View Header


Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release August 6, 1999

Washington, DC -- The Vice President announced today a new Executive Order establishing a working group charged with addressing unlawful conduct involving the use of the Internet. President Clinton signed the order establishing an interagency working group that will report its recommendations to the President and Vice President within 120 days.

As the Internet grows and changes, it offers dramatic and exciting benefits to the lives of Americans. However, it also has the potential to allow those who seek to violate or evade the law new opportunities.

"Unlawful activity is not unique to the Internet - but the Internet has a way of magnifying both the good and the bad in our society," Vice President Gore said. "We may not need new laws. But what we need to do is find new answers to old crimes."

"The working group will help to make the Internet a safe place for all Americans by examining the extent to which existing federal law and technological tools are effective in combating crime on the Internet," the Vice President added.

The group provides an opportunity to take a comprehensive approach to unlawful conduct on the Internet, such as the illegal sale of guns, explosives and controlled substances. The working group will provide a forum to achieve new and creative solutions to the challenges posed by criminal activity on the Internet. Rapid technological changes on the Internet will often outpace any new laws and regulations that Congress may pass. Rather than addressing these issues in isolation or through piecemeal legislation, the group will help provide a full understanding of the scope and applicability of current law, the extent to which new technological tools or resources can help in the fight against crime, and the potential to use other means to lower the risks from unlawful acts on the Internet through empowering users.

The working group will undertake its review in the context of current Administration policy, which includes support for industry self-regulation where possible, technology-neutral laws and regulations, and an appreciation for the Internet as an important medium both domestically and internationally for commerce and free speech. The working group will seek input from industry, consumer, and other private sector groups, along with state and local law enforcement officials on how best to achieve its mandate.