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Proposed themes for the World Summit on the Information Society - Contribution from United States of America
The following are detailed U.S. comments on the subject document as requested at the May 15 meeting. Thank you for taking them into consideration.

In Paragraph 3, we would like to suggest two additional themes: "Freedom of the Media" and "The Role of ICTs in Good Governance". These elements are found further down in the document in C2 - para 24 , "human rights,democracy and governance", which cites those portions of the Millennium Declaration that commit to freedom of the media and the right of the public to have access to information.

In Paragraph 6 we recommend deleting the last sentence of the paragraph "PrepCom needs to determine what is the problem that the Summit is trying to solve." This wording suggests that the WSIS is a summit in search of a cause - we need to be more positive.

Para 7A - we would prefer "common ground" or a similar term to "shared vision" - this terminology is prescriptive and it would be very difficult to reduce the "information society" to one single, accepted definition.

Para 7C - we would like to have the first sentence "The development of ICTs is primarily driven by commercial concerns" removed from the text as we believe it is unnecessary.

Para 11 - This paragraph needs clarification, especially regarding the identity of the "participants" - a task might inappropriately be given to an NGO, for example.

Para 19 - we think the language on success stories, private sector participation, market liberalization, and creation of independent regulatory agencies is excellent and that these are aspects worthy of even more emphasis.

Para 25, last sentence - the U.S. is very supportive of the concept of "local content" as critical to Internet development world.

Para 30: The U.S. would like to see a reference in the second sentence to the activities of the ITU, in particular the World Telecom Development Summit in March 02 and the upcoming Plenipot in Sept. 02.

Annex I

In the fourth bullet point under "Vision - Opening the Gates", we would like to add "with due consideration to intellectual property rights" to Information as a common public good."

Under "Developing a Framework", the U.S. would like to delete "and legal exceptions" from the second bullet point. Legal exceptions to intellectual property rights are very complex, outside the competence of the WSIS, and thus better left to a specialized organization such as WIPO.

Under "The Needs of Users", The U.S. would like to eliminate the bullet point "Ethics of the Information Society". These are extensions of, and matters of national and cultural definition. As such, an attempt by a Summit to deal with them risks encroaching upon sovereign and cultural prerogatives. The bullet point "Content Regulation" should also be removed.

This infringes on the right of all to freedom of expression as set forth in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Annex 2

General Comment: The U.S. does not support linking the WSIS to the Millennium Declaration Goals as strongly as this Annex suggests. The Declaration provides just one of many possible goal-setting options and Annex 2 should not be completely driven by it. This annex should be more flexible in order to include categories that may be refined at the national level. Categories might include: poverty reduction; health; sustainable development; needs of children (these categories exist already but the role of ICTs is too specific); good governance; freedom of expression; enabling environments for entrepreneurial undertakings, etc.

Fourth Bullet - We would suggest replacing this bullet with "increase access to basic social services, including reproductive health care" The U.S. cannot accept any language which contains the term "reproductive health services".




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Updated : 2011-04-04