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(Eds.) History of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Transnational techno-diplomacy from the telegraph to the Internet

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Balbi G., Fickers A.
Information and communication technologies are networked. Exchanging information between two points in a network requires both the definition of what kind of information is to be exchanged (standardization) and the definition of rules and procedures of how this information is produced, circulated, and received (regulation). As such, processes of standardization (the negotiation and definition of technical standards) and regimes of regulation (their implementation and control by a legally and/or politically recognized institution) are at the heart of techno-political diplomacy, because they involve a multitude of actors (technical, economic, and political) and arenas (platforms of negotiation) on national, international, and transnational levels. As the term techno-diplomacy suggests, these processes are characterized by strategic actions, and tactical maneuvers among all actors involved and generally require a high degree of both technical knowledge and diplomatic skills by the negotiating parties. This book aims at studying the role of one specific actor in the field of standardization and regulation of information and communication technologies, the International Telecommunication Union from its origins in the mid-19th century to nowadays. In this technodiplomatic game, ITU has been indeed an actor and had a key-role in different realms such as regulations of tariffs, technological standardization and homogeneity, establishment of shared norms, promotion and support of projects and studies for example in developing countries.
Berlin: De Gruyter