The IT Law Wiki


Founded in 1865, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been an integral part of the United Nations since its inception in 1947.

"The ITU has the widest decisionmaking scope among international ICT organizations, in terms both of issues addressed and types of decisions made. The ITU treaties provide an international legal framework for cooperation between governments, the private sector, and other actors. They also lay down the legal and regulatory principles that govern the international exchange of telecom services, as well as the allocation and use of radio frequencies and satellite orbital positions. Within this framework, the ITU's main responsibilities include coordination and registry of frequency and orbital assignments and telecom numbering plans, development of technical, operational, tariff and revenue-sharing standards, the provision of policy, regulatory, technical and capacity-building assistance to developing countries, and fora for coordinating national approaches to global telecommunications policy and regulatory issues."[1]

Its mission includes developing technical standards, allocating the radio spectrum, and providing technical assistance and capacity-building to developing countries. According to ITU, three sectors carry out these missions by promoting recommendations: the ITU-Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), the ITU-Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), and the ITU-Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D). In addition, the ITU General-Secretariat provides top-level leadership to ensure that institutional strategies are harmonized across all sectors. ITU members include delegations from 191 nations, as well as more than 700 members from the private sector.

The ITU has also developed technical standards for security and, more recently, engaged in other cybersecurity activities. For example, ITU-T has established a study group for telecommunications security to focus on developing standards and recommendations associated with network and information security, application security, and identity management. Similarly, ITU-D, through its members' efforts, prepared a report on cybersecurity best practices for countries seeking to organize national cybersecurity efforts.

While this effort was underway, the ITU General-Secretariat separately issued a Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) designed to promote a comprehensive and coordinated international approach to cybersecurity across all ITU sectors. The GCA has five specific focus areas: legal measures, technical and procedural measures, organizational structures, capacity-building, and international cooperation.

In addition, the ITU Secretary General signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) that is to establish an operations center to coordinate incident response and to provide cyber threat information to member countries and the private sector.[2]


The following ITU publications are summarized in this wiki:



See also[]