Microsoft proposes professional IT body with power to censure IT workers

Citing the high rate of failure in IT implementation projects, Microsoft’s National Technology Officer (UK) is suggesting the formation of a professional IT licensing body, which would have the power of censure and credential revocation for IT workers. Such an organization would be modelled after other professional licensing bodies such as the American Medical Association. 

The proposal raises real concerns for industry professionals around long enough to have comparative experience ouside the Microsoft bubble. Many see such a move as a thinly-veiled effort aimed at cementing Microsoft’s practices and protocols as the IT industry’s Hippocratic standard instead of a digital ‘Do No Harm’ sort of organization.

If you look at what you regard as the traditional professions â?? doctors, teachers, lawyers â?? their professional bodies can fire people, can investigate complaints, can impose penalties, and the ultimate sanction is to remove them from the profession, so you can’t practice any more,” Fishenden said. “It would be good, if we want to be respected as a profession, for there to be some method of ensuring the industry as a whole maintains professional standards, otherwise it just seems to be hollow words.â?
â?? Microsoft UK’s National Technology Officer Jerry Fishenden

Milton Friedman notes that licensure is widely used to restrict entry, particularly for occupations like medicine that have many individual practitioners dealing with a large number of individual customers (such as the American Medical Association).

There are a number of odd professions where licensure in specific locales is required: In Rhode Island, barbers, cosmetologists, arborists, massage therapists, landscape architects, and even chauffeurs are licensed.

The justification given by advocates for licensure (including lobbyists and Microsoft) is always to protect the consumer through professional, educational and/or ethical standards of practice; however, Friedman believes that the real motivation behind licensure is to forcibly limit the supply of specific kinds of labor in order to raise their wages at the consumer’s cost.

It is hard to regard altruistic concern for their customers as the primary motive behind their determined efforts to get legal power to decide who may be a plumber”
â??Milton Friedman in Free to Choose

No word on whether endemic bad security practices in Microsoft products would result in sanctions against the company or its IT professionals, or whether it would just result in higher prices for the services of the IT professional and increased cost of the Microsoft solutions they recommend.

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