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An intro in the world of ISO/TC 307

September 13, 2018
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My first foray into the ISO world came in the form of helping companies attain ISO 9001, Total Quality Management. This is the stamp of approval indicating that a company is following good practices and procedures usually in the manufacturing industry. I spent some time looking at the ISO 27000 series when I was a briefly a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISM) and then I learnt the entire NZ Electricity Act 1992 (the regs) and the AS/NZS 3000 for the electrical industry.

Having studied (not invested unfortunately) blockchains since 2014, when ISO/TC 307 blockchains and distributed ledger technology came out I jumped at the chance to get involved. I had been in contact with Standards NZ and contributed to New Zealand upgrading its status from an O member (Observing) to a P member (Participating).

It was very challenging at first because you indicate from a list of topics what interests you and your Standards body rep registers you to various groups. Then you get hammed with all sorts of emails and there is no one to help “onboard” or explain what all of this means.

In May 2018 there were 7 Study Groups (SG) and 3 Work Groups (WG).

  • ISO/TC 307/SG 1 Reference architecture, taxonomy and ontology
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 2 Use cases
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 3 Security and privacy
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 4 Identity
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 5 Smart contracts
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 6 Governance of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 7 Interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 1 Foundations
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 2 Security, privacy and identity
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 3 Smart contracts and their applications

I then learnt that SGs are created and disbanded as required and currently the list is

  • ISO/TC 307/CAG 1 Convenors coordination group
  • ISO/TC 307/JWG 4 Joint Working Group with ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 WG
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 2 Use cases
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 6 Governance of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems
  • ISO/TC 307/SG 7 Interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 1 Foundations
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 2 Security, privacy and identity
  • ISO/TC 307/WG 3 Smart contracts and their applications

I joined WG2 and WG3 after getting access to various systems and clicking random links I found enough courage to join my first call. My first meeting was WG3 – Work Stream 3 –  Supply Chain and Trade Facilitation Study on 19 July 2018 where the Convenor (think meeting chair) was Mark Ebeling. There were seven others on the call and I just listened in  end up introducing myself at the end. Everyone was welcoming, relaxed and the meeting was very well run.

After getting a roll on by attending several more WS3 meetings, decided to try my luck with SG7 -Interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems on 28 August 2018. The convenor was Eric Cohen and again I just introduced myself and listened and learned. What eventuated later was an email between Eric and I where he offered to give me a quick run down of ISO which I eagerly accepted.

  • I learnt about LiveLink which is essentially a portal for all documents, email communications, a forum, and even a list of members who are registered for a particular working group. (Yep, I found my name!)
  • I learnt about N-docs which are documents that get given a sequential numbering for ease of reference and can now delete all my numerous N-doc email notifications knowing where to find any them when I need to.
  • I learn that some countries have their own LiveLink portal which is an exact replica but uses a different URL. That explains the 10 redirects and SSO messages that appear when you jump from WG3 to WG2 for instance.
  • I learnt what the term plenary means.

The discussions, reports produced and all round brain power within these groups or committees is of a high caliber. There is a lot, and I mean a lot of reading and of course the potential for a lot of meetings depending on how many WG or SG you join.

What I’ve found is that it is a valuable skill chairing a meeting with a bunch of strangers and even more of a skill keeping discussions on track and resolving conflict when or if they arise.

Being involved in the crypto and blockchain industry has been the ride of a lifetime. I missed the dot com revolution while at studying at university but didn’t want to miss this one. It has given me a new lease of life where I’m constantly having to read every day and the natural output of reading is of course learning. I continue to refine my speaking skills when I try and break down complicated topics to an audience and share what I know. The knowledge is better out there than stuck in my head I say. Who knows, perhaps one day I may try my hand at being a convenor on some technical committee.

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