How essential is a globally open Internet to public well-being? Daniel Weitzner addresses this and related questions regarding Internet policy. The Internet provides many people open access to public information on practically anything without ever leaving home. So why do some governments put limitations on the Internet, and why are some people concerned for their privacy? Integral to this question is the relationship of the Internet to national governments.
According to Weitzner, the White House believes that unrestricted Internet growth makes 2.6 new jobs for every one job it makes redundant. For the US Government, the ability of the Internet to function as an open platform, both in the US and around the world, is a question of jobs and global competitiveness. It also opens the door to knowledge and inventions, and it can increase trust in a nation's government.
Weitzner addresses the fear of losing privacy, and the growing trust gap in the world since people started worrying about who is looking out for their interests in the Internet environment. For example, a quarter of a million Germans, in order to protect their privacy, wanted pictures of their houses to be blurred in Google street view—this became known as "the right to be pixelated." Weitzner says there are also other examples beyond that to be taken into account.
Regarding the suggestion that Internet regulation should be handed over to the United Nations, Weitzner asserts there is no need for that—because the industries in this space are already starting to cooperate with each other in the better interest of the public. Weitzner further provides his insights into possible new styles of Internet regulation, and his perspective on international Internet governance.
Daniel J. Weitzner is the Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. His areas of responsibility include online privacy, cybersecurity, Internet copyright protection, and the global free flow of information on the Internet. Prior to joining the White House, he was Associate Administrator for Policy at the United States Commerce Departmant's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Before that, he served as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition project technology policy team.
Prior to his service in the Obama Administration, Weitzner founded the MIT CSAIL Decentralized Information Group, taught Internet public policy in MIT's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and was Policy Director of the World Wide Web Consortium. While at MIT, he launched the Web Science Research Initiative with Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt and James Hendler. Weitzner was co-founder and Deputy Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Deputy Policy Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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