ISO ISO baby – part 1

Posted on October 8, 2010. Filed under: All, Education, forensic | Tags: , , , , |

As I write this, it’s 8:50 a.m. on Friday in Berlin. I’ve been here since Sunday night attending a meeting of ISO/IEC JTC1 SC27 (that’s the Information Technology – Security Techniques sub-committee to anyone who isn’t fluent in standards committee numbers).

It’s my first time at an event of this type, though I’ve been to a few BSI meetings to discuss the work that’s going on within ISO that relates to “forensic” work. More on that in the next post.

What I’ve found fascinating this week, though, is the way language is being used. Within ISO the convention is to use english for all meetings and documents – but it isn’t quite the english that you or I know. It isn’t the Queen’s english, it isn’t American english, it isn’t even Euro-english – it’s something quite strange. It’s ISO english.

Words that we think we know the meaning of have to be defined and, much like Humpty Dumpty, when a drafting committee (the body responsible for defining a standard) uses a word, it means exactly what that committee wants it to mean, no more and no less.

As a result, ISO has had to produce a Concepts Database to manage the definitions. Try it – see if the words you thought you understood have the same meaning(s). You’ll find it at http://cdb.iso.org/ Don’t bother looking for “forensic”, by the way – it isn’t there.

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    This is the weblog of Angus M. Marshall, forensic scientist, author of Digital Forensics : digital evidence in criminal investigations and MD at n-gate ltd.

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