Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,
On March 15,
Boing Boing kindly allowed me to use this
august forum to serve notice on 7 government officials and 10 of the CEOs of the $1-billion/year industry of
standards people. The issue was privately-developed public safety standards that were incorporated into U.S. law, but
only available by paying big bucks. We asked the government and the standards people to send us their comments by
May 1 as to why the law shouldn't be available for all to read.
There have been no such comments received, so today
we're making available for public inspection 317 legally-mandated
documents, most of why have been previously unavailable on the net. To properly document
this open source release, Tim O'Reilly, Jennifer Pahlka, and the 2012 Code for America fellows joined me in an Internet
Although Public.Resource.Org received no comments from the standards people, this doesn't mean they haven't
circled the wagons. Tuesday [today], the Department of Commerce
is hosting the CEOs of the biggest standards
bodies in a big standards summit. We asked to participate as did a number of other public interest groups, but we didn't make
Although all these Standards Development Organizations are non-profits, they do quite well for themselves.
In fact, the 5 nonprofit CEOs attending this meeting (which is conveniently not webcast and isn't taking questions or comments
from the net), the average salary is $633,061. The standards people claim they need the money, but I don't think they need
nearly as much as they're making and, in any case, you can't have a democracy if the citizens don't know what the law is.
I hope everybody can take a few minutes to look at these standards and make your voice known here on Boing Boing or directly
to your government. (This isn't just a U.S. issue, by the way, and we're now preparing a release of public safety standards
for other countries.)
If you're interested in other links, you might consider:
* One Man's Quest to Make Information Free (Bloomberg Business)
* Making Laws More Public (On the Media)
* Why building codes should be open
Free archive of for-pay laws
There are three more stops on my tour for Walkaway: tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con, next weekend at Defcon 25 in Las Vegas, and August 10th at the Burbank Public Library.
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