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Subject: Re: [emergency] NOAA Undermining International Standards?

Thanks for the heads up, Art,

Can you provide the specific parts of CAP that are not being 
implemented? If we are to successfully influence this situation in a 
way that can ameliorate or alleviate the problem, we need to know 

My general approach in circumstances like this is to find those with 
the most practical clout who are willing to listen to sanity, and 
give them the kind of ammunition they need to apply the right 

That would be a clear example of how the real world consequences of 
some policy such as this will have obvious harmful affects which can 
be clearly linked back to the decision makers in question. If it 
looks like they could be on the receiving end of the responsibility 
for a calamity, the chances are they will buck whatever corporate or 
political pressures being brought to bear on them.

However, it is also useful to craft a few arrows for use on those 
corporate or political pressure groups just to give our champions 
more ammunition.

At the same time, it is necessary to be able to get press focused on 
the probable calamity-result in such a way that the pressure groups 
understand that they will also be held responsible.

In a sense, the aftermath of Katrina with the start of this year's 
hurricane season, the lingering aftereffect of the Tsunamis, 
especially with the recent Indonesian Earthquake puncutated by the 
volcanic rumblings or Mount Merabi and the impending Avian Flu 
Pandemic, which is showing the first signs of manifesting human to 
human transmissibility are all our friends, sad to say. But we have 
to make use of the public awareness of these disasters, both in spite 
of and because of disaster fatigue since we are all quite ready to 
lynch whoever rubs our collective nose in further negligence in the 
face of such non-stop disasters.


At 9:33 PM -0700 5/31/06, Art Botterell wrote:
>Friends -
>As you may be aware, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
>Administration (NOAA), in a bid to expand its role in national 
>public warning, is representing its new "HazCollect" all-hazard 
>warning program as using the OASIS Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) 
>Regrettably, what NOAA is proposing to roll out nationwide in the 
>next few months is a crippled and incomplete version of the CAP data 
>If NOAA was a warning system provider like any other, that might be 
>a minor and ultimately self-correcting glitch.  But what NOAA is 
>about to unwrap is nothing less than a national backbone network for 
>public warnings of all kinds.  The sheer size and scope of the NOAA 
>effort means there'll be strong pressure on other warning technology 
>providers to conform to the NOAA-variant specification.  That will 
>leave firms and agencies in the U.S. and abroad that already have 
>implemented CAP per the international specification at a severe 
>Despite numerous requests over the past six months, and spurning 
>offers of technical assistance and even of funds from local 
>governments to bring HazCollect into full CAP compliance, the NOAA 
>officials in charge of HazCollect have stubbornly declined to have 
>their contractor, the Battelle Memorial Foundation, make the 
>relatively minor--by their own admission--adjustments required for 
>full CAP compliance.
>Regrettably, we can no longer ignore the possibility that NOAA is 
>trying deliberately to drive a wedge between implementers and the 
>international standards process.  One reason might be that the 
>restrictions NOAA is trying to impose on CAP serve to mask serious 
>and long-standing shortcomings in existing warning systems, 
>including ones operated by NOAA.
>But we don't need to speculate about motives to see that we are at a 
>crossroads for the adoption of open standards by the U.S. 
>Government.  If federal agencies start to rewrite science-based 
>consensus standards by dint of raw administrative muscle, that will 
>leave the technology market at the mercy of unrestrained 
>bureaucracy.  It will inflict huge costs on industry and the public 
>and be an enormous setback for international humanitarian relief and 
>the global war on terror.
>It's too bad that quiet diplomacy was unable to resolve this before 
>it became public.  However, with the national deployment of 
>HazCollect's "initial operating capacity" just weeks away, it's time 
>for the standards community to take a stand for standards compliance 
>and transparency.
>Therefore, speaking as the original architect and editor of the 
>Common Alerting Protocol, I'm calling on the OASIS Emergency 
>Management Technical Committee and its members to demand that 
>HazCollect not be declared operational until its CAP implementation 
>is complete and fully compliant with the published specifications.
>Our integrity is being tested now.  Either we stand up for open, 
>non-proprietary standards or we stand by as our work becomes a 
>stalking-horse for narrow institutional interests.  I'm confident 
>that the agencies, organizations and individuals who've invested so 
>much hard work in standards development over the last few years 
>won't let that work be distorted or dismissed.
>- Art
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Rex Brooks
President, CEO
Starbourne Communications Design
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison
Berkeley, CA 94702
Tel: 510-849-2309

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