Reforming the International ICT Standardization System

6 December 2008 - A Workshop on Internet Governance Principles in Hyderabad, India


Through a formal debate format, participants will present their views on the health of the international ICT standardization system and what actions – if any – policy makers, private industry and other IGF attendees should take. Questions will address the purported failures of the system, if application level standards and interoperability matter, how industry consortia and de jure standards organizations should coordinate and relate, and changes that could be made to improve broader participation in ICT standards development.


This workshop follows on successful, related workshops in 2006 and 2007 that addressed the inherent tension between the public interest and intellectual property rights (IPR) holders in ICT standards (IGF 2006) and the intersections of open ICT standards, development, and public policy (IGF 2007).


The year between IGF 2007 and IGF 2008 is proving to be full of complex, contentious and confusing developments related to the global standardization system. In April, ISO/IEC JTC 1 approved its second document format as an international standard. Disappointingly, this action seemed to increase acrimony that had developed over the lack of clarity and understanding of ISO/IEC JTC1's rules and methods as well as the rules and roles of national standardization bodies. April also ushered in a surprise from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which overturned the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's antitrust decision against the Rambus corporation for its deceptive licensing practices and deceit in a standards setting organization.