Centre for Internet & Society

I attended this event held from October 26 to 30, 2015 in Jaipur.

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in collaboration with Data Security Council of India (DSCI) hosted the global standards’ meeting – ISO/IEC/ JTC 1/SC 27 Working Groups Meeting in Jaipur, Rajasthan at Hotel Marriott from 26th to 30th of October, 2015, followed by a half day conference on Friday, 30th October on the importance of Standards in the domain. The event witnessed experts from across the globe deliberating on forging international standards on Privacy, Security and Risk management in IoT, Cloud Computing and many other contemporary technologies, along with updating existing standards. Under SC 27, 5 working groups parallely held the meetings on varied Projects and Study periods respectively. The 5 Working Groups are as follows:

  1. WG1: Information Security Management Systems;
  2. WG 2 :Cryptography and Security Mechanisms;
  3. WG 3 : Security Evaluation, Testing and Specification;
  4. WG 4 : Security Controls and Services; and
  5. WG 5 :Identity Management and Privacy technologies; competence of security management

This key set of Working Groups (WG)met in India for the first time.  Professionals discussed and debated development of standards under each working group to develop international standards to address issues regarding security, identity management and privacy.

CIS had the opportunity to attend meetings under Working Group 5. This group further had parallel meetings on several topics namely:

  • Privacy enhancing data de-identification techniques ISO/IEC NWIP 20889 : Data de-identification techniques are important when it comes to PII to enable the exploitation of the benefits of data processing while maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements and the relevant ISO/IEC 29100 privacy principles. The selection, design, use and assessment of these techniques need to be performed appropriately in order to effectively address the risks of re-identification in a given context.  There is thus a need to classify known de-identification techniques using standardized terminology, and to describe their characteristics, including the underlying technologies, the applicability of each technique to reducing the risk of re-identification, and the usability of the de-identified data.  This is the main goal of this International Standard. Meetings were conducted to resolve comments sent by organisations across the world, review draft documents and agree on next steps.
  • A study period on Privacy Engineering framework : This session deliberated upon contributions, terms of reference and discuss the scope for the emerging field of privacy engineering framework. The session also reviewed important terms to be included in the standard and identify possible improvements to existing privacy impact assessment and management standards. It was identified that the goal of this standard is to integrate privacy into systems as part of the systems engineering process. Another concern raised was that the framework must be consistent with Privacy framework under ISO 29100 and HL7 Privacy and security standards.
  • A study period on user friendly online privacy notice and consent: The basic purpose of this New Work Item Proposal is to assess the viability of producing a guideline for PII Controllers on providing easy to understand notices and consent procedures to PII Principals within WG5. At the Meeting, a brief overview of the contributions received was given,along with assessment of  liaison to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35 and other entities. This International Standard gives guidelines for the content and the structure of online privacy notices as well as documents asking for consent to collect and process personally identifiable information (PII) from PII principals online and is applicable to all situations where a PII controller or any other entity processing PII informs PII principals in any online context.
  • Some of the other sessions under Working Group 5 were on Privacy Impact Assessment ISO/IEC 29134, Standardization in the area of Biometrics and Biometric information protection, Code of Practise for the protection of personally identifiable information, Study period on User friendly online privacy notice and consent, etc.

ISO/IEC/JTC 1/ SC27 is a joint technical committee of the international standards bodies – ISO and IEC on Information Technology security techniques which conducts regular meetings across the world. JTC 1 has over 2600 published standards developed under the broad umbrella of the committee and its 20 subcommittees. Draft International Standards adopted by the joint technical committees are circulated to the national bodies for voting. Publication as an International Standard requires approval by at least 75% of the national bodies casting a vote in favour of the same. In India, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is the National Standards Body. Standards are formulated keeping in view national priorities, industrial development, technical needs, export promotion, health, safety etc. and are harmonized with ISO/IEC standards (wherever they exist) to the extent possible, in order to facilitate adoption of ISO/IEC standards by all segments of industry and business.BIS has been actively participating in the  Technical Committee  work of ISO/IEC and is currently a Participating member in 417 and 74 Technical Committees/ Subcommittees and Observer member in 248 and 79 Technical Committees/Subcommittees of ISO and IEC respectively.  BIS  holds Secretarial responsibilities of 2 Technical Committees and 6 Subcommittees of ISO.

The last meeting was held in the month of May, 2015 in Malaysia, followed by this meeting in October, 2015 Jaipur. 51 countries play an active role as the ‘Participating Members, India being one, while a few countries as observing members. As a part of these sessions, the participating countries also have rights to vote in all official ballots related to standards. The representatives of the country work on the preparation and development of the International Standards and provide feedback to their national organizations.

There was an additional study group meeting on IoT to discuss comments on the previous drafts, suggest changes , review responses and identify standard gaps in SC 27.

On October 30, 2015  BIS-DSCI hosted a half day International conference on 30 October, 2015 on Cyber Security and Privacy Standards, comprising of keynotes and panel discussions, bringing together national and international experts to share experience and exchange views on cyber security techniques and protection of data and privacy in international standards, and their growing importance in their society.  The conference looked at various themes like the Role of standards in smart cities, Responding to the Challenges of Investigating Cyber Crimes through Standards, etc. It was emphasised that due to an increasing digital world, there is a universal agreement for the need of cyber security as the infrastructure is globally connected, the cyber threats are also distributed as they are not restricted by the geographical boundaries. Hence, the need for technical and policy solutions, along with standards was highlighted for future protection of the digital world which is now deeply embedded in life, businesses and the government. Standards will help in setting crucial infrastructure for in data security and build associated infrastructure on these lines.

The importance of standards was highlighted in context of smart cities wherein the need for standards was discussed by experts. Harmonization of regulations with standards must be looked at, by primarily creating standards which could be referred to by the regulators. Broadly, the challenges faced by smart cities are data security, privacy and digital resilience of the infrastructure. It was suggested that in the beginning, these areas must be looked at for development of standards in smart cities. Also, the ISO/IEC  has a Working Group and a Strategic Group focussing on Smart Cities. The risks of digitisation, network, identity management, etc. must be looked at to create the standards.

The next meeting has been scheduled for April 2016 in Tampa (USA).

This meeting was a good opportunity to interact with experts from various parts of the World and understand the working of ISO Meetings which are held twice/thrice every year. The Centre for Internet and Society will be continuing work and becoming involved in the standard setting process at the future Working group meetings.

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