The U.S. Commerce Department wants to know more about how the Internet economy impacts individuals' privacy. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke launched an exploration of the issue yesterday, NetworkWorld reports. A source said the department "seeks to understand whether current privacy laws serve consumer interests and fundamental democratic values." The department will host a public meeting on May 7 and is seeking comments from various sectors and citizens. It hopes to issue a report in early autumn. According to the NetworkWorld report, the Commerce Department has also formed an Internet Policy Task Force that comprises staff members from the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, the International Trade Administration and other entities.