Standards rely heavily on the network effect, which is the idea that the effectiveness of a

600 WordsApr 23, 20193 Pages
Standards rely heavily on the network effect, which is the idea that the effectiveness of a standard is based on the number of people who use it. As a result, standards that are complicated to implement, especially ones dealing with technology, are heavily dependent on incentives in order to get a sufficient amount of people to use it. Looking at PICS and PCI DSS, two Internet standards, where one succeeded and the other failed, we can see what makes standards effective online. Platform for Internet Control Selection (PICS) was an Internet standard formed by W3C in 1996 to allow parents to filter content, primarily nudity. It was completely voluntary and up to the website owners themselves to label their own site. This is because the…show more content…
Payment card industries must follow step-by-step instructions in order to have transactions accepted. So why do these demanding standards work? As Larry Lessig mentions in Code is Law, there are four areas that influence policy: law, economy, architecture, and social norms. Working on a sole standard together for security benefits everyone and is thus economical because the cost of losing customer data is enormous. On the other hand, competition for filtering software can at worst lead some to filter less porn than others. After the Communications Decency Act, which tried to limit obscenity and indecency on the web, was ruled unconstitutional, it removed all legal ramifications for not using PICS software. There is no reason to limit information. On the flip side ignoring PCI could land a company in court for negligence. A strong and commonly used standard works well as a legal benchmark for liability in protecting data. The burden on the user also differs. Individuals are not expected to make sure their cards are PCI certified; the vetting process is done at a higher level and simply offers the user a binary choice of using a protected card or not. PICS not only requires owners to rate their sites, but also requires each user to choose what they find acceptable or not, placing much more burden on the individual. Based on comparing where PCI succeeded and PICS failed, it appears that the core motivator is the law. The consequences of disobeying PCI
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