders are invited to submit their comments on the following key aspects:

What are the developmental aspects of the internet (for example, economic, social, regulatory and technical aspects), especially for developing countries?
How can governments and other stakeholders promote the developmental aspects of the internet?
What are the challenges and opportunities?”

The Child Online Protection WG emphasised the need for information and communication technologies that can be safely and responsibly used by young people, who are the most interconnected among the global population. Bearing mind that interconnection and the time spent online, special care must be taken regarding how they are affected by content that can harm their proper development. Despite the huge amount of activities carried out in Europe in this area, there are effectiveness problems, as sexual exploitation of children online is a growing phenomenon. Denunciations of such content have increase by 34 percent and it is important to maintain and develop hotlines to report cases, fast connection to Interpol so that websites that promote images of sexual exploitation of children can be disconnected (in 72 hours on average) and better victim identification mechanisms.

The WSIS WG updated the resolutions associated to the WSIS process and the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It also presented the ITU’s activities that facilitate, implement and accompany the WSIS process, including those in the ITU’s operational plan. The WSIS theme for 2017 is ‘the information society for the sustainable development goals’; the respective forum will be held on 12-16 June 2017.
The next meetings of the ITU Council WGs are scheduled for February 2017.