I agreeto Idea Interagency Task Force for Information Technology Standards Development Reform
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Interagency Task Force for Information Technology Standards Development Reform

Why Is This Idea Important?: It standards that do not specify clearly and unambiguously the conformity requirements essential to achieve interoperability are impenetrable connectivity barriers to open eGovernment, forcing citizens to acquire single-vendor software solutions to connect with government. Such standards bestow unlawful competitive advantage upon the implementing vendor with the largest market share, whose implementation in reality defines what is a standard in name only. The dominant implementation's tail wags the standard dog. Just how broken the U.S. standards system is broken is dramatically illustrated by standards for word processor document formats. The word processor was invented in 1956. Yet 53 years later, we still have no open standard for word processor document formats that specifies the conformity requirements essential to achieve interoperability. Pushing a single vendor cannot undo such situations, which commonly arise because of stalemates among major vendors. It is an industry-wide problem and may only be effectively addressed as such. The right focal point is the responsible standard development organization that allows such anti-competitive standards to be developed and adopted. Delivering an effective message that information technology SDOs bear the legal responsibility for policing the relevant activities of their membership is the most efficient way for government to ensure pro-competitive IT standards. See e.g., Allied Tube & Conduit v. Indian Head, Inc. 486 U.S. 492 (1988), http://laws.findlaw.com/us/486/492.html ("private standard-setting associations have traditionally been objects of antitrust scrutiny").

An Information Society's software infrastructure can be no better than the quality of its connectivity but the economy is awash with IT standards that lack specification of the conformity requirements essential to achieve interoperability. A holistic solution is desperately needed, one that does not focus on a single vendor, but rather on standards development organizations ("SDO's").

We have a global legal framework for that task in place, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. But U.S. implementation of the ATBT is deeply flawed, from bright-line constitutional defects in the enabling legislation, to a near-complete abdication of government ATBT responsibilities to the private sector, to an incredible lack of education of SDO's and their members as to their legal responsibilities.

Therefore, I propose an interagency task force aimed at studying such issues and getting the message across to SDO's that they have a crucially important gatekeeper responsibility to ensure that IT standards exhibit the strategic common characteristics of interoperability, portability, and cultural and linguistic adaptability.

Corrective action is also needed for the defective ATBT implementing legislation and the unconstitutional delegation of government ATBT responsibilities to the private sector without so much as notice and comment rulemaking. http://ts.nist.gov/Standards/Conformity/ansimou.cfm There are also related problems with the U.S. implementation of the Agreement on Government Procurement, which requires that government procurement specifications be based on international standards developed under the auspices of the ATBT.

Because of overlapping subject matter legal jurisdiction and the need for coordinated action, the task force should (minimally) include representatives from eGov, the DoJ Antitrust Division, the FTC, State Dept., Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and NIST.

Submitted by Unsubscribed User 4 years ago

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