A New Ambassador Ready to Take on Tech Challenge

Dean C. Garfield photo

Tonight, the U.S. information and communications technology (ICT) industry gained a thoughtful voice within the U.S. government for tech policies that embrace and advance innovation.  With Senate confirmation of Daniel Sepulveda, many of the pressing international issues facing the ICT sector are now in the capable hands of the State Department’s new Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.

In this post, Ambassador Sepulveda’s portfolio includes ensuring the internet remains free from unnecessary government restrictions, coordinating the economic components of U.S. cybersecurity policies internationally, and promoting the growth and use of ICT goods and services.

Internet Freedom 

Last December at the World Conference on International Telecommunications, Internet freedom carried the day over efforts to install restrictive government control over the worldwide web.  Yet, despite that success, there is still a major push underway by some countries to alter the global multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance, including carving out a distinct (and unhelpful) role for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).  There is simply no good technical or economic justification for tampering with the current internet model.  The risks to innovation, job creation, and consumer freedom are far too high.  With his breadth of experience in government and the international policy arena, Ambassador Sepulveda is well-positioned to lead U.S. and global efforts for a robust Internet free from government control.

Cybersecurity  

Governments globally are rightly paying increased attention to the security of digital networks.  As they do so, it’s imperative that their cybersecurity policy approaches meet security needs while preserving interoperability, openness, and a global market.  These approaches will result in enhanced security.  In fact, in the right policy environment, we can increase security while maintaining the societal benefits derived from the growth and development of cyberspace.  In his bilateral and multilateral diplomatic work, Ambassador Sepulveda has a key role in ensuring that economic impacts are factored into all countries’ cybersecurity policies.  This is particularly important as cybersecurity policy is becoming a higher profile topic of debate in multilateral institutions such as the ITU and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Growth and Use of ICT

The growth of and consumer confidence in ICT is critically important.  Concerns about privacy and who has access to data in the cloud put the growth of these technologies at risk -- particularly if there are restrictions on cross-border data flows.  We also are increasingly seeing threats to the global ICT supply chain in the form of forced localization measures that threaten the free flow of information and innovation.  In order for ICT supply chains to deploy technologies to their fullest potential, these issues must be addressed thoughtfully.

Through engagement with all stakeholders, including those in the technology sector, and with effective diplomatic efforts in both multilateral fora and bilateral engagement, Ambassador Sepulveda is poised to advocate for smart policies that benefit the United States and the international community.

We offer our congratulations to Ambassador Sepulveda for his confirmation to this new and pivotal role for him.  And we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working closely with him and his team at the State Department on these and other myriad issues he’s tasked with tackling.

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