Stephen Maurer and Sebastian von Engelhardt write for Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June, 2013
Private standards don’t have the power of government behind them—they can’t send offenders to prison—but they can threaten something that businesses fear almost as much: bankruptcy. And these new private standards can usually be implemented faster than government regulations. Better still, they ignore national borders.
Stephen Maurer writes letter to The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2012
Synthetic biologists have pursued various initiatives to make their field safer since the anthrax letters of 2001. By far the most important involves the commercial “gene synthesis” companies whose artificial DNA makes synthetic biology possible in the first place. In 2009, the European trade group International Association-Synthetic Biology announced a strong antiterrorism standard that requires human experts to examine incoming customer orders for biological weapons threats. Like most industry standards, the proposal was contentious.
Nature News, October 18, 2010 by Heidi Ledford
Stephen Maurer … adds that the guidelines call for an initial automated screen of sequences by computer, a less stringent survey than getting employees to analyse each order as it comes in, as many companies already do. “You have a strange situation in which the US government is urging a lower security standard on the world,” he says.
Nature News, December 4, 2009 by Meredith Wadman
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091204/full/news.2009.1117.html (requires registration; go to G:\Law School in the News\News Clips for article)
“The great danger of the guidelines is that they will give political cover to people who have in the past wanted to get by with much less onerous screening,” he says. “I hope that is no longer true.”
Nature News, November 4, 2009 by Corie Lok
“The next thing we will do is to reach out to everyone in the industry with this standard and invite them to join it,” says Stephen Maurer, a lawyer and expert in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, who helped to formulate the code. “And in the nature of standards wars, if enough people do that, the war will be over.”
Nature, September 2009 by Erika Check Hayden
“If you have a company that persists with a lower standard, you can drag the industry down to a lower level,” says lawyer Stephen Maurer of the University of California, Berkeley, who is studying how the industry is developing responsible practices. “Now we have a standards war that is a race to the bottom.”
Nature News, February 4, 2009 by Erika Check Hayden
“There is an instinct in the community that if you think you’re talking about an experiment of concern, you should ask someone — but biosecurity people are scarce on the average campus,” he says. The portal is designed to be a help, rather than a burden, in these situations. “People have enough layers of paperwork in their lives,” says Maurer. “The idea is to make this as painless as possible.”