WSIS, WIPO Meetings Highlight Growing Digital Policy Divide

My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, freely available hyperlinked version) focuses on this month's WSIS and WIPO meetings in Geneva. While the meetings are distinct, both reflect the developing world's increasing frustration with global rules that have an enormous impact on technological development everywhere yet were crafted primarily with the developed world in mind.  With the importance of the Internet and new technologies readily apparent to all, those countries are clearly no longer content to sit on the sidelines as their interests go unrepresented.

Moreover, the two events have unfortunately reduced Canada's role to that of a bit player on the global Internet stage.  Despite Prime Minister Paul Martin's repeated commitments to the developing world, Canada has quietly backed the United States on both the Internet governance and WIPO Development Agenda issues.  

That position puts Ottawa at odds with the developing world and fails to recognize that the national interest lies with a globalized approach that benefits countries both the rich and poor.  ITU and WIPO negotiators may be facing a fork in the policy road over the next two weeks, but Canada sadly appears to be unsure of which direction to turn.

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  1. robert
    WASHINGTON – The Bush administration on Tuesday dismissed North Korea’s demand for civilian nuclear reactors and appeared confident about a final agreement to end that nation’s nuclear weapons program. ·­Ò빫˾

    “Both agreed that the next round of six-party talks should focus on issues related to the North’s dismantlement of its nuclear programs and the verification of that dismantlement,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. “They both agreed that the agreement signed in Beijing by the six parties was the binding text for parties, including on the question of light water reactors.”·­Ò빫˾

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan, meanwhile, said that if North Korea needed some time to reflect on the agreement reached this week, “We’ll give it to them.”Rice discussed North Korea during a meeting later Tuesday with her Chinese counterpart.·­Ò빫˾

    Roh’s office in Seoul took note of the prospect of “various difficulties” in resolving the nuclear issue and said the South Korean president told Bush he appreciated U.S. “flexibility” during the negotiations in Beijing.·­Ò빫˾