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The Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Agenda

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker onstage at Techonomy 2015 with David Kirkpatrick.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker onstage at Techonomy 2015 with David Kirkpatrick.

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker spoke Nov. 9 at Techonomy 2015, and announced for the first time her department’s Digital Economy Agenda. Alan Davidson, who oversees this effort, wrote this piece to explain it. 

The United States and the world are living through a remarkable economic and societal transformation, driven by technology. In this changing world, economic growth and competitiveness are increasingly tied to the digital economy, which is a key driver of jobs, business creation, and innovation. And today’s digital economy is where people all over the world share ideas, learn new skills, and gain access to the storehouse of human knowledge.

This technology revolution has been dramatic. Only 45 million people had access to the Internet in 1995. Last year, roughly 3 billion people had Internet access. The digital economy has a staggering impact on U.S. jobs and growth. Consider this fact: In 2014 we exported roughly $400 billion in digitally-deliverable services, which accounted for more than half of U.S. services exports and about one-sixth of all U.S. goods and services exports.

That is why the Commerce Department makes technology and Internet policy a top priority, investing resources to address the challenges and opportunities business faces in the digital economy. Today, Secretary Pritzker is announcing at the Techonomy conference in Half Moon Bay, the Commerce Department’s Digital Economy Agenda, focused around four key opportunities:

  1. Promoting a free and open Internet worldwide,because the Internet functions best for our businesses and workers when data and services can flow unimpeded across borders.
  2. Promoting trust online, because security and privacy are essential if electronic commerce is to flourish.
  3. Ensuring access for workers, families, and companies, because fast broadband networks are essential to economic success in the 21stcentury.
  4. Promoting innovation, through smart intellectual property rules and by advancing the next generation of exciting new technologies.

We understand that virtually every modern company relies on the Internet to grow and thrive. This agenda will help businesses and consumers realize the potential of the digital economy to advance growth and opportunity, at home and around the world.

As part of our commitment, we are also in the process of creating a Digital Economy Board of Advisors so that government has a mechanism for getting regular advice from leaders in industry and civil society. We welcome your service and partnership.

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