Big Tech companies have profited greatly from dominant market positions while riding largely for free over the top of fixed and mobile telecom networks and devices. The entire Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) ecosystem is enabled by a variety of interoperability technologies including 5G cellular, WiFi and HEVC/H.265 video compression that are openly available in published standards and embedded in components and end-products. How much, if anything, should beneficiaries pay for the capabilities upon which their standard-based implementations are built?
Thursday 28 September 2023
Saturday 23 September 2023
In May of 2023, the White House published a document titled, “United States Government National Standards Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies.” The Executive Summary states:
Strength in standards development has been instrumental to the United States’ global technological leadership. Standards development underpins economic prosperity across the country and fortifies U.S. leadership in the industries of the future at the same time. Bolstering U.S. engagement in standards for critical and emerging technology (CET) spaces will strengthen U.S. economic and national security. The U.S. Government has long engaged in these standards development processes through an approach built on transparency, private sector and public sector leadership, and stakeholder engagement—a process that reflects the United States’ commitment to free and fair market competition in which the best technologies come to market. Government support for scientific research and development (R&D), an open investment climate, and the rule of law have also been critical for U.S. standards leadership. America’s workers, economy, and society have benefited significantly as a result, as have those of like-minded nations alongside which the United States has collaborated to forge technological progress.
Today, however, the United States faces challenges to its longstanding standards leadership, and to the core principles of international standard-setting that, together with like-minded partners, we have upheld for decades. Strategic competitors are actively seeking to influence international standards development, particularly for CET, to advance their military-industrial policies and autocratic objectives, including blocking the free flow of information and slowing innovation in other countries, by tilting what should be a neutral playing field to their own advantage.
The United States must renew our commitment to the rules-based and private sector-led approach to standards development, and complement the innovative power of the private sector with strategic government and economic policies, public engagements, and investments in CET. By supporting our unrivaled innovation ecosystem and related international standards development as part of a modern industrial strategy, we can ensure that CET are developed and deployed in ways that benefit not only the United States but all who seek to promote and advance technological progress. Strengthening the U.S. approach to standards development will lead to standards that are technologically sound, earn people’s trust, reflect our values, and help U.S. industry compete on a level playing field.
This strategy outlines how the U.S. Government will strengthen U.S. leadership and competitiveness in international standards development, and ensure that the “rules of the road” for CET standards embrace transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, coherence, and broad participation.
Professors Amanda Parsons and Salome Viljoen have published a draft on SSRN titled, “Valuing Social Data.” The draft is excellent, provides numerous insights and includes a very nice literature review.
Here is the abstract:
Social data production is a unique form of value creation
that characterizes informational capitalism. Social data production also
presents critical challenges for the various legal regimes that are
encountering it. This Article provides legal scholars and policymakers with the
tools to comprehend this new form of value creation through two descriptive
contributions. First, it presents a theoretical account of social data, a mode
of production which is cultivated and exploited for two distinct (albeit related)
forms of value: prediction value and exchange value. Second, it creates and
defends a taxonomy of three “scripts” that companies follow to build up and
leverage prediction value and describes the normative and legal ramifications
of these scripts.
The Article then applies these descriptive contributions to demonstrate how legal regimes are failing to effectively regulate social data value creation. Through the examples of tax law and data privacy law, it demonstrates these struggles in both legal regimes that have historically regulated value creation, like tax law, and legal regimes that have been newly tasked with regulating value creation by informational capitalism, like privacy and data protection law.
The Article argues that separately analyzing data’s prediction value and its exchange value may be helpful to understanding the challenges the law faces in governing social data production and the political economy surrounding such production. This improved understanding will equip legal scholars to better confront the harms of law’s failures in the face of informational capitalism, reduce legal arbitrage by powerful actors, and facilitate opportunities to maximize the beneficial potential of social data value.