The EUROPEAN GROUP ON ETHICS IN SCIENCE AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES delivered a report for the European Commission.
ETHICS OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES
Reference: Request from President Barroso
Rapporteurs: Julian Kinderlerer, Peter Dabrock, Hille Haker, Herman Nys;
Most parts of the report are completely off-topic. This is what the theologists have to say about interoperability:
2.2.5 Interoperability and Standards
Interoperability is the ability of computers or digital systems to exchange and use information with one another.96 If, for example, rival telephone networks used completely different protocols it would not necessarily be possible to connect to others on a different network. “Interoperability means working together – collaboration of systems, services and people. When people work together, they need to communicate and make agreements. They need to agree on the tasks they will perform and how they will exchange results. If their nationality is different, they also need to agree on the language in which they will communicate. Moreover, they need to overcome cultural and legal differences.”97 The European Commission recently announced the adoption of the European Interoperability Framework, which has been closely monitored by big ICT firms and public administrations to find out what kind of software licences they should have.98
96 Lack of interoperability of Microsoft software and servers, for instance, was at the centre of an antitrust case brought by former EU Commissioner Mario Monti in 2004 when he was head of the Commission’s competition department. Last June the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into IBM’s mainframe business after two smaller companies complained that they could not use the company’s operating system without buying costly IBM hardware. .
98 — Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) or royalty-free. Commission initiatives in the area stem from a 2009 White Paper ‘Modernising ICT Standardisation in the EU — The Way Forward’. The European Parliament has also published a non-legislative report on the future of European standardisation.
I wonder what marks their students would get for delivering an off-topic paper?