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independent standards - a matter of life and death?

I was interested in this article in the New Scientist [1] on how tobacco
companies appear to have rigged the ISO so that they could change the
way the nicotine content of their cigarettes was measured in order to
comply withy health legislation without changing the product itself.

"Rather than alter cigarettes to meet 1990 European Union
limits on tar and nicotine, makers changed how they measure
these substances, say Stella Bialous and Derek Yach of the
World Health Organization. They say the companies were able
to do this because they effectively control the tobacco
committee of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO), which sets such tests."

Is this relevant to the software industry? Not obviously, I admit. But
it seems at least theoretically possible to imagine cases where having a
standard organisation that favoured the interest of suppliers rather
than consumers might cause problems, for instance requiring the
licencing of IP or churning to force frequent upgrades.



[1] http://www.newscientist.com/dailynews/news.jsp?id=ns9999846