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Yale ISP Submits Technical Standards Recommendations to the Obama Administration

The Information Society Project at Yale Law School has submitted recommendations to the Obama administration for a new U.S. strategy addressing the technical standards underlying the Internet and information and communication technologies. These recommendations are an outgrowth of a Global Standards Summit the Yale ISP convened at Yale Law School on November 21, 2008. The summit brought together industry leaders, standards practitioners, scholars, and legal experts from around the world to discuss problems and recommend solutions in the current global context of technical standardization. The proceedings for the Global Standards Summit are available here.

Yale ISP Executive Director Laura DeNardis said, “The administration’s technology policy priorities create a moment of opportunity to rethink U.S. strategy on technical standards, an invisible form of technological rulemaking with consequences for U.S. innovation policy, national security, and government efficiency and openness.” 

The Yale ISP submitted the following high-level standards strategy recommendations:

• Develop a Government Open Standards Strategy. The government should make unclassified information publicly accessible in open formats that promote transparency, user choice, and civic engagement. The CTO should assess whether the standards architecture for government systems enables maximum interoperability and efficiency and should review areas in which standards establish policy about electronic medical records, civil liberties online, and critical infrastructure protection. Government standards-setting efforts should be open and transparent.

• Form a United States Standards Advisory Council drawing upon U.S. standards experts from industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations to advise the OMB, the CTO, the USTR, and the Department of Commerce on federal standards strategy.

• Strengthen International Standards Collaboration.  The U.S. should strengthen the legitimacy and transparency of the diverse international standards-setting processes and redouble efforts to ensure that standards and the underlying intellectual property arrangements of standards are not used to close markets, restrict freedoms, limit competition, or create barriers to trade.

• Encourage the Formation of a Global Multi-stakeholder Standards Advocacy Group in which private industry and institutions take the lead in establishing voluntary criteria for what constitutes quality, efficiency, and openness in technical standards-setting processes.

Click here to read the recommendations.

As part of its ongoing open standards research program, the Information Society Project will offer to help and support the administration’s efforts to realize these strategic objectives. The Yale ISP’s longstanding open standards research program has consistently advocated for approaches to information and communication standards that encourage innovation and support the broader public interests of interoperability, open government, and access to knowledge. More information about the Yale ISP can be found at http://isp.law.yale.edu/.