CDT's Schwartz explains his NIST jump

Thursday - 8/12/2010, 10:34am EDT

Ari Schwartz, senior Internet policy advisor, NIST

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By Dorothy Ramienski
Internet Editor
Federal News Radio

After 13 years at the Center for Democracy and Technology, vice president and chief operating officer Ari Schwartz is now joining the government.

He will start at NIST as a senior Internet policy advisor working on the Internet Policy Task Force on Aug. 30.

He says he's going to be working at the Internet Policy Taskforce at the Department of Commerce. The Taskforce itself has different offices that deal with issues such as privacy, security and intellectual property.

"I think that the work that the Department has already started under the Taskforce is moving in a great direction toward trying to work with industry and work with the agencies in developing coherent strategy on Internet policy. I'm really looking forward to doing that work."

He says he is eager to start working at NIST because the standardization of business on the web is really important.

"[We are] trying to get people communicating, coordinating, collaborating better using the Internet to its greatest advantage, and standards is really the way to go about doing that. We're seeing that with health information, in the energy grid space, with voting technologies and other things that NIST is really taking the lead on -- as well as trying to secure the space and keep personal information private."

It's not just about the federal government, though. Schwartz says NIST is currently working with industry to come up with standards that work across the board. This, he adds, will hopefully facilitate international standards.

And, since he comes from the private sector, he says he hopes to bring a unique perspective to his new job.

"I think one area that CDT has been really successful [in] is being advocates of areas where there are a lot of questions -- a lot of gray area -- and trying to sort out what should be done by law enforcement, what should be done by civil agencies, what can be done by companies . . . What should be done through the standards process. I think that that work, especially with combating spyware and working on privacy issues, really will help me move forward into government."

He says he, of course, expects a learning curve, but, overall, is really excited to start his new gig.