Cyber Security Industry Alliance Newsletter • Volume 2, Number 7 • March 2006

CSIA Congressional Spotlight

Congressional Internet Caucus and Advisory Committee

Organization: Congressional Internet Caucus and Advisory Committee

Founded: 1996 by Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), and former Representative Rick White (R-WA).

Caucus Co-Chairs: Senator Conrad Burns, Senator Patrick Leahy, Representative Robert Goodlatte, Representative Rick Boucher.

Participants: Almost 200 Members of Congress make up the Caucus, and there are over 200 Advisory Committee Members, which includes Think Tanks, Associations, Industry Organizations, and Public Interest Groups.

Mission: The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee works in conjunction with the Internet Caucus membership to create balanced and fair programming to help educate Members of Congress and their staff about Internet-related policy issues.

Activities: Internet Caucus State of the Net Annual Conference, Annual Tech Fair, Speaker Sessions, Roundtable Discussions, Constituent Education Workshop Series, Briefing Books.

Contact Information:; Danielle Yates at (202) 638-4370


The Congressional Internet Caucus Goals and Activities


Congressional Internet Caucus
Conrad Burns
Patrick Leahy
Rick Boucher
Bob Goodlatte

The Congressional Internet Caucus is a bi-partisan group of members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee works in conjunction with the Congressional Internet Caucus to organize regular panel events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.

They also assemble briefing materials and constituent education toolkits that reflect all perspectives related to these issues. The Internet Education Foundation, a not-for-profit organization provides funding and logistical support for Internet Caucus Advisory Committee events, materials, and Web sites.

The Caucus’ activities over the years have steadily increased the profile of Internet-related issues, not only among policymakers, but among businesses, consumers, and advocacy groups. From authentication and privacy issues, to e-voting and global e-commerce, the Caucus tackles Internet issues we are currently facing, but also addresses the challenges we face in the future.

The Caucus’ goals include: promoting the growth and advancement of the Internet; providing a bicameral, bipartisan forum for Internet concerns to be raised; promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staff on Internet-related issues; promoting commerce and the free flow of information on the Internet; advancing the United States' leadership in the digital world; and maximizing the openness of and participation in government by the people.

Caucus Activities

Since 1998, the Caucus has hosted a number of events, including several Speaker Series, Constituent Education Workshops, and its Annual State of the Net Conference. Topics for these events included VoIP, Wi-Fi, computer security, RFID technology, spyware, and data protection, just to name a few.

In addition to these events, the Caucus has also established an international dialogue, which examines the role of the Internet in international affairs and policy, and studies the relationship between the US and its international counterparts, including Parliamentarians from Europe and Asia.

The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee often provides Briefing Books related to event topics, which are compilations of policy positions from a broad cross-section of the public interest community, policymakers, and the Internet industry.

Finally, a Wireless Task Force was established in 2002 to explore issues related to the mobile and wireless Internet. This Task Force reflects the growing importance of wireless technologies in the evolution of the Internet.

Internet Caucus panels and events are well attended throughout the year by government agency staff and press, and are acknowledged for their balance and depth.

State of the Net Conference

Of the Caucus’s activities, one of the most notable is the State of the Net Conference. The State of the Net Conference brings technology and the Internet to the forefront of Congressional debate, and previews emerging issues that will challenge policymakers. Although 2006’s conference was only the second State of the Net Conference, it was a widely-attended and much-anticipated event.

Chairman Joe Barton, of the House Commerce Committee, previewed his agenda and Committee priorities, highlighting broadband reform as a major issue to be addressed. Conference attendees also heard from Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the Internet and now representing Google, as he addressed network neutrality and competition for broadband access. Last year, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, acknowledged the impact of the Internet and other communications technology on our lives, particularly in states like his.

The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee's State of the Net Conference has become the acknowledged forum to discuss technology trends and the enormous policy challenges which lawmakers, industry leaders, and citizens must confront and resolve.

Caucus Outlook

This year, the debate on the Telecom Act promises to dominate the tech policy discussion. Issues ranging from net neutrality, intellectual property, Universal Service, and broadband access will be discussed. The Caucus may tackle several other issues such as RFID, wireless security, patents, authentication, and Internet governance in the coming months.