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Computer Firms Warn ITU Against Heavy Hand On Cybersecurity

Computer companies are warning against efforts at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) in Busan, Korea, to expand ITU's role in cybersecurity, privacy and technical coordination, saying ITU lacks both a "rapid" and "steady" commitment "of expertise and resources."

In a blog post Sunday (Oct. 26), the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), said that while the conference was ab opportunity to discuss cyber-related issues, it was concerned about some proposals "floating around the conference."

ITIC, whose members include Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dell, IBM, Samsung, Motorola, Qualcomm and a host of others, said the following proposals should definitely not come out of the conference: binding treaties on international security or cybersecurity; any actions, like technical mandates--that reduce the flexibility of response to cybersecurity challenges; cybersecurity standardization including partnering with other standards development organizations, which works against "natural specialization" of self-organizing stakeholder groups.

PP-14, held every four years, sets the policy and planning goals of the ITU, which is the UN agency for information and communications technology. It allocates global spectrum and satellite orbits, develops technical standards for interconnection and attempts to improve communications to underserved, particularly developing, nations.