Policy makers have had little success crafting a way to use their procurement powers to influence the processes and rules used to develop ICT standards. Until now.
The “Green Revolution” of the last century promised a way to end hunger even as global populations continued to increase. Today, that promise seems less convincing, providing a cautionary tale about the ability of technology to obviate the need for more painful measures.
Much of the private sector in the U.S. has traditionally viewed any government participation in standards development above the working group level with concern. A new Request for Information from NIST invites the private sector to embrace a new level of collaboration, and that invitation should be accepted.
Another crop of consortia is launched every year. Don’t we have too many already? The answer is both yes and no.
Leveling the international playing field is an important function of government. When it comes to standards-related trade issues, winning on that field requires government help as well. H.R. 5116 can provide a first step in forging the kind of public-private partnership in standards matters that can keep America competitive.
The Internet and the Web provide the technical tools to enable an unprecedented wave of global collaboration. What we need now are governance and legal tools equal to the opportunities at hand.
The Internet and the Web get most of the glory, but without an ever-growing cast of supporting standards, they would be a far poorer place to explore. One of the most fundamental of those unsung standards is XML.
Some of the best software available is open source, but non-proprietary software has enemies as well as friends. If the Obama Administration expects to achieve its ambitious, technology-based policy goals, it would be wise to publicly declare its support for FOSS.
Technology becomes more seductive every day, but we are quicker to embrace its benefits than to protect ourselves from the less desirable consequences that can often follow. The results have included pollution, global warming, and now vulnerability to cyberattacks. The Obama administration’s pledge to decisively address cybersecurity provides an opportunity to close the gap between our technological reach, and our grasp of the need for greater security in our brave, new virtual world.
The Smart Grid is on the way, and its grand vision includes linking the homes of America into a vast interactive network that will be self-leveling, self-aware, and self-healing. The technology can take us a long way towards that goal, but consumers will need to come on board as well. Will they?