Penplusbytes, on Friday 5th April joined members of the Ghana Chapter of Internet Society (ISOC)for a social evening event at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Guest House in Accra with the theme “Maintaining the openness of the internet: WCIT and beyond”.
In December last year, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) convened the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The purpose of this conference was to review the current International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and availability.
Discussions at the event focused around two key questions:
• Should the Internet continue to remain open or should governments be allowed to regulate its usage including determining what kind of content should be published on the internet?
• What will a governmental censorship of the Internet mean for the advancement of Internet related innovation and technology?
Karen Mulberry, ISOC Global Advisor who spoke on the topic “WCIT; Lessons Learned and Opportunities Identified”, said “At the WCIT-12 questions were raised on spam, network security and misuse of the internet, and how to ensure consumer protection.” According to her, “three pillars for net development were identified; these were Building Human Capacity, Technical Capacity and Government Infrastructure Development.”
Participants at the event included representatives from the Ghana National Communications Authority, National Information Technology Agency, Ministry of Communications, US Embassy and Civil Society Organisations.
Mr. Thomas Chen, Economic Officer at the US Embassy during a panel discussion on government control of the internet said that the level of government control matters a lot, adding that the US supports a multi-stakeholder approach and recognizes the importance of private expertise. He said that technology changes too fast for threats to be dealt with outside the private sector.
Sandra Mills, Penplusbytes representative said that “for government to have control over the internet, a lot of capacity building needs to be done to make sure that people will have enough information to take decisions. Governments should not be written off completely since they have a role to play, but should not be given sole control.”
ISOC Ghana is dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people in Ghana and throughout the world.