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.