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19 Standards Orgs. - and Over 13,300 Members - Support Rambus Brief

Dec 24, 2008, 22:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"The value and importance of standards in the modern world is profound. As an example, the Department of Commerce concluded in 2004 that standards affect an estimated 80 percent of world commodity trade. U.S. Department of Commerce, Standards and Competitiveness – Coordinating for Results 1 (May 2004). In the ICT sector, the role of standards is particularly crucial, as vital infrastructural elements such as telecommunications, the Internet and the Web literally cannot exist without common agreement on, and universal implementation of, enabling protocols and other standards.

"Moreover, private sector standards are often incorporated by reference into laws. But unlike public laws and regulations, standards are developed within a process that is not only self-regulating, but also largely unsupervised, except by those that directly participate. As a result, the success or failure of private sector standards development is highly dependent upon trust. If those that participate conclude that abusing the system is too easy to accomplish, and that such abuse is too lightly punished if discovered, then the entire system can find itself in danger of collapse, because the risks of participation and adoption of standards become greater than the benefits to be gained. Were such a collapse to occur, virtually no aspect of society would be immune from the consequences."

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