United States International Communications and Information Policy: A Crisis in the Making?

Fascell, Dante B., Schlundt, Virginia M. | January 1, 1983

The arrival of the highly-touted “information age” may precipitate a crisis for the United States if attention is not directed toward the impact of rapidly-changing communications technology on the American economy and society. Most discussions about the implications of the information age have centered on specific problem areas – such as regulation of transborder data flows, allocation of radio frequencies and deregulation of telecommunication services. This Perspective, however, will attempt to provide a cohesive discussion by examining the components of United Stats international communications and information policy, demonstrating their interrelationships, and pinpointing some of the implications of a failure to understand and harness the “information genie.” The scope of this examination must be international because information is not constrained by national borders. Policymakers will be required to synthesize competing and complementary interests in order to develop coherent, rational, and effective policies that will promote United States interests at home and abroad. Ultimately, however, a solution to the problems of the information age will require an activie partnership between the government and the private sector.