Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.

Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.

The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy

Docket Number
Docket No. 110527305-1303-02

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 115 (Wednesday, June 15, 2011)]
[Pages 34965-34967]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2011-14710]


[[Page 34965]]



Office of the Secretary

National Institute of Standards and Technology

International Trade Administration

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

[Docket No. 110527305-1303-02]

Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, National Institute of Standards and
Technology, International Trade Administration, and National
Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of

ACTION: Notice and Request for Public Comments.


SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce's (Department) Internet Policy Task
Force is conducting a comprehensive review of the nexus between
cybersecurity and innovation in the Internet economy. On July 28, 2010,
the Department published a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment from all
Internet stakeholders on the impact of cybersecurity policy issues in
the United States and around the world on the pace of innovation in the
information economy. The Department now seeks further comment on its
report entitled, ``Cybersecurity, Innovation and the Internet
Economy,'' available at Through this Notice
requesting comments on the report, the Department hopes to spur further
discussion with Internet stakeholders that will lead to the development
of a series of Administration positions that will help develop an
action plan in this important area.

DATES: Comments are due on or before 11:59 p.m. on August 1, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted by e-mail only. Comments should be
sent to with the subject line ``Comments on
Cybersecurity Green Paper.'' Comments will be posted at

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon Boyens, National Institute of
Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 893,
Gaithersburg, MD 20819, Please direct media
inquires to NIST's Office of Public Affairs at (301) 975-NIST.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Over the past two decades, the Internet has
become increasingly important to fueling the Nation's economic
competitiveness, to promoting innovation, and to enhancing our
collective well-being. As the Internet continues to grow in all aspects
of our lives, the parallel issue of cybersecurity risks continues to
increase and evolve.
    Today's cybersecurity threats include indiscriminate and broad-
based attacks designed to exploit the interconnectedness of the
Internet. Increasingly, the threats also involve targeted attacks, the
purpose of which is to steal, manipulate, destroy or deny access to
sensitive data, or to disrupt computing systems. These threats are
exacerbated by the interconnected and interdependent architecture of
today's computing environment. Theoretically, security deficiencies in
one area may provide opportunities for exploitation elsewhere.
    Despite increasing awareness of the associated risks, broad swaths
of the economy and individual actors, ranging from consumers to large
businesses, do not take advantage of available technology and processes
to secure their systems, and protective measures are not evolving as
quickly as the threats. This general lack of investment puts firms and
consumers at greater risk, leading to economic loss at the individual
and aggregate levels and poses a threat to national security.
    President Obama's Cyberspace Policy Review in May 2009 articulated
the many reasons government must work closely with the private sector
and other partners to address these risks. As stated in the Review,
``information and communications networks are largely owned and
operated by the private sector, both nationally and internationally.
Thus, addressing network security issues requires a public-private
partnership as well as international cooperation and norms.''
    In addition, the Administration has promoted cybersecurity
legislation that would catalyze the development of norms for practices
of entities that maintain our critical infrastructure. These entities
include sectors such as energy, critical manufacturing, and emergency
services whose disruption would have a debilitating impact on
individual security, national economic security, national public health
and safety. The proposed legislation requires these entities to develop
a baseline framework of protection based on risk--a function of threat,
vulnerability, and consequences. The Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), in coordination with sector-specific agencies and other relevant
departments, would promulgate the list of covered entities using the
established criteria and input from the Federal Government, state and
local governments, and the private sector.
    The U.S. Department of Commerce (Department) has focused its
efforts on developing public policies and private sector norms whose
voluntary adoption could improve the overall cybersecurity posture of
private sector infrastructure operators, software and service
providers, and users outside the critical infrastructure. Entities in
these areas have not been the main focus of cybersecurity activities to
date, yet they can be at great risk--and can put others at great risk--
if they do not adequately secure their networks and services. Yet,
attempting to develop policies to protect each industry with equal
weight, regardless of criticality, will lead to placing too much
emphasis on lesser concerns. We must instead find the right protections
for each sector and sub-sector and promote the right policies to get
them implemented.
    In early 2010, the Department launched the Internet Policy Task
Force (Task Force), charged with addressing the Internet's most
pressing policy issues and with recommending new policies. After
several months of consultations with stakeholders, the Task Force
published a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) and convened a symposium on
Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy leading to this
preliminary set of recommendations in the Green Paper entitled
``Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy'' .\1\ In this
paper, the Task Force asks many follow-up questions to gain additional
feedback and to help the Department determine how to proceed. The goal
of this undertaking is to ensure that the Task Force is on the right
course with its recommendations and to identify technical and policy
measures that might close the gap between today's status quo and
reasonably achievable levels of cyber-protection outside of critical
infrastructure sectors. The Green Paper will also serve as a vehicle to
spur further discussion with Internet stakeholders on this important
area of policy development.

    \1\ The text of the Green Paper is available at

    In particular, many responses to the 2010 NOI highlighted a large
group of functions and services that should be the subject of our
efforts. The Task Force is calling this group the ``Internet and
Information Innovation Sector'' (I3S). The I3S includes functions and

[[Page 34966]]

services that create or utilize the Internet or networking services and
have large potential for growth, entrepreneurship, and vitalization of
the economy, but would fall outside the classification of covered
critical infrastructure as defined by existing law and Administration
policy. Business models may differ, but the following functions and
services are included in the I3S:
     Provision of information services and content;
     Facilitation of the wide variety of transactional services
available through the Internet as an intermediary;
     Storage and hosting of publicly accessible content; and
     Support of users' access to content or transaction
activities, including, but not limited to application, browser, social
network, and search providers.
    The I3S is comprised of companies, from small businesses to ``brick
and mortar-based firms'' with online services to large companies that
only exist on the Internet. These companies are significantly impacted
by cybersecurity concerns, yet do not have the same level of
operational criticality that would cause them to be designated as
covered critical infrastructure. The Task Force supports efforts to
increase the security posture of I3S services and functions from
cybersecurity risks without regulating these services as covered
critical infrastructure. A primary goal of this Green Paper is to spark
a discussion of the scope of this newly defined sector and the policies
needed to protect it independently of, but in concert with, the
discussion on protections within the critical infrastructure.

Request for Information

    Request for Comment: This Notice seeks input on the report
``Cybersecurity, Innovation, and the Internet Economy'' ( The questions below, which also appear in Appendix A
of the report, are intended to assist in identifying issues. They
should not be construed as a limitation on comments that parties may
submit. Comments that contain references to studies, research and other
empirical data that are not widely published should include copies of
the referenced materials with the submitted comments.
    1. How should the Internet and Information Innovation Sector (I3S)
be defined? What kinds of entities should be included or excluded? How
can its functions and services be clearly distinguished from critical
    2. Is the Department of Commerce's focus on an I3S the right one to
target the most serious cybersecurity threats to the Nation's economic
and social well-being related to non-critical infrastructure?
    3. What are the most serious cybersecurity threats facing the I3S
as currently defined?
    4. Are there other sectors not considered critical infrastructure
where similar approaches might be appropriate?
    5. Should I3S companies that also offer functions and services to
covered critical infrastructure be treated differently than other
members of the I3S?
    6. Are there existing codes of conduct that the I3S can utilize
that adequately address these issues?
    7. Are there existing overarching security principles on which to
base codes of conduct?
    8. What is the best way to solicit and incorporate the views of
small and medium businesses into the process to develop codes?
    9. What is the best way to solicit and incorporate the views of
consumers and civil society?
    10. How should the U.S. Government work internationally to advance
codes of conduct in ways that are consistent with and/or influence and
improve global norms and practices?
    11. Are the standards, practices, and guidelines indicated in
section III, A, 2 and detailed in Appendix B of the Green Paper
appropriate to consider as keystone efforts? Are there others not
listed in the Green Paper that should be included?
    12. Is there a level of consensus today around all or any of these
guidelines, practices, and standards as having the ability to improve
security? If not, is it possible to achieve consensus? If so, how?
    13. What process should the Department of Commerce use to work with
industry and other stakeholders to identify best practices, guidelines,
and standards in the future?
    14. Should efforts be taken to better promote and/or support the
adoption of these standards, practices, and guidelines?
    15. In what way should these standards, practices, and guidelines
be promoted and through what mechanisms?
    16. What incentives are there to ensure that standards are robust?
What incentives are there to ensure that best practices and standards,
once adopted, are updated in light of changing threats and new business
    17. Should the government play an active role in promoting these
standards, practices, and guidelines? If so, in which areas should the
government play more of a leading role? What should this role be?
    18. How can automated security be improved?
    19. What areas of research in automation should be prioritized and
    20. How can the Department of Commerce, working with its partners,
better promote automated sharing of threat and related signature
information with the I3S?
    21. Are there other examples of automated security that should be
    22. What conformance-based assurance programs, in government or the
private sector need to be harmonized?
    23. In a fast changing and evolving security threat environment,
how can security efforts be determined to be relevant and effective?
What are the best means to review procedural improvements to security
assurance and compliance for capability to pace with technological
changes that impact the I3S and other sectors?
    24. What are the right incentives to gain adoption of best
practices? What are the right incentives to ensure that the voluntary
codes of conduct that develop from best practices are sufficiently
robust? What are the right incentives to ensure that codes of conduct,
once introduced, are updated promptly to address evolving threats and
other changes in the security environment?
    25. How can the Department of Commerce or other government agencies
encourage I3S subsectors to build appropriate best practices?
    26. How can liability structures and insurance be used as
incentives to protect the I3S?
    27. What other market tools are available to encourage
cybersecurity best practices?
    28. Should Federal procurement play any role in creating incentives
for the I3S? If so, how? If not, why not?
    29. How important is the role of disclosure of security practices
in protecting the I3S? Will it have a significant financial or
operational impact?
    30. Should an entity's customers, patients, clients, etc. receive
information regarding the entity's compliance with certain standards
and codes of conduct?
    31. Would it be more appropriate for some types of companies within
the I3S to be required to create security plans

[[Page 34967]]

and disclose them to a government agency or to the public? If so,
should such disclosure be limited to where I3S services or functions
impact certain areas of the covered critical infrastructure?
    32. What role can the Department of Commerce play in promoting
public-private partnerships?
    33. How can public-private partnerships be used to foster better
incentives within the I3S?
    34. How can existing public-private partnerships be improved?
    35. What are the barriers to information sharing between the I3S
and government agencies with cybersecurity authorities and among I3S
entities? How can they be overcome?
    36. Do current liability structures create a disincentive to
participate in information sharing or other best practice efforts?
    37. What is the best means to promote research on cost/benefit
analyses for I3S security?
    38. Are there any examples of new research on cost/benefit analyses
of I3S security? In particular, has any of this research significantly
changed the understanding of cybersecurity and cybersecurity related
    39. What information is needed to build better cost/benefit
    40. What new or increased efforts should the Department of Commerce
undertake to facilitate cybersecurity education?
    41. What are the specific areas on which education and research
should focus?
    42. What is the best way to engage stakeholders in public/private
partnerships that facilitate cybersecurity education and research?
    43. What areas of research are most crucial for the I3S? In
particular, what R&D efforts could be used to help the supply chain for
I3S and for small and medium-sized businesses?
    44. What role does the move to cloud-based services have on
education and research efforts in the I3S?
    45. What is needed to help inform I3S in the face of a particular
cyber threat? Does the I3S need its own ``fire department services'' to
help address particular problems, respond to threats, and promote
prevention or do enough such bodies already exist?
    46. What role should Department of Commerce play in promoting
greater R&D that would go above and beyond current efforts aimed at
research, development, and standards?
    47. How can the Department of Commerce work with other Federal
agencies to better cooperate, coordinate, and promote the adoption and
development of cybersecurity standards and policy internationally?

    Dated: June 9, 2011.
Gary Locke,
Secretary of Commerce.

Patrick Gallagher,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology.

Lawrence E. Strickling,
Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information.

Francisco J. Sánchez,
Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.
[FR Doc. 2011-14710 Filed 6-14-11; 8:45 am]


June 15, 2011