"Because of the vital role the Internet plays in driving innovation throughout the economy, the Department has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation while promoting an environment respectful of individual privacy expectations," Locke said. "In these difficult economic times, nothing is more important to American prosperity than jumpstarting our engine of innovation."
Through a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) published in the Federal Register, the Commerce Department is seeking public comment from all Internet stakeholders – commercial, academic and civil society sectors and citizens – on the impact of current privacy laws in the United States and around the world on the pace of innovation in the information economy. The Department seeks to understand whether current privacy laws serve consumer interests and fundamental democratic values.
The Internet Policy Task Force is exploring current privacy frameworks, and ways to address the challenges of the new Internet economy and society in a manner that preserves and enhances personal privacy protection.
The Task Force is comprised of staff members from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the International Trade Administration (ITA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and will be coordinated through the Commerce Department's Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, which reports to the Secretary.
In addition to privacy and innovation, the Internet Policy Task Force will examine cyber security, online copyright protection and international barriers to moving data around the globe, and the ability of entrepreneurs, and small- and medium-sized businesses to expand their operations via the Internet.
A copy of the NOI is available HERE.