U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the official launch of an initiative aimed at preserving the global, free flow of information online to ensure that the Internet remains open for commercial opportunity and innovation. Locke announced the effort during remarks at the 5th annual Online Trust and Cybersecurity Forum hosted by The Online Trust Alliance at Georgetown University.
The Commerce Department will publish a Notice of Inquiry (NOI), developed by its Internet Policy Task Force, which will seek public comment on the extent to which evolving policies from governments around the world may be restricting information on the Internet and inhibiting innovation and economic growth for U.S. companies. The NOI will seek input from all stakeholders to better understand the types of emerging government policies that restrict online information, how they are adopted, and what impact they have on innovation, job creation, economic development, global trade and investment.
Preserving the global, free flow of information online supports the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports in five years in support of several million American jobs. One of the goals of the NEI is an increased effort to remove barriers that prevent U.S. companies from getting free and fair access to foreign markets. To this end, the department aims to ensure that the Internet remains a global platform for vigorous trade and innovation.
Today’s announcement and the forthcoming NOI represent one of many issue areas being tackled by the department’s Internet Policy Task Force, which Locke launched in April. 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 is coordinated through Commerce’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, which reports to the secretary.