Genachowski: Cybersecurity mandates should be excluded from telecom treaty

"International regulations are simply too broad, too inflexible, and too slow to change to effectively address cybersecurity issues," Genachowski said, according to his prepared remarks. "Any attempt to draft a one-size-fits-all text could easily do more harm than good."
Countries around the world will meet in Dubai next month to revise the International Telecommunications Regulations treaty, which will be updated for the first time since 1988. The treaty conference will be overseen by the United Nations's International Telecommunications Union and will put measures in place that affect how the flow of voice, video and data traffic will be managed across the world, according to the conference's website.

Some countries are reportedly pushing to include cybersecurity proposals in the treaty that would put one regulatory body — such as a United Nations agency — in charge of cybersecurity mandates. In the run-up to the upcoming treaty negotiations in Dubai, the U.S. has argued that a variety of organizations should guide countries on how to boost the protection of their critical computer systems and networks.

In his remarks, Genachowski argued that cyber threats should be "addressed in a variety of multi-stakeholder fora." 

The head of the U.S. delegation, Ambassador Terry Kramer, has said that including cybersecurity regulations in the treaty would be a "dead end" because countries need to be nimble enough to respond to cyberattacks on critical infrastructure.

Genachowski called for cooperation during the treaty negotiations and said the U.S. believes it's important to have a successful conference.

"This is not a zero-sum game," he said. "We can learn from one another and all can benefit."