Is Openness at the heart of the EU Digital Agenda?

At OpenForum Europe Summit 2010, to be held in Brussels, Autoworld, 11 Parc du Cinquantenaire on Thursday 10 June 2010, a number of global speakers will discuss whether it indeed provides an open digital market as a catalyst for economic growth and if it will deliver a truly open e-government and digital citizenship (see Summit 2010).

In 2008, OpenForum Europe, a not-for-profit champion of openness through open standards, hosted one of the most cited speeches by Neelie Kroes, then Commissioner of Competition. Her forward-looking speech on openness and interoperability as a way to improve the competitiveness of ICT markets set the EU on a path to eradicate lock-in forever.

On the two-year anniversary of that event, Vice President Kroes, now the first-ever Commissioner of the Digital Agenda, is set to outline her plans for delivering on that vision. Much excitement surrounds open standards, given that Kroes is a staunch believer. The EU's Digital Agenda promises IT standardization reform in Europe and vows to recognize global standards development organizations (fora/consortia) by 2010. However, she avoided the term "open standards" in her new strategy. Markets are, of course, asking why she is keeping her cards tight on this crucial issue.

Following her speech, Professor Yochai Benkler, award-winning author of "The Wealth of Networks", and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, appointed by the UK Government to work alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee to help transform public access to UK Government information join dozens of speakers in the quest to analyse, entertain and challenge European IT policy, people, and documents.

Speakers at OFE Summit 2010 include David Drummond, Senior VP Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, Google; Michael Karasick, VP Technology and Strategy, IBM; Don Deutsch, Vice President, Standards Strategy and Architecture for Oracle Corp; Thomas Vinje, Partner Clifford Chance; Jerry Fishenden, Director, Centre for Policy Research, and Rishab Ghosh, head, collaborative creativity group, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht (see speakers).

Will openness stay at the heart of EU Digital Agenda? Only time will show.

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Trond Undheim, Ph.D, Director of Standards Strategy and Policy at the Oracle Corporation, speaker, entrepreneur, blogger, and author, is one of the world’s leading experts on technology and society. LinkedIn profile

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