Monday, 26 November 2012

Final version of the EU Regulation on Standardisation published in OJ as Multi-Stakeholder work progresses

I am awfully late with this post. My excuse: it all happened when I was travelling two weeks ago and when I was simply too busy and distracted for typing blog posts...

Nonetheless, it's great news: The final version of the EU Regulation as approved by the European Parliament and the Council has now formally been published by the European Commission in the Official Journal (OJ). It is openly available and can freely be downloaded from the OJ.

Again, congratulations to the Commission and to Parliament and Council for this wise final version. It is marks an evolutionary progress in Europe in the area of standardisation. Its major novelty is the way how to deal with and integrate global ICT specifications into the European standardisation system in order to make best use of them.

Meanwhile also the second meeting of the ICT Multi-Stakeholder platform took place - already four weeks ago. It was the first meeting after agreement on the final version of the Regulation was reached. Hence the first meeting when the opportunity of identifying global ICT specifications from fora/consortia is given.

Consequently, the Platform discussed the procedure for identifying fora/consortia specs and for assessing them against the requirements and criteria in Annex II. Before fixing a clear process for doing the assessment the Platform agreed to start a test balloon with four specifications: XML (W3C); Ecma script (Ecma international); 802.11 (IEEE); and IPv6 (IETF); the specifications from Ecma and IEEE are looked at with extensions and updates, respectively, that are not part of the version approved by ISO. As a first step four sub-groups of the Platform have been formed to gather the basic information and, in a second step, to produce a draft statement of advice for the Platform to debate and reach consensus on.

There had been a debate in the Platform on how to best structure and organise the work of making an assessment, i.e. of gathering information and producing a draft statement of advice. One or two organisations present in the Platform seemed, at least judging from their line of argumentation and from the phrases they used, to propose that single, ad-hoc groups are responsible for doing an entire assessment. This would be an inacceptable way of "divide and conquer" and would reduce transparency and the ability of the entire Platform to raise issues and participate in the consensus building on the final statement of advice.

To me it is unnegotiable that
  • the process of identifying and assessing fora/consortia specifications needs to be highly transparent at all times; 
  • each Platform member needs to have a fair chance to provide input on candidate specifications under review;
  •  time-lines need not be too long because we are serving a public interest, but long enough for comprehensive feedback gathering and for doing the piece of research that needs to be done; 
  • proper mechanism, preferably web based, need to be set up for giving the interested public a chance to submit comments, as well.
Regarding workload, I am not sure whether either the Commission or the Platform will be able to perform all required work on their own. I could imagine - and from OFE we said so already two years ago - that the Commission needs to hire a person for gathering the required input and for producing a draft statement of advice for further discussion in the entire Platform.

But let's first see how the test balloon goes, how high the required work load is - and on this basis look at possible steps for optimising.

For the time being, it is great news that the Regulation is final and that the Platform work on fora/consortia specs, which is, after all, just one of many tasks of the Platform, has started with four common and globally relevant specifications.

1 comment:

Tabesin said...

"...has started with four common and globally relevant specifications."

Interesting, which ones?