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White House Unveils Internet Privacy Subcommittee

Photo: Szymon Apanowicz

The White House’s top science office announced the launch of a subcommittee tasked with privacy and Internet policy, according to a Department of Justice blog posting.

In the post for the National Science and Technology Council, general counsel at the Department of Justice Cameron Kerry and Christopher Schroeder, assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, cited the need to protect both web commerce and privacy.

“In this digital age, a thriving and dynamic economy requires Internet policies that promote innovation domestically and globally while ensuring strong and sensible protections of individuals’ private information,” the authors write.

The subcommittee will be staffed with officials from than a dozen agencies, departments and offices, and co-chaired by Kerry and Schroeder.

One of the main goals – and likely challenges – will be promoting consensus on several issues in the “legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms,” in the words of the authors.

The White House’s efforts to create a set common standards for Internet policy comes after a number of “privacy gaffes” by private web companies, such as Google and Facebook, InformationWeek reports.

And The Washington Post’s technology blog says there may already be pushback from privacy advocates, who fear  individual Internet users will be left out of the process in favor of big corporations.

“The idea of the subcommittee is to develop consensus on the direction of U.S. laws and regulations on Internet privacy,” The Post blog writes, “but consumer advocacy groups wondered how much emphasis the group would place on protecting consumers.”

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