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World Standards Day Message 14 October 2007
10/23/2007 3:03:25 PM

World Standards Day Message 14 October 2007

Standards and the Citizen: Contributing to Society

 

The Global Village brings a broad range of rights and obligations to its citizens. These include rights to safety, security, health and access to information. Obligations include protecting the environment and respecting the safety, property and privacy of others. Standards help citizens to exercise these rights and obligations. They do this, for example, by providing consumers with information and protection, by ensuring the quality and safety of products and services, by defining requirements or giving guidance related to the environment and other issues important to citizens including societal equity, health, security, information and communication, and fair trade.

A world without standards would soon grind to a halt. Transport and trade would seize up. The Internet would simply not function. Hundreds of thousands of systems dependent on information and communication technologies would falter or fail from government and banking to healthcare, air traffic control, emergency services, disaster relief and even international diplomacy. So many aspects of the modern world are heavily dependent on standards.

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of standards in our everyday lives. Consider the standards involved in reading this message. If you are sitting in front of a computer screen, hundreds of standards are at work running the computer, providing Internet access, and even defining the fonts and formatting of the text itself. If you are reading this message on paper, then the paper size probably conforms to a standard simplifying the printing and distribution processes. The power source for your computer or printer, the lighting, heating or air conditioning all, to some extent, rely on standards.

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