October 29, 2010
Intellectual Property, Internet & E-Commerce Alerts

White House Council Launches Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy
by Cyrus Wadia

The White House's National Science and Technology Council announced this week that it has launched a new interagency "Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy" to develop guiding principles and strategy for legislative, regulatory and international Internet policy.  The purpose of the Subcommittee is to promote economic innovation both domestically and globally, while monitoring and addressing global privacy policy challenges, and the ability of governments to meet their obligations to protect public safety. 

The Subcommittee will consist of agency representatives from more than a dozen Departments, agencies and Federal offices, including the Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Small Business Administration, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and various representatives of the Executive Office of the President.  According to the Subcommittee's recent announcement:

The public policy direction developed by the Subcommittee will be closely synchronized to privacy practices in federal Departments and agencies, resulting in a comprehensive and forward-looking commitment to a common set of Internet policy principles across government.  These core principles include facilitating transparency, promoting cooperation, empowering individuals to make informed and intelligent choices, strengthening multi-stakeholder governance models, and building trust in online environments. 

In light of the recent rash of alleged data breaches on social media networks and cyberattacks, the Subcommittee could be an important step in the ongoing development of a nationwide and international looking privacy policy that balances economic interests with the need to protect consumers' personally identifying information.  It also reflects steps being taken by other countries such as Canada to develop nationwide practices for protecting consumers' privacy and maintaining data security.

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