Cablegate: International Telecommunications Union (Itu) Working Group


DE RUEHGV #0982/01 3231551
R 181551Z NOV 08



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Working Group
on Financial Regulations

REF: Geneva 000825

1. SUMMARY: USG maintained its positions at the Working Groups of
ITU Council, which consisted of two meetings on terminology use at
the ITU, two meetings on the World Summit on the Information Society
(Geneva, 2003 and Tunis, 2005) (WSIS), and a meeting on financial
issues. The working groups will submit reports on their activities
to the ITU Council November 12-21, 2008. END SUMMARY.

2. The Working Groups of ITU Council consisted of a series of
meetings to prepare for the meeting of the ITU Council in November
2008. There are five Working Groups of ITU Council comprising
groups on: 1) Security Definitions & Terminology: Use in ICTs (Sept.
22-23); 2) Terminology: Use in the Constitution & Convention (Sept.
23-24); 3) WSIS: Implementation of outcomes (Sept. 25-26); 4) WSIS:
Participation of stakeholders in ITU Activities (Sept. 29-30); and
5) Financial Regulations and other related Financial Management
Issues (Oct. 1-2). This cable reports on meetings of the first four
groups. The meeting of the fifth group was reported in reftel.


3. At the first meeting, on security definitions and terminology,
the United States introduced its contribution stating that the
United States supports the definition of Cybersecurity agreed by
ITU-T Study Group 17 in ITU-T Recommendation X.1205, which is as
follows: "Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is the collection of tools,
policies, security concepts, security safeguards, guidelines, risk
management approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance
and technologies that can be used to protect the cyber environment
and organization and user's assets. Organization and user's assets
include connected computing devices, personnel, infrastructure,
applications, services, telecommunications systems, and the totality
of transmitted and/or stored information in the cyber environment.
Cybersecurity strives to ensure the attainment and maintenance of
the security properties of the organization and user's assets
against relevant security risks in the cyber eQronment. The
general security objectives comprise the following: availability;
integrity, which may include authenticity and non-repudiation; and

4. There was no opposition to this position. The Russian
Federation offered an additional proposal, which they broached at
the previous meeting of the group in January. At the January
meeting Russia indicated that it believed that, "in accordance with
the para 36 of the WSIS Declaration of Principles and mandate of
this Group (on Resolution 149) the subject of [the group's]
discussion should include cybercrime, cyberterrorism and the use of
ICT for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of
maintaining international stability and security. They added that
these fields should be reflected in any security-related definition
discussed by the group. The Russian proposal for the September
meeting included terms and definitions for information war,
information weapons, international information crime, international
information terrorism, and illegal use of information and
telecommunications systems and information resources. The group
concluded (with the exception of the Russian Federation) that those
terms were outside the purpose of the Union as stipulated in Article
1. After discussion, Russia agreed that the definition of
cybersecurity contained in X.1205 to a certain extent covers some
items of its proposals.
5. At the end of the meeting, the Syrian chair proposed several
ways of going forward with the work of the group. Two of his
proposals involved including the word "security" or "cybersecurity"
in the ITU Constitution and Convention (CS/CV). The other options
involved either drafting an independent resolution on the definition
of cybersecurity, or modifying an existing resolution. The United
States stated "that the Constitution and Convention should be stable
documents, and as such, we prefer other solutions, such as using
Resolutions, over adding terms to the CS/CV. We believe that
changing the CS/CV may cause difficulty for national
administrations; however, we do support the use of accepted
definitions, such as the definition of cybersecurity established by
SG 17. These definitions are contextual and often "working"
definitions, which make them flexible in the face of changing
technologies. The United States believes that putting the SG 17
definition of cybersecurity in a Resolution is the appropriate
response to Resolution 149." Canada supported this approach. The
Syrian chair strongly opposed this approach because Syria hopes to
revise either Article 1 of the Constitution, which indicates the
mandate of the Union, or the definitions contained within the Annex
to the Constitution or the Annex to the Convention.

6. The debate on terminology continued in the second meeting, on
terminology in the CS/CV. In this meeting, the United States
introduced a contribution stating that the U.S. continues to support
no change to Article 1 of the CS/CV. USG believes the purposes of
the Union and associated definitions, including the definition of
telecommunications (CS 1012), are sufficiently broad to meet the

needs of the Membership and a changing telecommunications
environment. USG indicated that there are other ways to define
terms in the ITU, such as in decisional elements. Japan and Iran
supported the U.S. position. Russia and Syria opposed the U.S.
position. Russia and Syria proposed modifications to the definition
of telecommunications. Syria accused the United States of
attempting to abrogate the rights of Member states to modify the
Constitution and Convention. The U.S. indicated, and the Emirati
Chairman agreed, that this view was incorrect, because the United
States only offered its position while suggesting alternative means
to define terms within the ITU. At this point no consideration is
being given to adding any definitions to the CS/CV. A Draft
interim report of the WG-Terminology was distributed and submitted
for discussion. In the course of the debate, the final version of
the report to be submitted to Council was agreed by all

(Geneva, 2003 and Tunis, 2005)

7. At the third meeting, on WSIS Implementation, the ad hoc group on
Internet matters was convened by the French chair. The French chair
indicated that no contributions were received from Membership for
the ad hoc group. Syria opined that the Internet Governance Forum
(IGF) served no purpose, and is not helpful to developing nations,
and that the ITU does not play a role at the IGF. The French chair
stated that ITU plays a role at IGF, on the multi-stakeholder
advisory committee, for example. Syria indicated appreciation for
the work of the Chairman, while also suggesting an evaluation of the
usefulness of the IGF, and of the ITU's role at the IGF.

8. During the regular session of the group, the Russian chair and
Secretariat introduced multiple documents on WSIS implementation.
Most of these documents lacked controversy. One document suggested
changing the name of the WSIS Action Line meetings, or organizing
the meetings differently by themes as opposed to Action Lines.
Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, and Syria opposed changing aspects of the
Action Line meetings. The U.S. (and the other Member states)
agreed, because the Action Lines, and their related meetings, were
carefully negotiated during the WSIS.

9. At the fourth meeting, on WSIS stocktaking, the group discussed
the questionnaire on participation distributed to WSIS-accredited
entities after the previous meeting in January. The group noted
that the number of answers to the questionnaire sent to the
Secretariat was very low, representing only 3.5 percent of Member
States, less than one percent of ITU's Sector Members and Associates
and less than 0.1 percent of WSIS-accredited stakeholders. The Group
noted that additional contributions had been sent by Canada and the
United States, and two more Sector Members, but these answers were
never received by the Secretariat.

10. The group agreed that due to the small number of answers and
lack of clarity and coherence of those answers, the relevance of the
result of the consultation would be questionable; however, they
decided to continue discussion on the answers given by Member States
and to provide conclusions for each of the Questions. The Group
also discussed the answers from Sector Members, Associates and
WSIS-accredited stakeholders and had the opinion that, in most
cases, the answers from Sector Members and Associates and to the
lesser extent, the answers received from WSIS-accredited
stakeholders, were normally consistent with the replies received
from their Member States.

11. The Group felt that it was not yet time to discuss a draft
structure of the final report to Council 2009. The Group asked the
Chairman, in cooperation with the Secretariat, to present a proposal
for a draft structure of the final report to be discussed at its
coming meeting, to be ready one month before the meeting. The Group
encouraged Member States to contribute to the next Meeting of this
Group, taking into consideration the output of the Council on the


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