Submitted Proposals

Organization: Sun Microsystems
Title :
24. Reforming the International ICT Standardization System
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

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. 

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

The main actors in this issue include standards organizations, civil society and consumers, governments, private industry, and academics. We have approached most of the potential panelists listed below. 


Standards Organizations 

  • Ken Holman, secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1
  • Daniel Dardailler, Associate Chair for Europe, W3C
  • Vint Cerf, IETF
 Private Industry 
  • Rob Weir, IBM
  • Susy Struble, Sun Microsystems
  • Representative from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
  • Laura DeNardis, Yale Law School information Society Project 
Civil Society
  • Thiru Balasubramaniam, Knowledge Ecology International
  • Andrew Rens, Shuttleworth Foundation, South Africa 
  • Graham Taylor, President, Open Forum Europe
  • Madam Hu Qiheng, Chair of the Internet Society of China 
Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

The organizers support the IGF’s multi-stakeholder principle and provide gender balance. Geographical and even more stakeholder diversity will come through the panel participants and by our work with various online communities (Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards, Open Forum Europe, etc.) to gather input for the debate questions.

  • Laura DeNardis (Yale Law School Information Society Project)
  • Susy Struble (Sun Microsystems, private industry) 
  • Thiru Balasubramaniam (Knowledge Ecology International, civil society) 
We will be able to give each stakeholder group and viewpoint ample room for  running this workshop as a formal debate

Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?

 Yes, and these will be clearly presented through a debate format and by public queries to various online communities to help frame the debate.

Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.

This workshop supports Paragraph 90 (k) (open and affordable access to information), Paragraph 49 (development of software that enables user choice), Paragraph 27 (c) (affordable access to ICTs) and the points around Internet Governance, particularly Paragraph 72 (g) and 72 (i). It also relates to Paragraph 90 (j) of the Tunis Agenda and will help to reaffirm the commitment of WSIS/IGF stakeholders to "developing and implementing e-government applications based on open standards in order to enhance the growth and interoperability of e-government systems ... thereby furthering access to government information and services..."


This workshop also directly addresses points from the World Summit on the Information Society's Declaration of Principles: “Standardization is one of the essential building blocks of the Information Society... The development and use of open, interoperable, non-discriminatory and demand-driven standards that take into account needs of users and consumers is a basic element for the development and greater diffusion of ICTs and more affordable access to them, particularly in developing countries."


List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.

The proposers were involved in several IGF workshops in 2007 (The Intersection of Open ICT Standards, Development, and Public Policyand 2006 (Access to Knowledge and Free Expression; Best Practices for Government Policies and Procurement to Support Broader Information Access) and have organized various international seminars and conferences, such as the Standards Edge series, the Yale Access to Knowledge Conference and the Yale Open Standards Symposium. 

Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
The proposers helped to organize several workshops last year, including The Intersection of Open ICT Standards, Development, and Public Policy, Access to Knowledge, and Digital Education. Those reports are en route!