Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth [Updated August 20, 2004] [open pdf - 177KB]
"The growth of the Internet may be affected by a number of issues being debated by Congress. This report summarizes several key technology policy issues. Internet privacy issues encompass concerns about information collected by website operators and by 'spyware,' and separately about the extent to which law enforcement officials or employers monitor an individual's Internet activities. The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56) has raised concerns among privacy advocates because of new authorities granted to law enforcement officials. Broadband Internet access gives users the ability to send and receive data at speeds far greater than current Internet access over traditional telephone lines. With deployment of broadband technologies beginning to accelerate, Congress is seeking to ensure fair competition and timely broadband deployment to all sectors and geographical locations of American society. Since the mid-1990s, commercial transactions on the Internet- called electronic commerce (e-commerce)- have grown substantially. Among the issues facing Congress are encryption procedures to protect e-commerce transactions, extension of the three-year tax moratorium on domestic e-commerce taxation, the impact of the USA PATRIOT Act, and how the policies of the European Union and the World Trade Organization (WTO) may affect U.S. e-commerce activities." This report also addresses the new federal anti-spam law, the administration and governance of the Internet's domain name system, and the evolving role of the Internet in the political economy of the United States.
CRS Report for Congress, 98-67