Discussions on ‘combating counterfeit and substandard ICT devices’: Programme finalized

The final programme of events is now available for the upcoming discussions on ‘combating counterfeit and substandard ICT devices’ at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 17-18 November. Leading experts representing industry, government, regulatory authorities, international organizations and standards bodies will participate, and the event will receive a keynote address from the co-inventor of the Internet, Dr Robert E. Kahn, President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI).

The aim of the talks is to discuss means for ITU to improve global coordination in the application of ICTs as part of strategies to combat counterfeit and substandard ICT devices.

Counterfeit and substandard ICTs reduce opportunities in legitimate markets to the benefit of black markets fuelled by organized crime. They increase the risk of network disruptions and inadequate interoperability, they erode the brand reputation of companies and their products, and they detract from royalty streams earned through the licensing of intellectual property rights.

Counterfeiting causes economic losses of billions of dollars each year but, as noted by Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Development Bureau: “Perhaps the most distressing impacts of counterfeit and substandard ICTs are those on consumers’ health and safety. These products are often not formally tested or approved in line with applicable regulatory requirements, with the effect that they can be very dangerous, both to users and the environment.”

Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, spoke of how ITU’s diversity of expertise will benefit the study of counterfeiting as it progresses: “ITU’s strength lies in its public-private partnership of members. The collaboration of ITU’s Development and Standardization Sectors to combat counterfeiting will see the work of experts studying technical solutions matched by international cooperation in the development and application of the requisite harmonized policy frameworks.”

ITU’s engagement with counterfeiting has come in response to a new mandate conferred by its 193 Member States at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-14) in Dubai, from 30 March to 10 April 2014, which adopted Resolution 79 on ‘The role of telecommunications/information and communication technologies in combating and dealing with counterfeit telecommunication/ICT devices’.

WTDC Resolution 79 was reinforced in Busan, Korea, at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (PP-14), from 20 October to 7 November 2014, where ITU Member States adopted a new Resolution on ‘Combating Counterfeit Telecommunication/ICT Devices’.

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