[tz] Politics of TZ changes

Arthur David Olson arthurdavidolson at gmail.com
Sun May 18 14:35:03 UTC 2014

Fact finding is part of encouraging governments to do the right thing about
changing daylight saving.

This week Paul Eggert noted how changes propagated to a system within a day
of being released. That's the best case. What's the worst case?

And: what's best practice? The most recent change to US DST was the Energy
Policy Act of 2005; it was signed into law on 2005-08-08; the first change
resulting from the law was 2007-03-11, meaning there was more than 18
months of advance notice. Has there been a longer lead time? Has any
government gotten closer to a zero lead time than Egypt?


On Tue, May 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM, Matt Johnson <mj1856 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> The recent changes in Egypt have me thinking.  How is it that there isn't
> some sort of international treaty, law, or agreement about how much notice
> a government needs to give when making time zone changes?
> I know almost nothing about international law, but aren't there
> organizations that coordinate things like trade and commerce that would
> have something to say about this?  It's seems strange to me that we can all
> agree to let the ITU coordinate UTC while time zones don't seem to be
> coordinated by any official legal body.
> Of course, it makes sense that each government should retain its sovereign
> right to set its time zones as it pleases - but surely something could be
> done about the process as to which it enacts those changes?   I think we
> can all agree that having a spokesperson give vague details in a media
> article a week beforehand is not the right way to do things.
> It's also concerning that people tend to set deadlines based on the date
> of the change.  Not only should time be allowed for the change to be
> incorporated into the data and distributed to systems, but also people
> should think about all of the ways that future activities are scheduled
> based on current knowledge of the tz rules.
> For example, say you have a weekly scheduled conference call between Egypt
> and somewhere else in the world.  At the moment the Egyptian government
> announced the change, some of your meeting times became inaccurate.  With
> the change sent out today (2 days before the change), it's not very likely
> you would receive this update in time to adjust your meeting time.  But
> even if you did get the update, it's quite likely that you would have to
> reschedule due to conflict with another appointment.
> For some, this might be an inconvenience.  But for others, it could make
> or break a deal.  Cumulatively this could have an economic impact, so one
> would think it would be in a countries own best interest to give sufficient
> notice.
> Perhaps if there were a set of rules, they might be unenforceable and some
> cases would still slip through the cracks.  But at least if there were
> guidelines defined by some sort of official international governance - we
> might have a fighting chance.
> Please share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.  What would these
> rules/guidelines look like?  Who might we lobby to enact such a thing?
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