Tuesday, October 15, 2013

IEEE Comments on Trust in Standards Setting Process

On the observation of World Standards Day, the IEEE now is an opportune moment to denote the importance of

The IEEE published a commentary discussing current erosion of trust in the technical foundations of the Internet. Reflecting on the open standardization processes and the principles of OpenStand, the modern standards paradigm that has driven technological and economic advances in recent decades, the IEEE said the standardization processes must be universally open and fully transparent, especially in the domain of cyber security.

"The principles of direct participation, independent of the passport or where one is domiciled, of due process, of broad consensus, of balance, of transparency and of universal openness from the very beginning of the standardization process are practiced by thousands of collaborative groups around the world, building a kind of global basis democracy in virtually all fields of technology."

The commentary highlights six principles:

1. Direct participation means there are no intermediaries between a good idea and the peer group that decides the start of a new standardization project. Everybody, from anywhere can submit a proposal without permission by a government or a company or elsewhere.

2. Due process provides for a level playing field for all participants to understand the rules of engagement; the opportunity for equal participation; and provides a means for the definition of a standard based upon technical merit.

3. Broad consensus ensures that decisions are made by either a majority or supermajority of participants, so no single person or entity wields undue power in the definition of a standard.

4. Balance provides opportunity for a multitude of stakeholders to participate in the definition of a standard, resulting in global interoperability, scalability, stability, and resiliency. This, in turn, enables global competition and outputs that serve as building blocks for further innovation, thus contributing to the creation of benefit for humanity.

5. Transparency of the process and proceedings ensure that the policies and procedures under which the standard is defined are available so that participants understand the rules of engagement and so that appropriate audit trails are available for inspection upon emergence of an output.

6. Universal openness from the very beginning ensures that the appropriate notification to a global audience is provided for attendance at meetings and engagement in the definition of a standard. Combined with transparency, this creates the basis for a robust and trustworthy standardization process in all fields of technology, including for cybersecurity and privacy.