Week in Standards – Week 15, 2011

This week passed was a quite surprising week in standards with a proposed scale down of the budgets for data.gov and other sites, yet another cloud standards body launched, plus other interesting views and news from the world of standards. Please feel free to leave any comments/suggestions in the comment section below.

WEB STANDARDS

‎• The Story Behind W3C Adopting HTML5

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), the body which looks after web standards was at a time far behind XHTML 2.0 as they wanted the web to be standardized and be more stricter as well. But what browser vendors observed was that no one was doing XHTML properly, and very few people were doing XHTML development. Furthermore, the few that were doing it weren’t doing it properly. So, the standard had no relevance when no one did it properly.

‎• W3C Issues Report on Web and Television Convergence

Today, W3C publishes a report that summarizes the discussion among the 77 organizations that participated, including broadcasters, telecom companies, cable operators, OTT (over the top) companies, content providers, device vendors, software vendors, Web application providers, researchers, governments, and standardization organizations active in the TV space.

‎• Data.gov in crisis: the open data movement is bigger than just one

In the next few months, Data.gov, along with a number of other data-related sites of the government such as USAspending.gov and Apps.gov, are slated to be shut down due to budget cuts. The current annual budget of $37 million will be reduced to $2 million.

‎• WoodWing releases Open Format for Interactive Publications (ofip)

Zaandam, The Netherlands – WoodWing Software, a leading supplier of cross-media publishing solutions and an innovation leader in the tablet publishing market, announced today that the data format used in its Tablet Publishing Solution is now available as an open format, free of charge.

‎• Multi-stakeholder model likely for internet regulation: Berners-Lee

A multi-stakeholder model, involving organisations like the United Nations, appears to be the likely solution to increasing calls for regulating the internet, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, said in Hyderabad.

”At the moment a lot of discussion is going on whether international governance should be done through different countries or if it should be done independently,” Berners-Lee told journalists at the 20th International World Wide Web conference. ”I think probably we will end up with a multi-stakeholder system where some of it comes from organisations like United Nations and foundations.”

MOBILE STANDARDS

‎• OMB Official: Mobile Tech Security Standards are Certain

A White House official who oversees government use of mobile technologies says the technology is “not secure,” and standards are being developed that will increase security.

Janice Nall, e-gov portfolio manager for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was speaking at the 2011 Government Web and New Media Conference in Washington, D.C. when she said, mobile technologies have “not kept up with the wired industry in terms of security” and “are about ten years behind.”

‎• Reality Check: Standing up for standards

The terrible human tragedy arising from the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan could have been even worse if it were not for a little known telecoms standard. In Japan, mobile operators NTT DoCoMo Inc. and SoftBank used a warning system, based on the Cell Broadcast Service (CBS) standard, to provide many of their subscribers with a valuable few seconds of notice of the impending earthquake and then the resulting tsunami.

In the event of a strong earthquake, the warning system is triggered by seismological readings detecting fast-moving p-waves generated by the earth tremor, which occur prior to the impact of slower-moving, but far stronger, s-waves. Using CBS technology, the system sends out a text message to everyone with a compatible handset, giving them a few seconds notice in which to try to find some kind of shelter. Ahead of the subsequent tsunami an alert was also broadcast to all compatible phones in coastal regions to give people a chance to either leave the area or move to higher ground.

‎• FCC proposes rules for cell phones signal boosters

In addition to mandating that carriers allow data roaming, the Federal Communications Commission used its regular meeting this week to propose tighter regulations for cell phone signal boosters.

‎• Govt plans energy efficiency labels for mobile phone chargers

(India): “We are working on introducing star (energy) labelling system for mobile phone chargers. It will be voluntary (for the makers of chargers) in the beginning and later, we plan to make it mandatory,” a senior Power Ministry official said.

‎• NFC Gets Google Endorsement, Looks to Disrupt

Google announced yesterday that it has joined the NFC Forum, an organization committed to tackling standards and technological hurdles associated with near field communications (NFC).

The announcement comes just weeks after CTIA Wireless highlighted the technology, with experts saying that contactless mobile-based payments and transactions are on the brink of becoming a reality in 2011. Already most major OEMs have announced plans to begin embedding NFC-capable chips in their mobile phones.

CLOUD STANDARDS

‎• IBM paints the cloud-scape blue

IBM has backed the creation of a standards body that comprises 40 “leading cloud organisations” but none of its main rivals in the battle to dominate the next big thing in computing.

‎• IEEE Targets Cloud Interoperability Standards

The venerable IEEE is wading into the chaotic and roiled realm of cloud computing, seeking to set standards through a cloud computing initiative launched Monday that will focus on cloud interoperability.

‎• Using Social Media to Drive Sales, Marketing and Customer Service

The P2301 working group will provide a portability roadmap for cloud vendors, service providers, and their customers. Its work will result in a standard that will allow users to know they are buying resources and services that meet standardized definitions and measures, with the means to move them from cloud to cloud, Diamond said.

‎• Air transport industry launches first ‘community’ cloud

SITA, the air transport IT specialist, has announced plans to launch a community cloud designed specifically for the air transport industry, in an effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies.

‎• Huawei Joins DMTF Board of Directors

Distributed Management Task Force, Inc. (DMTF), the organization bringing the IT industry together to collaborate on systems management standards development, validation, promotion and adoption, today announced that Huawei, a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions around the world, has been elected to the DMTF Board of Directors. The addition of this international company solidifies DMTF’s expanding global presence in the IT industry. Huawei joins AMD, Broadcom, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix Systems Inc., EMC, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and VMware to continue DMTF’s momentum in driving IT management standards and initiatives.

‎• The Cloud and Cybersecurity

As part of federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s 25-point plan to reform federal IT management announced last December, federal agencies must adopt a “cloud-first” policy that requires them to move three applications to the “cloud” over the next 12 to 18 months. Agencies must identify the three “must move” services within three months, move one of those services to the cloud within 12 months and the remaining two within 10 months.

PRIVACY STANDARDS

‎• Ed. Dept. Proposes New Student Data Privacy Rules

In its effort to clarify student data privacy rules for researchers and education officials alike, the U.S. Department of Education proposed several changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, on Thursday and named its first chief privacy officer.

‎• Justice Department Opposes Changes To Electronic Privacy Law

Privacy protections “must advance with technology” or privacy will “gradually erode as technology advances.” So said the Senate Judiciary Committee — in 1986, the year that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was passed.

‎• Business calls for harmonised rules on data protection

One of the main calls from businesses has been for simplified, harmonised rules. But the current law governing the area is a directive as opposed to a regulation. This means member states can interpret how it should be implemented, leading to a patchwork of standards across the bloc. The data protection authority in Germany considers IP addresses to be personal data, for example. This is not the case elsewhere.

‎• Smartphone Apps Under Fire

New Jersey prosecutors are examining whether or not some smartphone apps violate user privacy standards. Such apps may go head-to-head with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by failing to disclose information regarding asking users to submit personal information. Information collected could be revealed to third party advertisers.

‎• Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission for the …

The RFID Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Framework sets an example for industry in Europe and in the world by taking legitimate privacy concerns of people seriously and proactively addressing them. It effectively creates a win-win situation for business and consumers, as well as a pragmatic way to ensure safeguards for privacy. More specifically, it provides its future users with a comprehensive description of what should be done to deliver RFID applications that are compliant with the EU data protection Directive of 1995 and the ePrivacy Directive of 2002.

‎• California Lawmaker Touts Do-not-track Bill

State Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Long Beach Democrat, and Consumer Watchdog, a privacy group that supports the bill, detailed the bill in a press conference Monday. Lowenthal originally introduced a placeholder bill in February, then amended the bill on March 24 to include the new do-not-track language.

“Nearly 80 percent of Californians use the Internet and nearly 45% use Facebook — including myself,” Lowenthal said in a statement, “But today millions of Californians are unaware that their online behavior is being tracked; their data collected and sold to advertisers.”

Lowenthal’s legislation, designated as a computer spyware bill, would direct the California attorney general to adopt regulations requiring Web companies that collect personal data to allow users to opt out of data collection and online tracking.

The regulations would also require Web companies doing business in California to inform users of their collection and tracking efforts, and it would allow civil lawsuits against companies that fail to comply with the regulations.

‎• IPTC Releases rNews Standard Draft for Embedding Metadata in …

Publishers large and small struggle to make sure that search engines and social media sites find their stories and refer to them appropriately. They want to provide highly targeted adverts while dealing with users who are opposed to the privacy implication of sharing the personal data necessary to accomplish that. How can they build web pages with news stories where the components of the story are machine-readable, as well as human readable?

The IPTC has taken a step to solving this problem with the release of the first draft of the rNews standard. Details of rNews are available at http://dev.iptc.org/rNews.

SMART GRID STANDARDS

‎• Should we stop the smart grid to wait for standards?

It’s fashionable to criticize utilities for moving too slow. Is it possible they are actually moving too fast instead? Key smart grid standards are only now starting to take shape. Yet many projects — especially in the U.S. — are well underway using immature standards or none at all.

‎• Mapping the Move to ZigBee 2.0

Moving from the current wireless standard ZigBee to the next-generation ZigBee standard dubbed “Smart Energy Profile 2.0″ is going to be a very big deal for the utilities, smart meter makers and other technology providers involved. About three months from now, we’re going to know a lot more about how big of a deal it’s going to be.

‎• NIST seeks convergence of smart grid interface spec

NIST leads efforts to drive standards for smart grids by seeking convergence on separate efforts by EPRI and the USNAP Alliance on a modular interface spec for linking consumer devices to a smart grid.

‎• Electric cars likely to spark new ‘smart grid

WASHINGTON — Entire industries grew up around gasoline-powered cars, ranging from the ubiquitous filling stations to fast-food restaurants along highway exits. Similarly, the rise of electric cars probably will transform more than just the automobile.

‎• Electric car makers fight over plug standard

A tussle between different designs of plugs used in prototype electric cars has derailed an attempt to create a common European standard, highlighting industrial jealousy as the sector attempts to broach the mainstream.

The EU’s “focus group on electro-mobility” was set to adopt a standard type of plug for recharging European manufactured electric cars by 31 March, but an argument between rival designs scuppered

‎• Lack of Technical Standards Could Hinder Utilities’ Readiness for …

The second comeback of the electric vehicle (EV) in little more than a decade has a much greater likelihood of success, and many in the industry believe that it will have a transformative effect on driving habits as well as the automotive and electric power industries. To prepare for the arrival of EVs in neighborhoods across the country, utilities in the United States will need to design and implement a complex network of information technology (IT) systems to support data analytics, smart charging management, and customer information management. However, according to a recent report from Pike Research, many utilities could be unprepared to deal with the impact of EVs on the electrical grid, due to a lack of standards for sharing information between utilities and external systems.

‎• White House Releases Updated Energy R&D Strategy

Last week, President Obama delivered a major speech on energy policy at Georgetown University and announced the release of the White House’s new “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.”

In terms of promoting clean energy innovation through research and development (R&D), President Obama defended these investments in his speech by noting:

So a clean energy standard will help drive private investment in innovation. But I want to make this point: Government funding will still be critical. Over the past two years, the historic investments my administration has made in clean and renewable energy research and technology have helped private sector companies grow and hire hundreds of thousands of new workers.