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Commerce Secretary Pritzker speaks at CES on privacy and global realities

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‘I think we need to have a real look at the issue of privacy and where you draw the lines and what are the rules,’ said Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, in an interview with IDG News Service at the International CES expo in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

‘I don't think there is consistency or clarity right now in terms of what companies are collecting and what they can do with that data,’ she said.

The issue was underscored for her, she said, when she toured CES and saw some of the gadgets on display, especially those associated with the ‘Internet of things.’ That's a catch-all term coined by the industry for devices such as home appliances, sensors and industrial equipment that can connect to the Internet and share information.

She is particularly concerned about how all of this data is shared. So if Samsung’s Smart Home project links to a server through a smartphone app this can be accessed by whom? There are Internet-connected cooking pot controlled items to stew and cook your dinner but who from afar may know your dinner menu?

‘You say to yourself, 'Do I want everybody to know that? Do I want that [information] freely recordable somewhere else [where] I don't know what is going to happen to it?’ she asked.

‘It raises, for a lot of people, questions, and I think we should have a conversation about it and I think that needs to sort out,’ according to Commerce Secretary Pritzker.

Pritzker said the Department of Commerce has been part of the discussion with the White House regarding the NSA program and massive data collection efforts by the U.S. government to monitor Internet and telephone traffic in the U.S. and overseas. Due to the leaks from Edward J. Snowden the issue of privacy has been in serious discussion and review. President Barack Obama is due to issue a report on the matter soon.

The Commerce Secretary also said it was a shared concern with the President on privacy issues as far as the NSA is concerned and that needs to be one of the things weighed in determining the direction of future surveillance efforts. She said it should also be ensured that any surveillance is being carried out for a legitimate purpose.

Secretary Pritzker concluded her CES activities at a roundtable meeting with the CEOs and founders of 10 highly innovative technology, consumer electronics, and venture capital firms, including Mike McNamara of Flextronics, Josh Berman of BeachMint, and Sam Friedman of ParkMe. They discussed ways for the US to strengthen its competitive position globally and how the federal government can support American innovators as they adapt to changing market realities here and abroad.

You may view the Secretary of Commerce activities at CES 2014 on the official website of the United States Dept. of Commerce.

Please, view the articles listed below in Author's suggestions about CES 2014 and the video atop this article.

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