Technology Standards: A Route to Digital Colonization

By Dr. Jaijit Bhattacharya

The choice of ICT technology is critical for a modern nation as ICT permeates into all aspects of a modern society, from agriculture to education to health and industry. Therefore it is imperative to have an appropriate policy on the choice of ICT technologies.

This paper uses the terms ICT technology/ICT technologies and Technology/Technologies interchangeably, with the two terms having the same meaning in this document.

If we accept the definition of Colonization as extraction of economic benefit from an area of influence through manipulation of the rules of engagement through either force or Deceit, therefore, by definition, we observe a new kind of colonization happening through the manipulation of the standards adoption process by global standards organization.

We observe that globally nations and firms are trying to convert technologies on which they have an IPR into standards, thus forcing their monopoly on economies and thus extracting an unfair and undue economic benefit from manipulation of the global IPR and standards regimes.

Besides ensuring permeation of ICT technology within the society with no unfair benefits to those who control the technology, emerging economies such as India also have a large stake in ensuring appropriate leveraging of IPR-unencumbered ICT technology for the following:

  • Providing access to information

  • Using ICT for lowering cost of social infrastructure such as schools and healthcare

  • Stimulating geographic efficiencies and economic development

  • Ensuring access to public documents and information

  • Avoiding lock-in to specific vendor or proprietary solutions

  • Establishing their place on a global stage


The ICT technology standards help governments by being pivotal in stimulating innovation, creating value, effective procurement and reducing the regulatory burden. They also provide significant contribution to increasing trade, improving efficiencies and mitigating operational risk. The standards are developed through formal (e.g. ISO/CEN) or informal (e.g. consortia) frameworks and in all cases capture and disseminate best practiced

This article first appeared in Taylor & Francis Online –