NTIA is also getting into the privacy discussions.
Itâ€™s part of the larger Internet Policy Task Force thatâ€™s underway here at Commerce where our agency — along with other agencies — is looking at a number of Internet policy issues. Privacy is first and foremost on the list, but weâ€™re also looking at the protection of intellectual property, cybersecurity, and weâ€™ll be looking at the free flow of information. For Commerce, our theme links all these topics around the notion of innovation, preserving the job creation and business expansion aspects of the Internet and trying to protect that going forward. So in the area of privacy, the task force did issue the green paper late last year. Comments just came in on that, so people are starting to work their way through them, with the goal that weâ€™ll take the green paper and turn it into a more final pronouncement of the Department of Commerce or perhaps even the administrationâ€™s policy on privacy later this spring.
Do you think there should be a government office specifically dedicated to privacy?
We certainly believe that if weâ€™re going to move forward with these voluntary enforceable codes of conduct with the industry that the function of convening and organizing that process should sit [in the government]. Our believe is that the Department of Commerce, and in particular NTIA, is the appropriate place for that function to reside. When we start talking about offices that sounds more bureaucratic and maybe requires departmental administrative orders. But on the issue of making sure that function is done, yes, based on what we see in the comments, we think thatâ€™s an appropriate idea. We think itâ€™s a necessary idea in terms of working with industry and weâ€™ll see how this all plays out over the course of the spring.
What is NTIA doing internationally on the privacy front?
Privacy has big international implications because the Council of Europe is looking at redoing what theyâ€™ve done in privacy. The European Union is looking at this issue. OECD is looking at the issue. So weâ€™re very cognizant of the need to make sure our policy, whatever it is, is designed in a way to best harmonize with whatâ€™s happening in the rest of the world, and in particularly Europe.