major regime for controlling COTS hardware products under such circumstances? It seems like locking doors in a building when the walls are falling down.
Export control is but one example of a major technology issue that has been dramatically affected by the global diffusion of computing and the attendant expansion of stakeholders. The spread of global networking in various forms is creating or greatly exacerbating a number of issues that are attracting, or will attract, further attention. For example, many things from American political correctness to law enforcement practices to intellectual property rights to Islamic religious tenets may be seen as local sensitivities that are increasingly to be battered in a global multimedia free-for-all. Many forms of conflict, both civil and military, are finding fertile international or transnational breeding grounds in the IT-based media.
Many will not like the redistribution of—or compromise of, or assault on—moral or legal sensitivities, jobs, markets, wealth, influence, military power, and governmental authority via the international use of IT. Many of these will be influential stakeholders who will seek help in various ways from their governments or international organizations. There are notable cases in which this has already happened. IT may also enable them, as well as those they oppose, to band together to seek help or assert influence independent of their governments.
CSTB studies, and those of the National Research Council more generally, essentially have tried to bring science- and technology-related trends and issues to the attention of interested constituencies, and the attendant analyses have tried to inform or guide choices for policy formulation. To a large extent, the latter is a matter of balancing or choosing between value conflicts among these constituencies. The primary funders, and the principal targets as consumers of these studies, have been parts of the U.S. government.
The activity levels and pressures on national policymakers in these matters are likely to increase, as will some frustration levels. It appears possible that the relative power of national governments in these matters will diminish, but certainly not disappear, and that governments will have to contend with and work with other players as never before. The activity and frustration levels of advisers to governments, such as the CSTB, may also increase substantially.
The main purpose of this short presentation has been to draw attention to the greater internationalization of both the issues and the affected stakeholders that is accompanying the global diffusion of IT. This is not a short-term or transient phenomenon; it is going to be forever.