Obama May Name Net Neutrality Champion to Cabinet

Sara Jerome, The Hill

The White House is considering FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski as a potential successor to Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce, according to tech industry sources and prominent Democrats close to the White House.

Genachowski is among a list of names the White House has floated internally, along with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, other government officials, and top business executives, the sources said…

Genachowski has been close to Obama since law school and campaigned for him in 2008. His ties to business executives could be an asset as the administration seeks to improve relations with industry…

Others questioned, however, why Obama would want to nominate someone for the Cabinet who has become a polarizing figure on the right. He has been criticized for passing net-neutrality regulations.

The feat notably accomplished an Obama campaign promise and ruffled feathers on both sides.

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Obama Ramps Up “Internet ID”

The Washington Times

Federalized security screening at airports has been such a success that President Obama wants to apply the same government “expertise” to the realm of online commerce and commentary. The White House cybersecurity adviser joined Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Jan. 7 to announce what amounts to a national ID card for the internet.

Their plan is straightforward. Instead of logging onto Facebook or one’s bank using separate passwords established with each individual company or website, the White House will take the lead in developing what it calls an “identity ecosystem” that will centralize personal information and credentials. This government-approved system would issue a smart card or similar device that would confirm an individual’s identity when making online credit-card purchases, accessing electronic health care records, posting “anonymous” blog entries or even logging onto one’s own home computer, according to administration documents.

Officials insist this would be a voluntary program and deliver significant benefits to the public. Mr. Locke explained last week that “robust identity solutions can substantially enhance the trustworthiness of online transactions. They can not only improve security, but, if done properly, can enhance privacy as well.”

Put another way, Mr. Locke is saying, “Trust us, we’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

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Obama Wants to Force “Internet ID” on Americans

Declan McCullagh, CBSNews.com

President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cybersecurity effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.

It’s “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the internet, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said…

The announcement came at an event Friday at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.

The Obama administration is currently drafting what it’s calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)

“We are not talking about a national ID card,” Locke said at the Stanford event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”

The Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project, Locke said.

Details about the “trusted identity” project are unusually scarce….

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