[discuss] FW: Comcast undertakes 9 year IETF cosponsorship!?

Barry Shein bzs at world.std.com
Tue Mar 25 00:02:13 UTC 2014

On March 22, 2014 at 16:18 gurstein at gmail.com (michael gurstein) wrote:
 > Is it really acceptable for the process towards the establishment of global
 > standards for sugar intake to be "(co)sponsored" by Coca Cola for example;
 > or for that matter for Coca Cola to have a member on the Board of one of the
 > key technical bodies making recommendations towards those standards?

I'm not sure this analogy is apt, as much as I sympathize with the

This is more like Coke having membership on the board of a group which
is setting standards for grocery shelving. It probably exists.

Surely Coke would have a legitimate interest just like anyone else
involved (supermarkets, delivery companies, etc.) And that interest
may well be self-interested but there's no obvious reason why it
should not be involved or why this would be bad.

Now, if Coke used that position to favor their bottle sizes over that
of competitors that might be a problem. But that would be the end
result of a lopsided or corrupted process rather than a mistake
letting them into the room.

But the purpose of the IETF et al is not to stand between the public
and the manufacturers.

Most of the IETF's work is to standardize practices among
manufacturers (providers, etc.) in the belief that this produces a
result in the public's interest by improving interoperability.

I don't believe I am splitting a hair: I think there is a time and
place for consumer advocacy groups, and industry advocacy groups, and
standards development bodies.

Their interests often overlap in significant ways but much of their
effort is disjoint.

Put simply: Merely having a pecuniary interest in a result is not a
/prima facie/ justification for disenfranchisement.

        -Barry Shein

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