Government seeks input on managing the Internet

By Steven Overly
Monday, August 9, 2010

The Commerce Department is seeking input from the private sector on government policy for managing the Internet, as it seeks to update its approach for the first time in a decade.

The department's Internet Policy Task Force has filed two of four inquiries with the Federal Register that seek the advice of industry officials, academics and others impacted by online commerce. The initial filings on data privacy and cybersecurity will soon be followed by inquiries about online copyright protection and international digital trade.

Marc Berejka, the department's senior adviser for technology policy, said the department has not significantly updated its policies since the initial Framework for Global Economic Commerce was released in July 1997, when the full potential of the Internet had yet to be realized.

"We also recognize that you can no longer maintain the assertion that the Internet is nascent," he said. "There are ... trillions and trillions of dollars that traverse the Internet on a daily basis, so the Internet has grown up," he said.

Thoughts about how the government should partner with companies varied greatly at a symposium on cybersecurity late last month. Many from the corporate world balked at the idea of regulation, saying rules can't keep pace with technology. Others suggested education efforts and incentives to create better software.

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