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8/4/2010
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Commerce Department Seeks Advice On Cybersecurity

Businesses, academics and the general public have been asked for input on cybersecurity's economic impact, authentication and identity-management technologies, research and development priorities and more.

The Department of Commerce is looking for advice from businesses, academics and even the general public about how to maintain cybersecurity while fostering innovation in the commercial Internet space.

In a Notice of inquiry (PDF), the department asks for comment about, among other things, the economic impact of cybersecurity preparedness; authentication and identity-management technologies; how to raise awareness about threats; how to engage globally on cybersecurity; and where to invest in research and development.

The department said it's seeking comment outside of the usual government channels because cybersecurity affects a much broader scope than that. The trillion-dollar Internet commerce market in particular is vulnerable to threats, according to the notice.

"Companies continue to face significant challenges in their ability to appropriately protect their computer systems, secure their proprietary, personal and financial information, and safeguard the integrity of business and other transactions that they conduct over the Internet," the department said in the notice. "Reports of significant, persistent, individual cyber intrusions occur on a regular basis, as do reports of widespread, untargeted cyber incidents."

The department's Internet Policy Task Force -- created in April to help develop cybersecurity policy -- is overseeing the request.

Cybersecurity is a priority for the Obama administration, and several agencies -- including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency -- all have different roles in establishing processes and policy around it.

However, much of the administration's work to date has been focused on protecting the .gov domain and critical infrastructure on which the Internet runs.

The Commerce Department's task force, on the other hand, is primarily seeking feedback on how to identify and evaluate cybersecurity challenges that face commercial entities and consumers outside of critical infrastructure, according to the notice.

The department also wants advice on how it can improve its execution of core cybersecurity responsibilities, which does indeed include supporting critical infrastructure and the people using it.

Responses to the request will assist the task force in preparing a report on cybersecurity, innovation and the Internet economy, according to the notice.

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