During the international conference organized by the International Telecommunication Union ― a U.N. agency in charge of governing global IT polices ― high-ranking officials from governments, private firms and international institutes will discuss a wide array of subjects, from internal rules to standardization of ICT.
The 193 state members will elect a secretary-general of the organization and directors to lead its three bureaus ― ITU-T for ICT standards, ITU-R for radio frequency spectrums and satellite orbits, and ITU-D in charge of global telecommunications development.
From Korea, Lee Chae-sub, a researcher at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and policy adviser for the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, will be running for the ITU-T directorship.
With his long career at the ITU-T and his expertise in ICT, Lee hopes to build trust among governments, ICT firms and related organizations for the development of the world’s ICT industries.
The following are comments on global telecommunication issues Lee made in an email interview with The Korea Herald. ― Ed.
Almost three decades at ITU
I started working for the ITU-T in 1987. During my time at the organization I have assumed leading roles in groups under the organization.
From 2001 to 2008, I served as the vice chairman for ITU-T SG13, which works on standardization and development of next-generation networks, including Internet protocol television and as the chairman of Working Party 2 under the SG13.
I have been taking on the chairmanship of the SG13 since 2009.
Having served as the chief of the SG13, I coordinated projects for the standardization of the IPTV and the NGN while coordinating different voices among various parties including governments, mobile carriers and manufacturers.
I have worked with former and sitting high-ranking executives at the ITU and given advice for telecommunications policies to nations including Lebanon and Serbia.
I made the decision to run for the director of the ITU-T with the aim of contributing to the development of the world’s ICT industries and the growth of the ITU with my 27-year experience and expertise in the ICT technologies, telecommunication standardization and policymaking.
The ITU has three bureaus: ITU-T, ITU-R and ITU-D.
The ITU-T originated from two technical committees for long distance telephony and telegraphy, founded in 1924.
These two committees were merged in 1956 into the Consultative Committee on International Telegraphy and Telephony, or CCIT, which then turned into the current organization in 1993.
The ITU unit for telecommunication standardization (ITU-T) is comprised of 10 study groups focused on setting standards in global ICT industries including the NGN, IPTV, information security and radio frequency identification.
The ITU-T is also playing an important role in setting directions for global politics and economy for ICT as it deals with global tech issues such as network neutrality and Internet governance that affect governments and private companies around the world.
Roles and duties of director
The ITU-T director supervises and coordinates overall work at the agency, and makes final decisions on international ICT standards.
Basically, the chief of the agency helps governments, private firms and academia to work together on establishing standards for ICT and introducing them to the global market.
If elected, I will put first priority on increasing the values and competitiveness of the ITU-T so that the agency can fare well in competition with other international organizations in the field.
I will also make efforts to narrow the “digital gap” between developing nations and advanced countries by providing support for countries left behind in the world’s IT development.
Fighting online crime
The ITU has set cybersecurity as one of the most important agendas since 2000, and has been holding a slew of discussions to solve security problems.
At the World Summit on Information Society 2010, a U.N. conference on IT, governments around the world agreed on concerted and proactive efforts at the ITU to secure trust and safety in the global ICT infrastructure.
Korea is often regarded as a global ICT powerhouse as it leads the way in building an information society. As a frontier nation of the ICT era, it has a profound understanding of the dark side of the connected society, which it has learned after experiencing cyber crimes unprecedented on the other side of the world.
There is no cure-all for security issues. My suggestion is, however, in addition to beefing up security measures, global players should try to build a global society based on trust.
Korea will be able to contribute to establishing trust among the world’s governments and private companies.
The Internet of Things is definitely a critical issue being discussed at the ITU-T. In 2012, a group under the ITU-T aimed at leading standardization was formed, and the group completed and announced frameworks for the standards a year later upon the request of the ITU-T.
The ITU-T is currently making definitions and terms for IoT technologies, and will be able to support the use of standardized IoT technologies across a wide range of services.
The U.N. agency is also working together with the ISO/IEC JTC1, an international committee for IT standardization, in the relevant tasks.
Important factors in election
Candidates for the post have to meet the qualifications first and maintain a good reputation among ITU members. While working for the past 27 years for the ITU, especially the telecommunication standardization sector, I have developed not only a strong rapport with the ITU members but also expertise in ICT policies.
Contributions made at a national level to the development of global society also factor in.
The active involvement of Korea in global ICT development will surely help make me a strong contender for the election.
• ITU-T SG13 chairman since 2009
• ITU-T SG13 vice chairman and WP2 chairman in 2001-2008
• ITU-T NGN (Next Generation Network) Focus Group chairman in 2004-2005
• ITU-T SG13 WP1 chairman in 1999-2000
• KT R&D Group in 1986-2004
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)