The U.S. government on Thursday threw its weight behind an emerging standard that could simplify personal communications by providing a single point of contact for telephone and Internet communications.

The Department of Commerce said it will support an electronic-numbering system, known as ENUM, which would allow consumers to specify a single identifier for their telephone numbers, e-mail and Instant Messaging (news – web sites) addresses, fax numbers, and mobile phone numbers.

In a letter to the State Department, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Nancy Victory said the U.S. should endorse the effort but work to ensure that users’ privacy and security will be protected and innovation and competition would be encouraged.