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report on Info Hgh meeting in Philly
From: David Farber <farber () central cis upenn edu>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 11:16:55 -0500

From: Gateway Japan Project <gwjapan () umd5 umd edu>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 1995 15:36:29 -0500


 REPORT ON THE WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL OF PHILADELPHIA CONFERENCE:
                 "THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY"


                    Tuesday, January 24, 1995
                        8:30 am - 8:00 pm
                     Wyndham Franklin Plaza
                        Philadelphia, PA




Opening Remarks of Conference Chairman, James Burke, Historian of
Science, Author, Television Producer


Cyberspace has given us the opportunity to change our basic way of
life.  As did the printing press, the information revolution will
provide us a whole new foundation for the conduct of business. 
However, due to limitations of our current world view, it is
presently difficult to envision what these changes will be and how
they will come about.  Nevertheless, it is clear that the old model
of centralized, one-way communication will not be sufficient to
meet the demands of this new world.




Remarks by Gregory Simon, Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to VP Al
Gore


Using projected images, motion pictures and sounds, Mr. Simon
explained how we are information-seeking by nature and how the
demands for new vessels to contain the growing wealth of
information about the microscopic and macroscopic world around and
within us can be filled by the NII/GII.  In addition, the
information highway is exerting unforeseen effects on the world,
such as increasing the demands for democracy, freedom of speech,
interactivity.  In the realm of science as well, computer
technology has led to a "marriage of mathematics and nature,"
where, for example, computer systems are being applied to genetic
research and, conversely, genetic research is being applied to the
development of new algorithms for use by computers.  The outcome of
the information revolution is uncertain for "there is no path -- we
create the path as we walk it."




Panel Session: "Shifting Into Gear: How the Superhighway Will
Change Our Lives at Home, School, and Work"




Walter Bender, Associate Director for Information Technology, MIT
Media Laboratory


We see the same old stuff on satellite TV as we do on the original
networks.  So what's wrong with TV?  Content!  There are four
attributes of information technology: efficiency, timeliness,
convenience, and relevance.  The key to the last item is content. 
The Media Lab focuses on developing information systems for
proximal communities within an emergent process, such as a project
team or an ethnic community.  One example of such appropriate
technology is the community freenet, where low-cost computers are
distributed throughout the community and members provide
information input that is relevant to their needs.  




Jim Snider, Consumer-education Expert and Author, Future Shop


There is a vulgar aura surrounding consumer information services
such as home shopping.  As a result of this view, coverage of these
markets has been neglected.  However, increasing time constraints
on homes and families will lead to increasing use and availability
of shopping services.  We will witness the creation of a new
division of labor in industry between producers of products and
producers of demand for products.  Improved communications between
buyer and seller lead to the reduction of "asymmetries which cause
all sorts of questionable behavior."




Stephen Hamlin, Vice President of Operations, QVC Interactive


QVC is devoted to building long-term relationships with its
customers.  As a result, their home shopping business is booming. 
Online, Internet, and CD-ROMs are the latest trend in business and
many companies are rushing to the on-ramp only to get off at exit
one.  Interactivity is just "this year's fancy phrase for
repackaging" the old model of doing business.  QVC will not force
their model of business into new vehicles though they will make
judicious use of these vehicles.




Bernard Luskin, Vice Chair, The Mind Extension University


The information superhighway brings us merger mania and billion
dollar businesses envisioning trillion dollar businesses.  Debate
rages as to whether to go to TV or PCs.  In fact, the difference is
irrelevant as TVs become interactive and computers provide
television.  Four applications of the new information technology
are: home shopping, video entertainment, games, and education.  The
Mind Extension University provides video on demand for "distance
education."




Michael Emmi, Chairman and CEO, Systems and Computer Technology,
Inc.


There are three kinds of companies on the information highway:
technology-based companies (IBM, AT&T), tools companies (Microsoft,
Oracle), and know-how companies (SCT).  SCT provides information
and services concerning the administration of educational services
on the information highway.




Joseph Moore, Acting President, Franklin Institute Science Museum


How do you conduct science education five years before the 21st
century?  Move beyond books to hands-on learning.  The Franklin
Institute in Philadelphia has provided hands-on learning for over
sixty years.  The Institute's Science Learning Network is an
interactive online information resource network providing world
wide web and CD-ROM library services to six schools in six cities
around the United States.  




Anne Wells Branscomb, Communications Lawyer, Harvard University


The outcome of the information revolution is uncertain.  The
information highway may become a democratic agora or an
intellectual diaspora.  Many problems, including that of privacy,
remain to be resolved.  The audience represents the core of the
decisionmakers.  However, the results of a hand-raising experiment
demonstrated that while everyone has a computer, very few have
actually surfed the Internet (as opposed to just using e-mail). 
This may be a bad omen.




"Is There Danger on the Information Superhighway?"  A Debate
Between Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate, and Peter Huber, Senior
Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, moderated by
Steven Levy, author of _Hackers_.


Nader proposed four categories of thinkers about technology: the
"Technotwits" (who speak "Technotwitese"), the "Technofixers," the
"Technoskeptics," and the "Technophobes."  Nader considers Huber to
be a Technofixer, while Nader comes off as a cross between
Technoskeptic and Technophobe.  Nader is concerned about 1) the
concentration of commercial, corporate cooption/control of the
media; 2) privacy risks, particularly regarding computerized credit
information; and 3) lack of real democracy due to the cost of
access.  He points out that the Internet was started by the
government, who we want off our backs, and is now being taken over
by corporate forces to commercialize it.  He reminds us not to
trust the government, given the way government has traditionally
hoarded and withheld information, and considers the commercial
media to be a "vast wasteland" of "low-level sensuality," and
believes that it's focus on games and entertainment inhibit the
education of children.  He would like to see more citizens'
channels and more coverage of labor and consumer issues.


Huber recognized Nader's time-honored alarm calls, but says that
Nader was beaten to the punch by Orwell.  The only problem is that
Orwell turned out to be wrong -- about the technology, which is not
centralized (consider the microprocessor and the Internet), and
about the threats, which are directed more at those in power than
the people (consider the effect of the last information revolution,
the printing press).  Huber opposes all monopolies and advocates
decentralization of the information highway.  He wishes to see the
cable, telephone, and computer interests converging on and
competing for the information marketplace.  In response to Nader's
recommended reading of _The_Gutenberg_Elegies_ as a counter companion
to Huber's _Orwell's_Revenge_, Huber replied, "I must read that to my
six-year-old when I get home," implying that at least his family is
not educationally deprived by the electronic media.  From the
audience came additional support of the value of the information
highway to education.  University of Pennsylvania Professor David
Farber pointed out that he sees kids writing the way he hasn't seen
in decades, and are using the Internet to make friends in Japan,
Africa, and elsewhere around the world.




Panel Session: Creating a Highway Patrol: Government Regulation,
Equal Access, Ownership, and Privacy




Whitfield Diffie, Distinguished Engineer and Computer Security
Specialist, Sun Microsystems


Diffie asks us rhetorically what everyone does most of all about
security: recognize people, hold private conversations with them,
and sign our signatures.  Today we are moving our culture away from
face-to-face communications toward telecommunications.  Therefore,
we need to be able to preserve the capabilities for privacy and
authentication into this new medium of communication.  He pointed
out the double-edged sword of insecurity: prior restraint (locks,
fences, walls) and accountability (police, community reaction). 
This was represented by the concept of traffic analysis.  In the
old days, communities could watch what was taking place on the
streets; today, with electronic communications, only the police can
monitor traffic.  Do we want this centralization of enforcement
power, where privacy means that "only you and the government know?" 
Public cryptography, as opposed to government-enforced encryption
standards, is one ingredient in the solution to decentralizing
security authority.  Diffie reminds us that the Constitution
permits the government to search for evidence, but does not
guarantee that the government must be able to find it.




Kenneth R. Kay, Executive Director, Computer Systems Policy Project


There are five components to the information infrastructure:
communications, computing, software/applications, information
content, and people.  Unfortunately, the NII is being governed by
communications (FCC) only.  There is a fundamental tension between
industry and government; policies are not going well and the FCC is
not "with it" vis-a-vis telecommunications.  The CSPP proposes a
government/industry partnership with all five components of the
information infrastructure working to produce a vision and to
resolve issues of intellectual property rights, privacy, security
and authentication, universal access, and research and development.




Bradley Stillman, Legislative Counsel, Consumer Federation of
America


There are three principles for the 21st Century: universality,
affordability, and technological neutrality.  Universal service is
covered by the Communications Act of 1934.  The Consumer Federation
of America believes that competitive telecom markets are good for
the consumer, but that local monopolies persist and market forces
are not able to protect consumer interests.  The CFA is interested
in: 1) bringing rates down, 2) redefining basic service, 3)
promoting open systems, 4) protecting privacy, and 5) accepting
convergence but not concentration of technologies.




Walter Henderson, Director, Washington Bureau, NAACP


The NAACP Telecom Task Force recognizes that information is power
and that the telecom revolution is equivalent to the industrial
revolution in its impact on the people.  The NAACP believes that
government has a special responsibility to address gaps in access
to information services.  The Republication Contract with America
has neglected to cover the obligation of government to extend
benefits of the information revolution to all people, and the
Republication leaders appear to be interested only in the needs of
corporate leaders of the telecom industry.  The NAACP asks
government to promote ownership and participation by those outside
the present sphere of control (i.e., minorities) and to emphasize
the protection of basic civil rights.




Scott Charney, Chief, Computer Crimes Unit, Department of Justice


Charney presented the law enforcement perspective of security and
community on the information highway.  Examples of the public risks
are the German hackers described in Clifford Stoll's _Cuckoo's_Egg_,
the Morris Internet worm, and the Legion of Doom hackers group. 
One problem is that many of those accused of computer crimes are
kids who know more than their parents about technology and get into
trouble using that knowledge.  Parents need to get a grip on this
and take the problem out of government hands.  Aside from this,
there are some basic contradictions in the information highway:
security vs. community, anonymity vs. accountability, and privacy
vs. law enforcement.  Another difficult issue is that of
"comingling," that is, using the same computer for multiple
purposes, official and personal, legal and illegal, which makes it
difficult for law enforcement to investigate crimes and seize
evidence.




David Johnson, Chairman of the Board, Electronic Frontier
Foundation


The EFF would like to see private industry rather than government
enforce standards of behavior on the information highway.  An
example of private control is the member agreement common on
commercial online networks.  The Net has its own built-in
mechanisms of self regulation.  However, there are concerns that
limits on the private sector are not as strong as those on
government.  Government will have to develop new laws to deal
appropriately with these concerns.  On the other hand, while sysops
will be able to choose their own rule sets, good or bad, popular
judgment and market forces will lead to wider acceptance of fair
standards.




Panel Session: "Time Zones, Borders, Intellectual Property --
Obsolete?"




David Tudge, Vice President and CFO, INTELSAT


Technical standards and fair share of the satellite communications
market have been developed successfully by international
negotiations.  INTELSAT now has twenty-two satellites around the
globe, providing total global information coverage, including
international news and weather/environmental imaging.  While
technology is now oblivious to international boundaries, national
regulations have become the new barrier to communication.




David J. Farber, Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication
Systems, University of Pennsylvania


Last year at a conference of the International Telecommunications
Union, Al Gore proposed the concept of the GII, and all
participating nations agreed in principle.  However, regarding the
democratizing aspect of the GII, there are differing
interpretations of "democracy," and some nations see only American
colonialism.  John Perry Barlow calls our Bill of Rights "a local
ordinance in cyberspace."  Many governments will continue to
exercise their authority to control access and dissemination of
information deemed threatening or immoral.  While new technologies
are creating new elites and multilevel cultures in developing
nations, circumventing government controls will remain difficult.




Anna-Maria Kovacs, Securities Analyst and Telecommunications VP,
Jarney Montgomery Scott


Who should fund the information highway?  It will become
increasingly difficult for PTTs to maintain high tariffs, let along
continue to exist, in the international competitive marketplace. 
Even Wall Street's control of the market is diffusing due to online
transactions on the global information highway.  Assets are
becoming less tangible over the Net.  A new balance will develop
between fragmentation and concentration and control.




James Jacobs, Director, International Development, GTE Corporation


Established institutions, such as national borders, time zones, and
intellectual property rights, are not going to roll over and play
dead on account of the information highway; they will remain in
place but will be modified to adapt to the new environment. 
Governments can maintain control of broadcasting by threatening the
sources.  "Liberation technology" can have an impact comparable to
major social movements such as liberation theology.  There will
continue to be a push and pull between freedom and control, with
local telecom connections providing the biggest challenge to
central authorities.




Terri Southwick, Office of Legislative and International Affairs,
US Patent and Trademark Office


The NII/GII will not be realized unless content (intellectual
property) is protected domestically and internationally.  The USPTO
Working Group on Intellectual Property has issued a _Green_Paper_on
_Intellectual_Property_and_the_NII_, wherein digital aspects are
raised but not completely answered.  A new report will be issued
"some time," and perhaps new legislative packages will be proposed.




Anthony Rutkowski, Executive Director, The Internet Society


The growth of the Internet continues to be astounding: there are
now 50 thousand networks connecting 4 million computers and 30
million users; the Net as a whole is growing by 10% per month and
World Wide Web services by 60% per month.  The growth of the
Internet seems to be directly correlated to GNP, with those
countries above the norm being more liberalized in comparison with
those below the norm.  The Internet is distributed and
internationally owned, and the Internet Society provides worldwide
coordination.  Many consider the Internet to be the model for the
GII.  "Cosmic" issues include: information boundaries, ownership,
and norms; mega-micro transactions, i.e., the effect of millions of
transactions on a global basis; and the need for guideposts for
resolving conflicts of laws, such as intellectual property.




Panel Session: "Architects of the Information Superhighway"




James A. Unruh, Chairman and CEO, Unisys


Unisys is both a user and provider of network technology on the
information superhighway, having an extensive internal network and
building such public networks as the Hawaii FYI Public Access Net
and the Franklin Institute's Science Learning Network.  The
information superhighway brings us new products, services,
industries, and hopefully new opportunities for citizens regardless
of where they are located.  Public-private cooperation is required
to resolve outstanding problems of interoperability, security and
privacy, intellectual property rights, and competitive market
access.  Government's responsibilities are to create a level
playing field, set policies, and fund demo projects of a social,
but not commercial, nature.




Dennis Patrick, President and CEO, Time Warner Telecommunications


Time Warner provides a Full-Service Network on the information
highway, currently implemented in Orlando, Florida.  Plans are to
upgrade all cable services by 1998 to switched, interactive
broadband (multimedia) technology.  Services will include video on
demand, interactive shopping, interactive games, and news on
demand.  Commoditization of information means easing access to
information.  The main danger is the threat of increased
regulation.  There are legitimate antitrust concerns, but these
should be treated by applying traditional criteria.  The best way
to ensure wider dissemination of goods and assets is to facilitate
competition.  Cable, telephone, and computer services should be
allowed to merge as they will, and these mergers provide new
entities in the competitive marketplace.




Brian L. Roberts, President, Comcast Corporation


From the consumer's point of view, choice sells, and Comcast is
pursuing niche programming.  Most homes are already wired for
cable, and these cables can be easily hooked into fiber optic
networks for bandwidths of billions of bits per second, providing
an infrastructure sufficient to meet the needs of the information
market.  In addition, cordless technology is becoming more widely
used, and this can be incorporated into the network.  Some
regulation is necessary to promote universal access, but
entrepeneurial projects should be permitted to develop and
demonstrate their worth before being hampered by regulations. 
Particular technological standards should not be enforced as it is
impossible to predict the future applications of a given
technology.


END OF REPORT


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