Clinton Adviser Outlines Government's Reduced Role In
(05/12/98; 1:04 p.m. ET)
By John Gartner, TechWeb
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ira Magaziner, senior
adviser to the president for policy development,
outlined his vision of the U.S. government's
minimal role in regulating the Internet here
Monday, saying the medium's flexible technology
and business conditions obviate the need for the
regulation required in other media.
"Unlike the telephone and broadcast mediums,
there is unlimited bandwidth and competition, and
choice will drive the market" Magaziner said.
The half-hour speech to the Association for
Computing Machinery Policy 98 crowd of 200
researchers and educators pointed to a future
where individuals and industry, not the U.S.
government, would be made responsible for
The U.S. government recently asked that Internet
executives devise a privacy code of conduct.
Websites could then display a seal indicating
compliance with the privacy standard, and the
government would empower the Federal Trade
Commission or Justice Department to enforce the
use of the seal.
Instead of government censorship of the Internet,
Magaziner proposed that individuals should
decide what content they view. He cited filtering
software, available through ISPs or Web
browsers, can be used for censorship. In
recognition of the Internet's global and
ever-growing content, Magaziner said, "We don't
want to give people the impression that a law can
protect them, because it can't."
Magaziner outlined the United
States' five policy principles on
* Standards should be privately,
not government, driven;
* Allow a market-driven
* Minimal government intervention;
* Respect the nature of the medium
in all decisions; and
* View the Internet as a global
arena requiring global
Clinton's top technology aide said the government
was learning from its mistakes. The
Communications Decency Act, which the
administration backed in court and has since
been ruled unconstitutional, as well as
inconsistent encryption policy were both referred
to as previous errors of policy.
"We can't censor the Internet because it is
neither wise nor possible," said Magaziner.
Magaziner also reiterated on several occasions
how important IT was to U.S. economic growth.
Government statistics indicate one-third of the
overall real growth in the United States was
attributed to IT, and IT will remain as the "engine
of continued economic growth" for decades to
Magaziner said this growth would not continue if
employers could not find enough IT professionals.
He said, "Tens of millions of service and
middlemen jobs would be lost and replaced with
technology jobs" as long as the proper training