Oksala expressed concern about the fact that the chaos of the current processes might cause the government to step in. Spring and Weiss suggest that there is good reason for the government to take a more active role when there is a strong indication that a needed standard will be underprovided based on economic motivations. At an obvious level, government standards and regulations that govern worker safety and and environmental protection fall into this category. More pertinent to the information technology environment, Spring and Weiss suggest that standards such as reference models will be underprovided by industry because the return on investment is small and long term. Regarding technical standards development by the government, Rutkowski observed:
... during the many years I was at the FCC, we wrestled with these questions at length, and always came out with a minimalist, hands-off approach. Indeed, the spec for the RJ-11 connector interface to the telephone network is the only real telecom (as opposed to radio) standard in the entire set of FCC Regulations. And even that single standard was written solely to effect immediate competition in telephone terminal equipment. It was a wise policy then. It is wise policy now.
Rutkowski holds that all of the trends are toward less government involvement. Rather than viewing the current competition to develop standards as a problem from the government point of view, Rutkowski sees that the government has ``encouraged a scenario of multiple standards processes competing in an open marketplace. That direction has been highly beneficial to just about everyone, and it's difficult to conceive of a collapse back into the darkness of government controlled processes.''
Oksala expresses a concern that the current difficulties faced in IT standardization might ``give someone the bright idea that government needs to fix the standards problem.'' This could lead to establishment of a government-based replacement for ANSI, with the power to endorse standards and develop US positions for formal international agreements. In his view, this would be the wrong approach. There should be a limited role for government from the corporate point of view.