The US Department of Commerce has announced that tech standard development is open to participation by U.S. companies. This new rule is designed to allow U.S. technology companies to influence the future of cutting edge technologies.
The Role of Standards in Technology
Standards are created to establish minimal criteria for functionality, interoperability, and safety. They also establish methods of test and evaluation to ensure those criteria are met by products. Because these standards effect the manner in which products are specified, it is important that U.S national security and foreign policy interests are represented in their formation.
Important Considerations for Future Standards
Because technology is controlling more and more critical functions, it is important that it functions safely and reliably. This is especially this case for technologies like autonomous vehicles, and medical devices. The ability of devices to not interfere with each other and coexist operationally is of increasing concern. Standards must be created and evolve to rapidly developing technologies and airways that are becoming busier with wireless communication.
The Importance of U.S. Involvement
Making tech standard development open to U.S. tech firms allows major technology developers to shape the industry based on expectations of future product capabilities. U.S. product standards are often accepted as a baseline for the creation of international standards.
Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation. This action recognizes the importance of harnessing American ingenuity to advance and protect our economic and national security. The Department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”
Reasons for Concern
Huawei, a Chinese technology company, has been at legal loggerheads with the United States. It has also been very active in the development of various international standards. This action is meant to ensure Huawei’s placement on the Entity List in May 2019 does not prevent American companies from contributing to standards that will shape the future of important technology.
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