[discuss] Why oversight? (was Re: Opportunity for input on the development process forIANAoversight transition plan)

Alejandro Pisanty apisanty at gmail.com
Wed Apr 2 18:43:25 UTC 2014

Andrew, Parminder, all,

for those who are genuinely concerned about the "social" oversight of
standards-development bodies, the job starts mostly at home, national
standards organizations. That is where most acutely standards-development
processes may be subject to capture by industry, collusiont with corrupt
officials, the effects of shear cluelessness of these officials. That is
where foodstuffs, automobile parts and tyres, electrical equipment,
asphalt, cement, milk, etc. get their norms and standards and where
citizens are screwed.

Looking at the global scale, and closer to our field, what good did
governmental or intergovernmental political oversight do for the ISO 29500

Let's step ahead from this political-fiction episode; it may have left some
usefull lessons. There may be work to be done where they can be used. We'll
know when we get there.

Alejandro Pisanty

On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 12:33 PM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com>wrote:

> Hi,
> On Wed, Apr 02, 2014 at 06:17:51PM +0530, parminder wrote:
> > normally accepted that technical functions of public importance,
> > although often undertaken by expert technical bodies, must be
> > subject to larger public oversight through appropriate institutional
> > forms.
> Sure.  "Laws."  That is, to the extent that technical bodies are
> subject to public oversight, it's normally under the aegis of national
> law.  And of course, everyone participating in an IETF discussion is
> subject to the relevant (mostly local) laws at the time and place of
> contribution.
> But what you seem to be imagining is some sort of oversight beyond
> that.  I'm not at all sure that it is "normally accepted" that such
> technical functions are indeed subject to the "larger public
> oversight" you're talking about, at least in the abstract.
> It may be that for specific things, like deployment on a road or use
> as an elevating device or so on, public policy concerns may come in.
> For instance, the Society of Automotive Engineers publishes certain
> recommendations about motor oil for lubrication; these standards are
> not controlled by any government, but are determined via the SAE
> process.  They are in turn used by automobile manufacturers, who
> specify their use, and also incorporated along with other standards in
> pollution control regulations imposed by different jurisdictions,
> often when adopted or otherwise incorporated by a national standards
> body; this latter is what makes ISO necessary.  And these local
> incorporations tend to differ area by area according to local rules
> and customs and expectations.  We see that on the Internet today.
> What you seem to be talking about is an overall political control over
> technical bodies generally.  I'd like an example of something that is
> like this where it is "normally accepted" that they are subject to
> "larger public oversight through appropriate institutional forms".
> > It is in this sense that the political/ public administration
> > concept of 'delegated authority' was used by me,
> I think there's something more to what you are arguing, which is that
> there is this overarching "public administration" layer under which
> everything is subsumed.  I am not sure I agree with this picture of
> the organization of society, and I suspect that attempts to work out a
> way forward would founder on a basic difference over how societies
> ought to be organized.  So this is indeed a fundamental point.
> Best regards,
> A
> --
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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     Dr. Alejandro Pisanty
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