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White House Council Launches Interagency Subcommittee on Privacy & Internet Policy

The following post originally appeared on the White House blog courtesy of Cameron Kerry, General Counsel at the Department of Commerce and Christopher Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice.

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to promoting the vast economic opportunity of the Internet and protecting individual privacy, the National Science and Technology Council has launched a new Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy. Populated by representatives from more than a dozen Departments, agencies and Federal offices, and co-chaired by the two of us, the subcommittee will develop principles and strategic directions with the goal of fostering consensus in legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms.

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 and the ability of governments to meet their obligations to protect public safety.

Recognizing the global nature of the digital economy and society, the Subcommittee will monitor and address global privacy policy challenges and develop approaches to meeting those challenges through coordinated U.S. government action.  The Subcommittee is committed to fostering dialogue and cooperation between our Nation and its key trading partners in support of flexible and robust privacy and innovation policies. Such policies are essential to the health of competitive marketplaces for online goods and services.

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. 

At the same time, the Subcommittee will work closely with private stakeholders to identify Internet policy principles that promote innovation and economic expansion, while also protecting the rule of law and individual privacy.  Throughout this process, the Subcommittee will endeavor to strike the appropriate balance between the privacy expectations of consumers and the needs of industry, law enforcement and other public-safety governmental entities, and other Internet stakeholders.

The Subcommittee is made up of representatives from the following Federal agencies:  

  • Department of Commerce (Co-Chair)
  • Department of Justice (Co-Chair)
  • 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
  • Other departments and agencies designated by the co-chairs. Of note, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission will be invited to participate. 

The following organizations in the Executive Office of the President shall also be represented on the Subcommittee:

  • Domestic Policy Council
  • National Economic Council
  • National Security Council and National Security Staff
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • United States Trade Representative
  • Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
  • National Security Staff Cybersecurity Directorate


Updated April 7, 2017