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Blog Category: Internet

NIST Celebrates World Internet Day: NIST Identifies Programs that help Private Industry and Academia Work toward better Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity (keyboard with a key silhouette on it)

On Oct. 29, 1969, the first electronic message was sent on ARPANET, the precursor to today’s Internet. Despite crashing the system, that message is the reason today is designated International Internet Day. To mark the day, and the approaching end of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Charles Romine, Director of the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has summarized NIST’s work on improving the security of the Internet and IT systems.

NIST has been conducting cybersecurity research for as long as there has been a cyberspace to secure.  NIST issues the Federal Information Processing Standards that help to protect the federal government’s information systems and help agencies comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act. These standards and guidelines are often used by the private sector and state and local governments, and therefore have a broad impact on IT systems across the country and around the world.

Through the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), which was established in collaboration with the State of Maryland and Montgomery County, Md., we have been working directly with the private sector since 2012. The center’s goal is to accelerate the adoption of secure technologies through public-private collaborations that identify and address today’s most pressing cybersecurity challenges. We recently awarded a contract to establish the first Federally Funded Research and Development Center devoted to cybersecurity to support the NCCoE, providing needed flexibility in staffing and bringing in partners from industry and academia.

A Collaborative Effort to Support Ogden, Utah’s Growing Software Applications Sector

EDA logo-banner

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine

Today, I joined Mayor Mike Caldwell in Ogden, Utah, to announce a $1 million investment by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) with the Ogden City Corporation to help create a lab that will train workers and provide space for business startups in the growing field of software applications for mobile computing devices.

This new facility will be strategically located in Ogden’s downtown and will be operated by a consortium of experienced, capable partners, including the city of Ogden, Weber State University, the Weber State University Research Foundation, and private-sector industry leaders. It is exactly the type of collaborative partnership that EDA is excited to invest in.

Over a 10-year period, the new facility is expected to create 750 jobs and generate up to $4.6 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. Its focus on software applications is very timely: You can’t walk down any street today, or sit in any coffee shop for long, without seeing smart phones and tablet computers all around you. And while it’s only been a few years since these devices first came on the market, they’ve been a runaway hit ever since: Demand for them has skyrocketed, and with it the demand for applications, or “apps,” that run on them.

National Consumer Protection Week: Spotlight on Trusted Identities

National Consumer Protection Week logo

On Monday, President Obama declared March 4-10, 2012 as National Consumer Protection Week, building on a coordinated effort that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions. The Commerce Department is using this occasion to showcase the efforts of our Internet Policy Task Force, which is leveraging the expertise of several Commerce bureaus that are aimed at ensuring continued innovation in the Internet economy and preserving consumer trust in Internet commerce and online interactions. In particular, the Task Force continues to move forward in our work to promote new efforts that will lead to improved Internet privacy protection and better security for consumers online.

One of the biggest problems facing consumers online is the heavy reliance on usernames and passwords.  Most Internet users are asked to create so many logins and passwords that they have to create coping mechanisms to keep track of them all, from using the same one as often as possible to writing them all down, none of which lead to strong security practices.  In fact, exploiting the inherent weaknesses of passwords was the top method attackers used last year, according to the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report produced by Verizon.  

NTIA Recovery Act Broadband Grantees Recognized at White House Ceremony as Innovators in Infrastructure

Photo: Don Welch (Merit), Assistant Secretary Strickling, Joe Freddoso (MCNC), Rob Mancini (District of Columbia), Elwood Downing (Merit), Dave Lambert (Internet2/UCAID), Greg Urban (State of Maryland).

Yesterday, two NTIA Recovery Act broadband grantees were among  11 local leaders from across the country honored at the White House as “Champions of Change.” Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC, and Donald Welch, President and CEO of Merit Network Inc, were recognized for using innovative techniques to develop valuable projects helping to improve America’s infrastructure.

Merit Network and MCNC both received Recovery Act grants from NTIA for broadband infrastructure projects that are currently underway and connecting community anchor institutions in Michigan and North Carolina, including schools, libraries, and hospitals, to high-speed Internet.  Under the leadership of Welch and Freddoso, Merit and MCNC have put hundreds of people to work and are laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth and improved education, healthcare, and public safety.

BTOP Case Study: Building 21st Century Job Skills in California

In today’s information-age economy, broadband is becoming a necessity for anyone searching for or applying for a job. Many job openings are only posted online. And about 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies only accept applications online. What’s more, in the current job market, digital literacy skills are often a requirement. For example, about 60 percent of working Americans use the Internet as an integral part of their jobs. Yet too many Americans lack the broadband access or skills needed to succeed in the workforce.

To help address this gap, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, or BTOP, is investing approximately $4 billion in roughly 230 projects to increase broadband access and adoption around the country. The Recovery Act program, which is administered by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, recognizes that broadband can be a key to economic empowerment.

A Look Ahead to 2012: NTIA by the Numbers

National Broadband Map

In the coming year, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will continue its focus on three key areas: expanding high speed Internet access and adoption, freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband, and promoting policies that preserve the Internet as an engine for innovation and economic growth. Here are some numbers to illustrate these challenges.  Shown: National Broadband Map

Commerce's NTIA: Small Agency, Big Impact

NTIA logo

Guest blog post by Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

In the 21st century global economy, America’s competitiveness requires a modern communications infrastructure, a technology-savvy workforce, and public policies that preserve the Internet as an engine for job creation, innovation, and economic growth.  NTIA’s activities–at a cost of about a penny per month for each American–represent a modest yet critical investment in our economic future, one that can pay dividends for decades.
Broadband Internet is an essential ingredient not only for job creation but also for improving education, public safety, and health care. Consider this:

NTIA is a small agency, but we are playing a central role in helping America harness the power of the Internet to meet these national objectives. Our work is focused in three areas: maximizing spectrum use, expanding broadband access and adoption, and policymaking to support the continued growth of the Internet economy.

Commerce's NTIA Urges Businesses to Prepare to Transition to IPv6, Announces Release of "Readiness Tool"

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today urged businesses to prepare for the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), an updated Internet addressing system, with the release of a new "IPv6 Readiness Tool."

All devices that connect to the Internet, such as computers, smartphones, and smart grid technologies, require an Internet Protocol (IP) address.  IPv6 is designed to expand the number of IP addresses available because the current number of Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) addresses will eventually exhaust. While industry action and planning are needed, consumers do not need to take action to prepare for the IPv6 transition.

The new tool, a comprehensive checklist for businesses preparing to deploy and adopt IPv6, was developed by experts from industry and the Internet technical community in response to a call from White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra at an IPv6 workshop hosted by NTIA last September. 

"The IPv6 transition will pave the way for a next-generation Internet," said White House CTO Aneesh Chopra. "I urge all U.S. businesses that depend on the Internet to make the IPv6 transition a priority by starting the planning process now."

The planning tool outlines IPv6 preparedness issues, such as the technical needs associated with deployment. The purpose of the tool is to help business leaders identify readiness issues and to bring these issues to the attention of senior corporate management to ensure successful IPv6 deployment and accelerated innovation.

"The development of this tool demonstrates the value of bringing together stakeholders to address today's pressing Internet issues," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "The IPv6 transition is critical to the continued growth of the Internet, an engine for facilitating commerce and economic growth. We will continue to highlight the importance of this issue and encourage companies to share best practices to further IPv6 uptake."

The IPv6 readiness tool and further IPv6 resources can be found here.

NTIA Launches National Broadband Map

Image of interactive broadband map

Today Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched the first-ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband access.  

The National Broadband Map is an unprecedented project created by NTIA, in collaboration with the FCC, and in partnership with each state, territory and the District of Columbia. The map was created at the direction of Congress, which recognized that economic opportunities are driven by access to 21st century infrastructure.

With funding from NTIA’s State Broadband Data & Development Program, state partners have gathered and worked to validate broadband data from thousands of providers across the country. Together, a dataset and website were developd that includes more than 25 million searchable records displaying where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the service, and the names of the broadband providers. Whether you are a consumer seeking more information on the broadband options available to you, a researcher or policymaker working to spur greater broadband deployment, a local official aiming to attract investment in your community, or an application developer with innovative ideas, the National Broadband Map can help.  And if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for on the map itself, you can download the entire dataset.  NTIA press release  |  Broadband map

General Counsel Kerry addresses the 2011 State of the Net Conference

On January 18, 2011, DOC General Counsel Kerry delivered keynote remarks at the seventh annual State of the Net Conference hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee.  The conference is one of the largest information technology policy conference in the U.S. and provides a venue for academics, consumer groups, industry and government to hear from policy experts from across the spectrum of information technology issues and to interact in a bi-partisan environment.

In his remarks, General Counsel Kerry highlighted key policy recommendations from the Commerce Department’s recently released  policy green paper “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework.” These policy recommendations aim to promote consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economic growth.  Recommendations included: establishing Fair Information Practice Principles comparable to a “privacy bill of rights” for online consumers; developing enforceable privacy codes of conduct in specific sectors with multi-stakeholder input; and engaging the international community to encourage global Interoperability. The Department is seeking additional public comment on the privacy paper to further the policy discussion and ensure the framework benefits all stakeholders in the Internet economy. Comments are due January 28th.


Secretary Locke Announces Initiative to Keep Internet Open for Innovation and Trade at Cybersecurity Forum

Secretary Locke speaking at cybersecurity forum in GeorgetownSpeaking today at the 5th annual Online Trust and Cybersecurity Forum at Georgetown Univeristy, Secretary Locke announced the official launch of an initiative aimed at preserving the global, free flow of information online to ensure that the Internet remains open for commercial opportunity and innovation. This initiative coincides with President Obama's message today in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in which he reinforced America's commitment to "a free and open Internet."

The Commerce Department is seeking public comment on the extent to which evolving policies from governments around the world may be restricting information on the Internet and inhibiting innovation and economic growth for U.S. companies. The request will seek input from all stakeholders to better understand the types of emerging government policies that restrict online information, how they are adopted, and what impact they have on innovation, job creation, economic development, global trade and investment.

Secretary Locke Announces Public Review of Privacy Policy, Launches Internet Policy Task Force

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the launch of an initiative designed to gather public input and review the nexus between privacy policy and innovation in the Internet economy. In addition, Locke also announced the formation of a Department of Commerce-wide Internet Policy Task Force to identify leading public policy and operational issues impacting the U.S. private sector's ability to realize the potential for economic growth and job creation through the Internet. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces ARRA Grants in NY and CA to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Expand Economic Growth

Recovery Act logo. Click to go to Commerce Department Recovery Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced two American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments to help bridge the technological divide, improve education, and increase economic opportunities for low-income families in New York, New York and Los Angeles, California. The grants, totaling more than $29 million, will fund computer training and provide more than 30,000 computers to middle school students and their families in high-need schools, enabling them to make use of key educational, employment, and health resources online. (More)

Secretary Locke: Commerce Helps Cities

Locke on podium. Click for larger image.

In remarks to the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke focused on the ways the Department of Commerce assists American cities, describing the core mission of the department as “making American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad so they can create good jobs in communities throughout America.” Commerce is the lead agency for expanding high-speed Internet and broadband access, building critical economic infrastructure through regional innovation clusters, and increasing U.S. exports through the president’s National Export Initiative. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke, Senator Landrieu Announce ARRA Investment in Louisiana

NTIA logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today, joined by Senator Mary Landrieu, announced an $80 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare in Louisiana. The grant will bring high-speed Internet access to more than 80 community anchor institutions—including universities, K-12 schools, libraries, healthcare facilities—and lay the groundwork for bringing affordable broadband service to thousands of homes and businesses in the region. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces ARRA Grants to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Expand Economic Growth

Recovery Act logo. Click to go to Commerce Department Recovery Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 23 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and healthcare cross the country. The grants will increase broadband access and adoption in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and West Virginia. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces ARRA Grants to Expand Broadband Internet Access and Expand Economic Growth

Recovery Act logo. Click to go to Commerce Department Recovery Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced 10 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and health care cross the country. The grants will increase broadband access and adoption in California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. (More) (Remarks)

NTIA, Census Bureau Report New Findings on Internet Use in the United States

Image of circle of connected computers. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Image © Francesco Bisignani/Shutterstock

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new report taking a first look at data collected through the Internet Usage Survey of more than 50,000 households, commissioned by NTIA and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009. Since 2007, the data show that, while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet access adoption at home, historic disparities among particular demographic groups overall continue to persist. (More) (Census tables) (NTIA “Digital Nation” report—PDF)

Commerce Awards Recovery Act Broadband Expansion Grants Totaling More than $20 Million for Virginia

Recovery Acy logo.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced two grants totaling more than $21.5 million to expand broadband Internet infrastructure in Virginia. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs. (More)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces $7.5 Million in Recovery Act Investment to Increase Broadband Access in LA

Locke, Boxer and Villaraigosa at table with young child.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was joined by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a South Los Angeles WorkSource Center to announce a $7.5 million Recovery Act grant to upgrade and expand 188 computer centers that provide the public with free broadband access to the Internet. The grant to the Los Angeles’ Computer Access Network will help bridge the technological divide and improve access to job and computer training and educational opportunities. (More) (Remarks)

Deputy Secretary Hightower Announces $39.7 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access in New York

Hightower, Arcuri and SUNY Cortland president Dr. Erik J. Bitterbaum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower and New York Congressman Michael Arcuri traveled to The State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland to spotlight a $39.7 million Recovery Act grant that will bring broadband Internet service to communities across the state that lack the technology. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic development, create jobs and improve education and health care. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces $25.4 Million Investment to Increase Broadband Access to Maine, Vice President Announces $183 Million in 17 States

Recovery Act logo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the University of Maine announcing a $25.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant to help bring high-speed Internet access to underserved communities across the state. The project, and the private investments it will enable, has the potential to connect one-fifth of all Maine households to a high-speed, 21st century Internet backbone. Earlier in the day in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden also announced an initial $183 million to expand broadband access in 17 states. (More) (Remarks) (VP Biden release)

Secretary Locke Highlights E-Commerce's Role in Growing the Economy

Locke on podium.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of electronic commerce to the U.S. economy in a keynote speech at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Locke underscored the department’s commitment to working with U.S. industry and consumer advocates to protect consumers’ privacy and security online. The three-day conference will bring together senior government officials, business representatives, civil society, international organizations and academics from OECD and non-member economies to discuss consumer protection issues in today’s Internet economy. (Remarks)

China Agrees to Improve Access for U.S. Companies, Reopen Markets and Clamp Down on Internet Piracy at JCCT

Huntsman, Vilsack, Kirk and Locke stand on stage for group photo. Click for larger image.

China agreed to reopen its market to U.S. pork and live swine, remove barriers for American firms to China’s growing clean energy market, and clamp down on Internet piracy at the 20th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Hangzhou, China, co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk along with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack led the discussions on key agricultural issues. Shown are Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to China, Vilsack, Kirk and Locke. (Release: agreements) (Fact sheet: agreements) (Release: JCCT conclusion) (Fact sheet: JCCT conclusion) (U.S. Delegation media availability transcript)

NTIA Announces First State Broadband Mapping Grants

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has awarded the first four grants under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program to fund activities in California, Indiana, North Carolina, and Vermont. The program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. The data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers' efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them. (More)

States and U.S. Territories Receive $40 Million in Grants to Improve 911 Services

NTIA logo.

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced more than $40 million in grants to30 states and U.S. territories to help 911 call centers across the country improve the ability to locate people calling from wireless and Internet-connected telephones. “A majority of emergency 9-1-1 calls are now coming from wireless and Internet-connected telephones,” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “These grants will help first responders locate where these calls are made and to ensure that help arrives quickly.” (More)

Secretary Locke, Vice President Biden Launch Initiative to Bring Broadband, Jobs to More Americans

Biden, Vilsack and Locke on stage with flags in background. Click for larger image.

White House Photo

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Vice President Joe Biden to announce the availability of $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loans and grants to help bring broadband service to unserved and underserved communities across America. This is the first round of Recovery Act funding aimed at expanding broadband access to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building out Internet infrastructure. Locke and Biden were joined today by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. (More) (Remarks) (Vice President’s Statement)

NTIA Unveils Program to Help States Map Internet Infrastructure

NTIA logo.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced details of a grant program to fund collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning, which will assist NTIA in creating a national broadband map. This initiative will provide consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide. “This program satisfies Congress’ mandate that we collect comprehensive information on broadband in America,” said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. (More)

USPTO: Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline Nears

Collegiate Inventors Competition logo.

The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a presenting sponsor of the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) reminds the public of the upcoming entry deadline. The CIC is a national competition designed to encourage college and graduate students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. This prestigious challenge recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential to receive patent protection. Entries must be submitted on the official application form and be postmarked by June 16, 2009. (More)

Internet Use Triples in Decade, Census Bureau Reports

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

New data from the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau show that 62 percent of households reported using Internet access in the home in 2007, an increase from 18 percent in 1997. “These data give us a better understanding of who is using the Internet and from where,” said Thom File, a statistician with the Census Bureau. Among the states, Alaska and New Hampshire residents had among the highest rates of Internet use from any location (home, work or public access) for those 3 and older in 2007. Mississippi and West Virginia had among the lowest rates of Internet use at about 52 percent. (More)

Secretary Locke Addresses Importance of Broadband to Nation's Economic Recovery and Growth

Locke holding microphone. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of broadband to the nation’s economic recovery and growth at the opening of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s 2009 National Cable Show. Locke highlighted the Broadband Initiatives funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which are critical for building a 21st century information infrastructure and creating jobs in unserved, underserved and rural communities across the country. ”Access to high-speed Internet networks opens doors to the world. . . and is fundamental to this country’s economic growth,” Locke said.

Safer Net Surfing is Goal of NIST Domain Name Security Experts

Image of user log-on screen.

When you type—or the Web address of your bank or an e-commerce site—into your web browser, you want to be sure that no one is hijacking your request and sending you to a bogus look-alike page. You’re relying on the integrity of the Internet’s “phone book,” the Domain Name System (DNS). Computer scientists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are playing a major role in making sure that what you type is what you get by providing standards, guidance and testing necessary to bolster the trustworthiness of the global DNS. A draft update of NIST’s guidelines for DNS security is now available for public comment. (More)