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The CPSR Newsletter, Winter 1994

The CPSR Newsletter

VOLUME 11, NO. 4 & Volume 12, NO. 1


What's inside...

CPSR members gather in Seattle. Page 12

goes to the Institute for Global Communications. Page 19

Vice President Gore is given a copy of CPSR's NII policy paper. Page 13

DIAC '94 AND PDC '94
Calls for particpation. Pages 11 and 24

Serving the Community: A Public Interest Vision of The National Information


The National Information Infrastructure (NII) holds great promise for the
future. The convergence of communications technologies and the expansion of
network services will transform our society and create unparalleled
opportunities. CPSR believes that the benefits of the NII, however, should not
be framed solely in economic or functional terms. The nation's communications
infrastructure should reflect the values of a democratic society. Ultimately,
the success of the NII program will be measured by whether it empowers citizens,
protects individual rights, and strengthens the democratic institutions on which
this country was founded. CPSR believes that the development of the NII must be
guided by a set of principles that reflect public-interest values. CPSR endorses
the principles proposed by the Telecommunications Policy Roundtable, which are
discussed in detail in the body of this report. But principles alone are not
enough. Despite the general agreement surrounding public aims, it remains
unclear whether these goals will be realized. There are many aspects of the NII
planning process that already raise concern, several of which are outlined in
this report:

¥ The NII may fail to provide universal access.

¥ A small number of companies may dominate the network and exert undue influence
on its design and operation.

¥ There is a danger that carriers will control content on the NII.

¥ NII services may emphasize commerce at the expense of communication.

¥ Public access to government information may be restricted.

¥ The NII may fail to provide a vital public space.

¥ The NII may be used to justify the elimination of other essential public

¥ The NII may fail to protect individual privacy.

¥ Global communication using the NII may be restricted.

¥ The hardware structure may be chosen without giving adequate consideration to
the software implications.

To avoid these dangers, it is essential to adopt policy and design guidelines
that will serve the public interest. CPSR makes the following policy
recommendations to the Information Infrastructure Task Force:

¥ Consider the social impact of NII development.

¥ Guarantee equitable and universal access to network services.

¥ Promote widespread economic benefits.

¥ Promote diversity in content markets.

¥ Provide access to government services over the Nll.

¥ Protect the public spaces necessary to foster community development.

¥ Encourage democratic participation in the design and development of the NII.

¥ Think globally rather than nationally.

¥ Guarantee functional integrity throughout the network

¥ NII services may emphasize commerce at the expense of communication. Judging
from the way information networks are used today, people value being on-line
primarily because it gives them new ways to communicate with other people. Much
of the recent discussion of the NII focuses instead on using the network to
market information services. Failure to understand what people want from the NII
may adversely affect the design. Over the past two decades, for example, many
companies have conducted trials of videotext systems focused on shopping and
information retrieval. All have been dismal failures. Now, as we stand poised to
develop the NII, telephone, cable TV, computer, and broadcast companies are
again focusing on providing systems to promote electronic consumerism. Why? Part
of the explanation is that, just as engineers tend to emphasize the engineering
aspects of what they design, business people tend to emphasize the business
aspects. Most Americans are neither engineers nor business people. The NII must
be designed to meet the needs of all.

¥ Public access to government information may be restricted. In recent years,
more and more public information has been turned over to private companies for
distribution. In the absence of pricing regulations, much of this information
has become unavailable except to the well-funded. If the trend toward
privatization continues, the NII will be unable to satisfy its enormous
potential as a source of public information.

¥ The NII may fail to provide a vital public space. In recent years, public
participation in the political process and civic life has eroded considerably.
By providing a framework for communication and community-building, the NII has
the potential to reverse this trend. To achieve that potential, individuals and
groups that represent the public interest must be an integral part of the NII
design process. Otherwise, the NII is unlikely to meet the needs of that

¥ The NII may be used to justify the elimination of other essential public
services. Although increased access to information can benefit and empower
everyone in society, it is important to recognize that there are many other
problems in society that the NII will not address. For example, making
government documents available through the NII does not eliminate the need for
reference librarians any more than providing online medical advice eliminates
the need for local doctors.

¥ The NII may fail to protect individual privacy. As the NII develops and the
amount of data accessible through the network grows, concerns about individual
privacy become more pressing. Using the NII, government agencies and private
companies would have unprecedented opportunities to gather and disseminate
information about individuals. If no protections are built into the
infrastructure to guard against abuse, such data collection threatens to erode
the rights of citizens.

Similarly, if the network itself does not protect the privacy of its users, they
will be unable to communicate freely.

¥ Global communication using the NII may be restricted. Even more than the
networks of today, the NII will be global in its scope. Moreover, by providing a
common medium for international exchange of information, the NII will open up
unparalleled opportunities for economic, scientific, and cultural exchange. To
take full advantage of those opportunities, however, the NII must support and
encourage international participation. Unfortunately, there is some danger
policymakers will use economic competitiveness or national security to justify
restrictions on international traffic. While imposing such restrictions may
benefit a particular industry or special interest, it also runs the serious risk
of isolating the United States from the international electronic marketplace,
cutting us off from the enormous benefits that come from greater cooperation in
this area.

¥ The hardware structure may be chosen without giving adequate consideration to
the software implications. The NII requires considerable investment in physical
connections, transmission lines, switching stations, and other forms of
computing hardware. Even so, the most important challenges in the NII design lie
elsewhereÑin the software that makes it both powerful and easy to use. All too
often, hardware considerations are allowed to dominate the initial design of
such a project, to the point that the hardware choices end up placing severe
constraints on what the software can achieve.

An imaginative view of the risks of an NII designed without sufficient attention
to public-interest needs can be found in the modern genre of dystopian fiction
known as "cyberpunk." Cyberpunk


VOLUME 11, No. 4 & Volume12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

1. Universal access. All people should have affordable access to the information

2. Freedom to communicate. The information infrastructure should enable all
people to effectively exercise their fundamental right to communicate.

3. Vital civic sector The information infrastructure must have a vital civic
sector at its core.

4. Diverse and competitive marketplace. The information infrastructure should
ensure competition among ideas andinformation providers.

5. Equitable workplace. New technologies should be used to enhance the quality
of work and to promote equity in the workplace.

6. Privacy. Privacy should be carefully protected and extended.

7. Democratic policy-making. The public should be fully involved in
policy-making for the information infrastructure.

Our experiences as both designers and users of networking systems lead us to
formulate an additional principle:

8. Functional integrity. The functions provided by the NII must be powerful,
versatile, well- documented, stable, reliable, and extensible.

Part 3 of this report elaborates on these eight principles.


The principles outlined above are widely accepted. In public discussions of the
NII, most participants embrace a similar set of goals. For example, much the
same principles are expressed in the "Agenda for Action" paper issued by the
NTIA and in position papers issued by the telecommunications industry. At the
level of general goals, there is broad consensus throughout the United States
that the NII cannot be limited to the commercial sphere but must also serve the
public interest.

The success of the NII program will depend on the extent to which it empowers
all citizens, protects individual rights, and strengthens the democratic
institutions on which this country was founded'

As members of CPSR, we are encouraged by this consensus. We also recognize that
stating a goal and achieving it are profoundly different things. Despite the
general agreement regarding the public- interest principles, it is not yet clear
how much those principles will influence the design of the NII. There are many
other factors involved. When private interests conflict with the public
interest, decisions must inevitably be made. In some cases, the decisions may
make it difficult to satisfy public- interest principles, no matter how widely
those principles are held. After listening to much of the early debate
concerning the NII, we have identified the following areas of concern:

¥ The NII may fail to provide universal access. The principle of universal
access is much easier to articulate than to achieve. If network connections are
not readily available, particularly in rural or economically disadvantaged
areas, the NII will fail to serve those communities. If the pricing structure is
not carefully designed, individuals and public institutions lacking the
necessary resources may be frozen out. Even if the network itself is accessible
at a reasonable price, the NII will remain outside the reach of most
nontechnical users unless training programs and well-designed software tools are
available. It is critical that the designers of the NII undertake the necessary
measures to ensure full network access to people in all sectors of the United

¥ A small number of companies may dominate the network and exert undue influence
on its design and operation. The NII is an extremely large and ambitious program
that will require substantial investment on the part of' private companies who
undertake the task of providing the physical infrastructure. Because of the
enormous scale of the project, barriers to entry into the carrier market will be
high, creating a situation in which it is difficult to rely on market forces to
ensure effective competition. If a small number of companies end up dominating
the market, it will be harder to guard against monopolistic tendencies in that
market and to ensure that the public-interest goals are met.

¥ There is a danger that carriers will control content on the Nll. The enormous
economic potential of the NII lies not in the network infrastructure itself but
rather in the information and services that infrastructure carries. Even so, the
carriers that own the network may seek to control the content that flows through
it. Of serious concern, along with more traditional forms of censorship, is the
danger that carriers may give preference to content that they control. The
economic history of the United States provides convincing evidence that it is
difficult to provide an equitable marketplace for content providers when single
companies are allowed to control both carrier and content.

¥ NII services may emphasize commerce at the expense of communication. Judging
from the way information networks are used today, people value being on-line
primarily because it gives them new ways to communicate with other people. Much
of the recent discussion of the NII focuses instead on using the network to
market information services. Failure to understand what people want from the NII
may adversely affect the design. Over the past two decades, for example, many
companies have conducted trials of videotext systems focused on shopping and
information retrieval. All have been dismal failures. Now, as we stand poised to
develop the NII, telephone, cable TV, computer, and broadcast companies are
again focusing on providing systems to promote electronic consumerism. Why? Part
of the explanation is that, just as engineers tend to emphasize the engineering
aspects of what they design, business people tend to emphasize the business
aspects. Most Americans are neither engineers nor business people. The NII must
be designed to meet the needs of all.

¥ Public access to government information may be restricted. In recent years,
more and more public information has been turned over to private companies for
distribution. In the absence of pricing regulations, much of this information
has become unavailable except to the well-funded. If the trend toward
privatization continues, the NII will be unable to satisfy its enormous
potential as a source of public information.

¥ The NII may fail to provide a vital public space. In recent years, public
participation in the political process and civic life has eroded considerably.
By providing a framework for communication and community-building, the NII has
the potential to reverse this trend. To achieve that potential, individuals and
groups that represent the public interest must be an integral part of the NII
design process. Otherwise, the NII is unlikely to meet the needs of that

¥ The NII may be used to justify the elimination of other essential public
services. Although increased access to information can benefit and empower
everyone in society, it is important to recognize that there are many other
problems in society that the NII will not address. For example, making
government documents available through the NII does not eliminate the need for
reference librarians any more than providing online medical advice eliminates
the need for local doctors.

¥ The NII may fail to protect individual privacy. As the NII develops and the
amount of data accessible through the network grows, concerns about individual
privacy become more pressing. Using the NII, government agencies and private
companies would have unprecedented opportunities to gather and disseminate
information about individuals. If no protections are built into the
infrastructure to guard against abuse, such data collection threatens to erode
the rights of citizens.

Similarly, if the network itself does not protect the privacy of its users, they
will be unable to communicate freely.

¥ Global communication using the NII may be restricted. Even more than the
networks of today, the NII will be global in its scope. Moreover, by providing a
common medium for international exchange of information, the NII will open up
unparalleled opportunities for economic, scientific, and cultural exchange. To
take full advantage of those opportunities, however, the NII must support and
encourage international participation. Unfortunately, there is some danger
policymakers will use economic competitiveness or national security to justify
restrictions on international traffic. While imposing such restrictions may
benefit a particular industry or special interest, it also runs the serious risk
of isolating the United States from the international electronic marketplace,
cutting us off from the enormous benefits that come from greater cooperation in
this area.

¥ The hardware structure may be chosen without giving adequate consideration to
the software implications. The NII requires considerable investment in physical
connections, transmission lines, switching stations, and other forms of
computing hardware. Even so, the most important challenges in the NII design lie
elsewhereÑin the software that makes it both powerful and easy to use. All too
often, hardware considerations are allowed to dominate the initial design of
such a project, to the point that the hardware choices end up placing severe
constraints on what the software can achieve.

An imaginative view of the risks of an NII designed without sufficient attention
to public-interest needs can be found in the modern genre of dystopian fiction
known as "cyberpunk." Cyberpunk novelists depict a world in which a handful of
multinational corporations have seized control, not only of the physical world,
but of the virtual world of cyberspace. The middle-class in these stories is
sedated by a constant stream of mass-market entertainment that distracts them
from the drudgery and powerlessness of their lives. It doesn't take a novelist's
imagination to recognize the rapid concentration of power and the potential
danger in the merging of major corporations in the computer. cable, television,
publishing, radio, consumer electronics, film, and other industries. We would be
distressed to see an NII shaped .solely by the commercial needs of the
entertainment, finance, home shopping, and advertising


CPSR believes that the principles outlined previously provide a standard by
which to judge the success of the NII. If the design meets those principles, the
NIT will indeed serve the public interest, revitalizing our communities and the
nation as a whole. On the other hand, if the potential dangers are ignored, the
NII may tall short of its goals and thereby fail to bring the power of the
information age into everyone's reach.


CPSR has developed a set of recommendations that we feel will help avoid many of
the pitfalls outlined in the preceding section. Although there is some overlap,
we have divided our recommendations into two groups. The first, directed
primarily to the Information Infrastructure Task Force and other governmental
agencies responsible for oversight and administration of the NII, consists of
recommendations concerning policy. The second is directed toward designers and
addresses more technical aspects of the NII.


CPSR agrees with the conclusion expressed in the NTIA document that "the
government has an essential role to play" in the development of the Nll. We
believe that the NII cannot meet its public-policy objectives without some
combination of government initiative and regulation. In particular, we recommend
that the Administration seek to establish the following general policies.

¥ Consider- the social impact. Beginning with the initial design, the
Administration must evaluate the
impact of the NII on the society at large. It is essential to conduct

periodic reviews as the NII is Implemented and used to
ensure that it continues to serve the public interest.

¥ Guarantee equitable and universal access. To the extent that free-market
principles cannot guarantee
affordable access to a full range of NII services, the Administration

must be publicly accountable for the achievement of this
goal through some appropriate mix of legislation,
regulation. taxation. and direct subsidies.

¥ Promote widespread economic benefits. The Administration should evaluate
the NII's economic
success using measures that reflect its impact on the economy as a whole, not
merely the profits of NII
investors and service providers.

¥ Promote diversity in content markets. The Administration must recognize
the distinction between the
carrier of NII information services and the content that is carried over that
infrastructure. In
economic terms, the greatest potential of the NII lies in the marketplace it
will create for content
services, and the Administration must take whatever steps are necessary to
ensure that the content
market is both fair and open.

¥ Provide access to government services and information over the Nll. The
Clinton/Gore technology
announcement of February 1993 explicitly recognizes that information technology
can "dramatically
improve the way the Federal Government serves the people," thereby making the
government "more
cost-effective, efficient, and 'user-friendly."' The Administration must
continue to make provision of
government services a central aspect of the NII design.

¥ Protect public spaces. The Administration should promote the development
of a vital civic sector by
ensuring resources, training, and support for public spaces within the NII where
citizens can pursue
noncommercial activities.

¥ Encourage democratic participation. Government must prevent concentrations
of economic power
from controlling the design of the NII and the operational "rules of the game."
Decisions that affect the
public's use of the NII must be conducted openly and democratically. To this
end, the Administration
must ensure full public disclosure and actively promote democratic
decision-making. In addition, the
Administration should ensure that any committees, such as the
soon-to-be-appointed Advisory Council
on the National Information Infrastructure, include sufficient representation
from the public-interest
community to ensure effective participation and to reflect the diversity of that

¥ Think globully. The Administration should actively facilitate the seamless
connection of America's
NII with the information infrastructures of other nations by working to resolve
such issues as
security, censorship, tariffs, and privacy. Moreover, the NII should not be
limited to the United States
and the highly industrialized nations of Europe and the Pacific Rim. Because
communication and
information are vital resources for all nations, it is in the common interest to
help the developing
countries become part of the global information infrastructure.

continued on page 6


Volume 11, No. 4 & VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 5

¥ Guarantee functional integrity. To

the extent that market forces alone

cannot guarantee that the design
recommendations discussed in the
following section will be achieved,
the Administration should take
appropriate steps to ensure that the
NII design satisfies these critical
technical, functional, and safety

Our breadth of experience with
existing networks and communications
technology lead us to make the following
recommendations about the technical
aspects of NII design:

¥ Emphasize ease of use. Existing

computer networks have fallen

short of serving the public interest
because they are difficult for
nonexperts to use. The most
significant challenge facing NII
designers is to reduce the barriers
to entry into the information
network that the NII provides, so
that using the NII for simple
inquiries becomes as easy as using
the telephone.

¥ Provide full service to homes,

workplaces, and community

centers. From the beginning, NII
designers must strive to provide a
high level of service to users where
they live and workÑto private
homes, libraries, community
centers, and businesses. If the
public at large is offered only
restricted, second-class service, the
NII will be unable to serve as a
medium for individual and
community empowerment.

¥ Enable all users to act as both

producers and consumers. Perhaps

the greatest strength of existing
networks is the opportunity for all
participants to act as both
producers and consumers of new
products and information.

By making it easy for individuals and small groups to develop new on-line
services, today's networks display a vitality and openness that is difficult to
find in other media. Individual initiative and entrepreneurship must continue to
be supported in the NII design.

¥ Address privacy and security issues

from the beginning. As is the case with reliability, it is difficult to
implement privacy and security as an afterthought. In order to provide
sufficient safeguards, it is essential that privacy and security be considered
throughout the NII design.

¥ Develop open and interoperable

standards. The NII will never be a single, static entity. It will instead
continue to grow, driven in part by the general progress of technology and the
extension of service to developing networks throughout the world. The NII
community must develop standards that facilitate the growth of the network and
allow for the broadest possible participation in the process.

¥ Encourage experimentation and

evolution. On the basis of our experience with existing networks, it is clear
that the most significant source of new network services and capabilities will
consist of contributions by the NII users themselves. Many of the facilities
that are now considered part of the core of the network were once experimental
projects. Someone using the network recognized a need, developed a new service
in response to that need, and then made that service available to others. As the
community of users expanded, the service was then refined and standardized to
the point that it became a widely accepted tool. The NII must allow for and
encourage the same sort of experimentation and evolutionary development.

¥ Require high reliability,. As use of

the network expands into more and

more sectors of the economy, the
need for high reliability and fault-tolerance will become increasingly
important. To meet the
requirements of its users, reliability
must be a central theme of the
design at every stage of the


Although the National Information
Infrastructure will be larger, more
powerful, and more widely used than
current computer networks, it is
important to recognize that the
underpinnings of such an infrastructure
already exist in the United States today.
In fact, it is difficult to go through a day
without using some part of the existing
information infrastructure. We use a
computer network every time we make a
phone call, watch TV, listen to the radio,
get cash from an automated teller
machine, reserve an airplane ticket, or
pay with a credit card.
Despite the pervasiveness of computer
networks, relatively few people
understand them in any detail. As
computer professionals, the members of
CPSR have extensive experience
working with networks as both users and
designers. As citizens, we recognize that
technical issues are only a part of the
design considerations. Public policy
issues must be considered as well. To
enable everyone to participate effectively
in the debate over public policy, it is
important for us to share our technical
The NII of tomorrow will evolve from
the networks of today. It will
incorporate the services currently offered
by cable companies, the telephone
system, and broadcast media. Yet we

VOLUME 11, NO. 4 & VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

expect that, in many technical ways, the NII will more closely resemble existing
general-purpose networks that link computers throughout the world. Transmission
using the NII will be digital, not analog as many of these media are today. Data
will travel in individual packets and not through the dedicated circuits that
have traditionally been used for telephone communication. Information will flow
in both directions, in contrast to its behavior in the broadcast media. These
are all characteristics of existing computing networks, which makes them a
useful model for the NII.

The closest existing analogue to our vision of the NII is the Internet, a loose
confederacy of computer networks that can exchange data freely. Understanding
the InternetÑwhat it is, how it works, where it has succeeded, and what its
shortcomings have beenÑmakes it easier to comprehend the challenges that face
the designers of the NII. This part of the report provides an analysis of the
Internet, which serves as background for the recommendations in Part 3.


Although the Internet incorporates many different networks with different
histories, the current system can be traced directly to the ARPANET project,
which provided the first large-scale demonstration of a new digital
communications technology called packet-switching. Beginning in 1968, the
Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the Department of Defense provided
grants to several universities and corporations to develop a nationwide digital
communications medium separate from the existing telephone system. The purpose
of the ARPANET was to link researchers at different sites and allow them to
share hardware and software resources. Using the ARPANET, those researchers
could send electronic mail to each other, transfer files of information from one
site to another, and connect directly to a system that might be hundreds or
thousands of miles away.

The early ARPANET experiment was quite successful and led to a dramatic growth
in network technology. When the ARPANET first became operational in late 1969,
the entire network consisted of four computers. After the first ten years of
operation, the number of connected computers expanded to more than 100. At that
point, however, the ARPANET began to exceed the capacity permitted by its
initial design. As is usually the case with large, computer-based systems, the
main problems were not in the physical hardware that comprised the network, but
in the software-based procedures and conventions established to facilitate
communication, which are known as "protocols." The original ARPANET protocols
were not flexible enough to accommodate the ongoing expansion of the ARPANET
itself or permit other networks to connect easily into the ARPANET framework.

In the late 1970s, a new family of message protocols was designed to address
these problems. These new protocols were formalized in 1980, and their use
became an ARPANET requirement in 1983. The most basic of the new protocols are
the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), which
together provide the facility by which computers can exchange messages. In
addition to the TCP and IP protocols, the extended protocol family includes the
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), and a
protocol to allow users to connect directly to and use a remote machine

Many computer operators quickly adopted TCP/IP as the message protocol for their
systems. Those who could not convertÑeither because TCP/IP required faster
hardware or because they did not have control over their system softwareÑcould
still use TCP/IP by connecting to a "gateway" machine that converted the local

continued on page 8

CPSR wants YOU! be a part of the CPSR Experts List.

The National Office keeps a directory of CPSR members who have expertise on
privacy and civil liberties, the NII, technology policy, ethics, women and
computing, and much more.

The directory is a resource for staff use. It is for referrals to reporters and
others who call for information about CPSR related issues.

If you are interested in volunteering your time in this way, please call Nikki
Draper at 415-322- 3778 or send email to

If you move, please notify the CPSR National Office The CPSR Newsletter is
mailed bulk rate and the postal service will not forward bulk mail.

CPSR PO Box 717 Palo Alto, CA 94301 415-322-3778


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 & VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 7

into the TCP/IP standard. Use of TCP/IP is now widespread in many different
networks because it facilitates communication with an ever-growing community
that shares this common protocol.

Meanwhile, other networks began to come into existence. Because ARPANET access
was restricted to institutions with defense-related contracts, universities
pushed for independent networks. To meet this need, CSNET and BITNET were
created in the 1970s and 1980s to serve different segments of the academic
community. As part of its own process to develop network standards, Europe began
to deploy an information infrastructure of its own, based on another protocol
called X.25. At the same time, several hardware vendors in the United States
developed proprietary network technologies for their own internal use. Because
they used different protocols, many of these networks were initially isolated
from each other. To communicate between different networks, it was necessary to
have one computer linked to two or more networks so that it could serve as a
gateway machine. Using these gateways to transfer data between independent
networks was difficult, because doing so required a thorough understanding of
all the different protocols involved. During this period in network history,
gateways were developed as needed and operated with mixed results.

As the Department of Defense began to reduce ARPANET support in the mid- 1980s,
the National Science Foundation (NSF) stepped in and supported a new networking
structure called NSFNET that was available to universities without restriction
and to commercial concerns for a fee. The NSF also funded five supercomputer
sites and a network of high-speed connections between them. That connection
matrix, with its wide availability and its use of the TCP/IP protocols, allowed
NSFNET to become the "backbone" of an entire collection of networks that is
known collectively as the Internet.

By making it possible for many different networks to communicate with standard
protocols over a common backbone, the deployment of NSFNET accelerated the pace
of network expansion. As of 1993, the Internet has become an enormous global web
linking over 1.5 million computers in more than 50 countries. Data traffic on
the NSFNET backbone doubles every year.


Given the size and importance of the Internet, its management structure is
surprisingly loose and decentralized. To a certain extent, the Internet runs
itself. The community of

unity of

Understanding the


makes it easier

to comprehend the challenges

that face

the designers

of the Nll.

users and institutions connected to the Internet has such a strong interest in
keeping the network running that they perform much of the management themselves.
Even so, a certain amount of additional coordination is required.

The diverse assemblage of over 2000 individual networks is held together by the
Internet Activities Board (IAB). This group serves as the coordinating committee
for Internet design, engineering, and management. The committee has several
functions, including

¥ Defining Internet standards and organizing the process by which standards are

¥ Acting as the Internet's international technical policy liaison

¥ Undertaking strategic planning for the network

¥ Taking advantage of long-range opportunities

¥ Solving problems as they arise

Much of the work of the IAB is done through two subcommittees: the Internet
Engineering Task Force, which manages the evolution of Internet protocols, and
the Internet Research Task Force, which fosters research into new network

The administration of the NSFNET backbone is managed by Merit Inc., which is the
parent organization of the mid-level network connecting state-supported
universities in Michigan. The physical network that forms the backboneÑthe wires
and routing hardwareÑis administered by Advanced Network Services (ANS), which
is a not-for-profit consortium funded jointly by Merit, IBM, and MCI. Commercial
organizations use the Internet through a for-profit subsidiary of ANS called
CO+RE Inc. Access to the NSFNET backbone is given to mid-level networks for a
fee. Universities, corporations, and commercial service providers then buy
access to the mid-level networks on an ability-to-pay basis.

Funding for the Internet is as piecemeal and diverse as the networks it
comprises. Within the NSFNET itself and the regional subnetworks, institutions
generally pay a flat monthly or annual fee based on the speed of the connection.
For universities, some of these costs are met through federal subsidies that pay
for connections to mid-level networks and by federal subsidy of the NSFNET
itself. Commercial users must pay their own way. Because the fee structure is
not based on the volume of traffic, however, institutions do not need to pass
the marginal costs of additional use back to individuals. As a result, the costs
of network services are completely hidden from individual users who use the
Internet through their university or company.

The pricing strategy has a profound effect on the Internet.


VOLUME 11, No. 4 & VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

The fact that individual users are not normally charged for service encourages
use of the network and promotes the development of a more inclusive Internet
community. Moreover, the pricing structure encourages experimentation, which in
turn leads to the development of new software tools that increase the value of
the Internet itself. In certain foreign countries, individual users are charged
based on connect time and traffic volume. This policy has had a noticeably
chilling effect on use abroad. Increasingly, Internet users who obtain access to
the network through commercial services in the United States are charged for
that service in a similar way. If "metered service" becomes the norm,
individuals and public institutions may be disenfranchised. Moreover, the
network may lose the sense of openness and free experimentation that have driven
much of its development in the past.


The Internet has had many profound successes, which must be kept in mind when
designing future networks. The following are among its successes:

¥ The Internet has proven valuable to a large number of users. For any computer
system, one of the best measures of success is the satisfaction of the user
community. By this measure, the Internet has clearly been successful. Individual
users have found the Internet an extraordinarily valuable tool for many
different purposes: communicating with friends and colleagues, sharing data and
software, obtaining access to information, and participating in the development
of new on-line communities. The explosive growth of Internet use is a clear
indication that people find it worthwhile. Since computers all over the world
can instantly store and deliver information at minimal cost, the potential of
the network can only increase.

¥ The structure of the Internet encourages participation and involvement. The
value of the Internet comes primarily from the knowledge and creativity its
users bring to it. Many services. such as bulletin boards and user-generated
archives, are successful only when people contribute to them. By making
individual contribution easy, the Internet has enabled those services to develop
and grow.

¥ The pricing strategy of the encourages experimentation and growth. For users
in universities or companies, access to the Internet usually seems free and
unlimited. Costs of the network are paid by institutions for which individual
researchers and developers work. Because the Internet pricing structure charges
a fixed fee for the institutional connection, most users are not charged for
individual use. This policy, which allows users to peruse the network casually,
has generated forms of interaction that could not flourish in an environment of
usage or connect-time charges.

¥ The Internet is run democratically. Even though the Internet requires some
central coordination, its loose management structure has demonstrated the value
of allowing widespread participation in the process of running the network.
Because each site derives considerable benefit from being a part of the
Internet, individual users and their institutions often feel a strong investment
in its success. This sense of investment on the part of users encourages them to
participate more actively in network maintenance and administration and thereby
leads to more democratic involvement. Moreover, communication on the Internet is
remarkably free from censorship, particularly on bulletin boards and other
network services that provide space for public discussion.

¥ The Internet has demonstrated the value of open, interoperable standards. The
protocols currently in use were designed to coexist with as

continued on page 10

CPSR's National Information Infrastructure Working Group

CPSR has an electronic discussion group on the National Information
Infrastructure. The list is open to any interested members. To subscribe, send
email to In the message type:

SUBSCRIBE CPSR-NIT <your firstname=""> <your lastname="">

You will receive a message that confirms your subscription. After that, you
should begin receiving any messages sent to the group. In order to send messages
to the discussion list, send mail to cpsr- If you have any
problems, send email to


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 9

yet-unknown protocols and to permit evolution. The fact that the TCP/IP network
protocol has enabled the Internet to sustain dramatic growth over the last few
years illustrates the advantages of evolutionary standards.


Despite its considerable successes, the Internet also has certain inadequacies
when viewed as a prototype for the NII. The Internet is dwarfed as a carrier of
data when compared to the size and connectivity of the telephone system. A
number of improvements must be made to transform the Internet into a system that
can serve the whole country inexpensively at high speed. Most of the following
trouble areas are already under investigation.

¥ The Internet is not connected with enough services of general interest.
Although many people find the current Internet to be exciting and rewarding, it
does not provide certain facilities that many people need. For many users, the
facilities provided today seem esoteric and outside of the bounds of their daily
lives. To make the network useful, those individuals need access to social
services, to job-training programs, to better health care, and to communities of
people who share their interests. Making sure that the services provided by the
NII are the ones that people need is perhaps the greatest challenge in its

¥ Individual Internet connections are too expensive and difficult to obtain. The
cost of providing an Internet connection directly to a home is too highÑoften as
much as an automobile. Although service providers offer a compromise allowing
individuals to dial in to a shared Internet connection, such connections usually
offer only a minimum form of interaction. The price of home connection needs to
compare move favorably with telephone or cable TV service.

¥ Human-computer interfaces for the Internet are not yet very sophisticated. A
large development effort needs to take place if extremely sophisticated services
are to be offered to unsophisticated users. The Internet does not yet allow
widespread, easy-to-use multimedia interaction. It is generally aimed at people
who are technically very experienced and knowledgeable. Adding new services
often requires a high level of sophistication that many people do not have.

¥ Information overload is a significant problem. As a network grows, the volume
of information and services available on it also expands. Making use of that
information, however, requires that users be able to find what they need,
without being overwhelmed by massive amounts of data. On the Internet today, the
proliferation of new bulletin boards, discussion lists, information sources, and
tools for retrieving information makes it harder for any user to locate a
specific piece of information and represents a significant barrier to new users.
It is crucial to provide better mechanisms for both finding and limiting
information, especially for the NII, which will be much larger in scale than the

¥ The Internet offers no adequate mechanism for controlling antisocial behavior.
Although free interchange is what makes the Internet valuable, it can sometimes
be annoying. Individuals often abuse the privilege of global communication by
posting silly, trivial, or redundant questions or comments. Commercial concerns
are now contemplating the fact that, at no additional charge over basic Internet
service, they can post electronic mail to absolutely everyone. The low
fixed-price structure will not cope with an influx of advertising, or
individuals capriciously broadcasting messages for their personal amusement to
Internet mailboxes worldwide. Mechanisms need to be evolved to balance, and
enforce, as-yet-unmade policies concerning both freedom of speech and the cost
of speech.

¥ The Internet lacks sufficient mechanisms to guarantee privacy and security.
The Internet does not provide adequate safeguards to ensure privacy and
security. In today's Internet, it is impossible to ensure that individual
communication is kept confidential. In addition, well-publicized attacks on the
network by malicious individuals intent on gaining unauthorized access
underscores the failure of current network security policies.

¥ The current Internet design suffers from several technical problems. Although
the TCP/IP protocols have been extremely successful, there is concern that these
protocols cannot easily be adapted for extremely high-speed machines. Moreover,
the Internet protocols used for routingÑthe process of deciding how to send data
from one network to anotherÑare still experimental. Several competing routing
protocols are in use, which can lead to complicated failures of network routing
as a whole. In addition, several of the existing protocols, including those used
for sending mail and identifying individual machines on the network, are likely
to become unworkable as the network grows. Growth also presents a challenge to
the protocol design, because the number of available IP addresses is too small
for a large global system.


Although the Internet has been an enormous success, the computer science
community is still in the process of discovering how networking can best be
done. Along the way, we have learned many useful lessons that will apply to the
design of the NII as well. These lessons include the following:

continued on page 20


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing 1994 Symposium

Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 23-24

Developing an Equitable and Open Information Infrastructure

The National Information Infrastructure (NII) is proposed as the next-generation
"information superhighway". Academia, libraries, government agencies, media and
telecommunications companies, as well as public interest groups are involved in
the current development efforts. DIAC-94 is a two day symposium to address
public interest issues regarding the NII. The conference will be held on MIT
campus (Building 10-250). The first day of symposium will be devoted to panel
presentations. Proposals for the workshops on the second day are currently being
reviewed. The participant designed workshops will expand on first-day topics or
introduce new themes. DIAC '94 will be broadcast live on public access TV in the
Boston area and broadcast nationally by satellite at a later date. Note: The
program is still in development and may be subject to change.

Benjamin Barber, author of Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New
Age, Herbert Schiller,
author of Who Knows:
Information in the Age of the Fortune 500, and Tom Grundner, founder of the
Free-Net movement.
The Promise and Problems of the Nll. With a small window of opportunity open for
public input, this
panel will address how to
influence the development of the NII for the common good.

Grassroots Initiatives in Community Networking. A look at the many independent
computer network projects around the country serving communities through freely
accessible systems.

Technology and Information Content: Keeping a Public Voice. Once limited to
alternative media, the non- commerical vehicles for communication promise to
provide access to a far broader range of participants. This panel will discuss
current and future access to public communication.

The Directions and implications of NII Policy: More than the technology itself,
editorial control, government regulation, and economic realities will serve to
define the ultimate design of the NII. This panel will explore the implications
of these factors as we rework our informational infrastructure.

Constituencies Speak Out. A cross-sectional examination of successes and
disappointments experienced by K-12 educators, libraries, media, civic and
community organizations.

CPSR Members, $50; Non-CPSR members, $75; Low Income and Student $25.
Registrations are now
being accepted, please
include your name, address, e-mail address, and affiliation along with your
check or money order to:
CPSR/Boston, P.O. Box
962, Cambridge, MA 02142. For more information on the conference or CPSR
membership, contact
Coralee Whitcomb at
617-356-4309 or send email to or Hans Klein at
The Morino Foundation, Apple Library, Apple Corporation, Inc., O'Reilly @
Associates, Inc., The
Internet Society, Center for
Media Education, MIT Communication Forum.
National Public Telecommunications Network, Boston Computer Society, (Social
Impact, Public
Service &amp; Education groups),
Center for Civic Networking, Consortium for School Networks, The New England
Computer &amp; Social
Change Organizing
Committee, The Technology Education Council of Somerville/Somerville Community
Computing Center,
MIT Press, Center
for Art Research.

VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

CPSR Washington



Washington director Marc Rotenberg attended a meeting on telecommunications
policy at the Vice President's office in January and personally handed Vice
President Gore a copy of the CPSR NII report Serving the Community. A Public
Interest Vision of the National Information Infrastructure. The meeting provided
an opportunity for representatives of the public interest community and the
private sector to meet with the Vice President and Secretary of Commerce Ron
Brown regarding the NII program.


Senator Simon (D-IL) has introduced legislation to establish a privacy agency in
the United States. The bill would create a privacy board to oversee government
compliance with the Privacy Act, develop model guidelines for the private
sector, and act as an ombudsman for privacy matters within the federal

CPSR testified in support of a similar proposal in 1989. Senator Simon's bill
has a good chance of passage. The National Performance Review, the Vice
President's report on reinventing government, recommended the creation of a
privacy agency, and the Information Infrastructure Task Force appear headed
toward a similar recommendation.

(More information about the proposal may be found at the CPSR Internet Library,


The Information Infrastructure Task Force Advisory Council was named in January.
The twenty-seven member group, predominantly representatives from the private
sector, will advise the White House on NII issues. The co-chairs are Silicon
Graphics CEO Ed McCracken and National Public Radio President Delano Lewis.

The administration is now making a wide range of documents about the Information
Infrastructure Task Force available electronically. For general information -
and to speak to a person, call 202-4821835. The BBS number is 202-5011927 and
the IITF gopher is located at


A letter from CPSR to the President, signed by many leading cryptographers and
computer security experts, has asked that the President withdraw the Clipper
proposal. The letter cites the potential impact of privacy, security,
innovation, and open government. CPSR has now started an electronic petition
drive for others who like to sign the petition. Send email to with the statement "I oppose clipper" in the first
line of the message.

A long expected report on cryptography prepared by the National Security Council
should be out by the end of February. Unfortunately, much of the report will be
classified and off limits to the general public. CPSR has filed a FOIA request
for this report and is prepared to go to court to demand its release if

Classification is also a problem with a proposed study on cryptography to be
undertaken by the National Research Council. The two-year review is likely to
explore a wide range of cryptography issues and to draw on much expert opinion,
but clearance requirements for panel members and classified sections are almost
certain to skew the final recommendations. Isn't the Cold War over?


The Telecommunications Policy Roundtable held a press conference at the National
Press Club in mid- October to announce the creation of a national coalition
concerned about the development of a public interest vision of the National
Information Infrastructure. CPSR joined with more than one hundred other
organizations in support for the TPR principles. (The principles are described
in detail in the CPSR report, Serving the Community).


Many of the hottest information policy issues will be discussed at the fourth
annual CFP conference in Chicago, March 23-26. Contact CFP '94, John Marshall
Law School, 315 South Plymouth Court, Chicago IL 60604 for more information.


VOLUME 11, NO. 3 The CPSR Newsletter FALL 1993

CPSR Literature &amp; Electronic Resources

Sourcebook on Cryptography Policy. by Dave Banisar &amp; Marc Rotenberg.

Contains anaylsis of cryptography policy by CPSR staff, internal government
documents obtained by CPSR under the Freedom of Information Act, portions of
congressional hearings and other materials. Topics covered include the Clipper
Chip, the Digital Telephony Proposal, the Computer Security Act of 1987, Export
Controls, and new innovations in cryptographic technology. June 1993, 450 page .
$50.00. (available from the Washington office. 202-544-9240 or

Setting a New Course for Science and Technology Policy. Executive Summary of The
21st Century Project Report. by Gary Chapman &amp; Joel Yudkin.

Describes and critiques an emerging post-Cold War paradigm for science and
technology policy. July 1993, 195 pages. $ 15.00.

PARTICIPATORY DESIGN: Principles and Practices. Edited by Douglas Schuler &amp; Aki

This collection is characterized by diverse points of view that share a
distinctive spirit - a more humane, creative, and effective relationship between
those involved in technology's design and those who use technology in their
everyday lives and work. December 1992, 312 pages,paperback book. $29.95.

PDC '92. Proceedings from the 1992 Conference on Participatory Design. Edited by
Sarah Kuhn, Judith A. Meskill, &amp; Michael M. Muller.

A collection of papers and workshop guidelines from the second U.S. conference
on Participatory Design. November 1992, 198 pages. $20.00.

Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing: Proceedings from the DIAC '92
Conference. Edited by Douglas Schuler.

Contains articles on intellectual property, designing local civic networks and
community communication with computers, and virtual realities. Softcover, 225
pages. $20.00

Computers and Social Responsibility: A Collection of Course Syllabi. Edited by
Terry Winograd &amp; Batya Friedman.

Includes sections on social implications of computing, ethics for computer
professionals, computers in the arts, computers in the third world, and
computers in education. 1990, 143 pages. $15.00.

A Computer &amp; Information Technologies Platform. by The Peace and Justice Working
Group, CPSR/Berkeley.

Describes a possible program for research, development, and implementation of
computer and information technologies that will move towards resolving our most
pressing social needs. October 1992, 30 pages. $4.00.

Electronic Resources

CPSR has a list server to archive CPSR related materials and to quickly
disseminate official, short CPSR announcements. We encourage you to subscribe
and publicize the server widely. To subscribe, send email to
with the follow ‚ ƒ „ … † ‡ ˆ ‰ Š ‹ Œ  Ž   ‘
’ “ ” • – — ˜ ™ š › œ  ž Ÿ ¡ ¢ £ ¤ ¥
¦ § ¨ © ª « ­ ® ¯ ° ± ² ³ ´ µ · ¸ ¹
º » ¼ ½ ¾ ¿ À Á Â Ã Ä Å Æ Ç È É Ê Ë Ì Í
Î Ï Ð Ñ Ò Ó Ô Õ Ö × Ø Ù Ú Û Ü Ý Þ ß à á
â ã ä å æ è ýÿÿÿé ê ë ì í î ï ð ñ ò ó ô õ
ö ÷ ø ù ú û ü ý þ ÿ ing message written on one line:

SUBSCRIBE CPSR-ANNOUNCE &lt; firstname&gt; &lt; lastname&gt;

You will get a message that confirms your subscription. If you have a problem
with the list server, please send email to To find out what
other email lists are available on

and how to join them, send email to with the message: LIST

The CPSR ALERT, an electronic newsletter from Washington, D.C., is publishing
again. The Alert covers the latest news from the Washington office.

The Alert is distributed through CPSR-Announce. To subscribe, follow the
instructions for the list. Back issues of The Alert are available at the CPSR
Internet Library FTP/WAIS/Gopher

CPU. Working in the Computer Industry is a moderated forum dedicated to sharing
information among workers in the computer industry. CPU is a project

of the CPSR/Berkeley working group, Working in the Computer Industry. To
subscribe, send email to, with the following message written
on one line:

SUBSCRIBE CPSR-CPU <firstname> <lastname>

CPU can also be found via anonymous ftp from in /cpsr/work.

CPSR/PDX is a publication of CPSR/Portland and is edited by Erik Nilsson. The
newsletter covers national and regional issues of interest to computer
professionals. PDX is published approximately monthly. For correspondence or
subscription requests, email:


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994


January 1994

During the spring of 1994, CPSR will hold elections for eight positions on its
Board of Directors:

Chair (3 years) Secretary (2 years) Treasurer ( l year) Director-at-Large (3

New England Director (3 years) Middle Atlantic Director (3 years) Western
Regional Director (2 years) Midwestern Regional Director (1 year)

The three-year positions, Chair and Director-at-Large, are regularly scheduled
elections; the remaining positions arise from resignations over the last two
years. Candidates elected to these positions will fill the remainder of the
term, which is noted along with the office. All positions take effect on July l,

Any member of the organization may run for the offices of Chair, Secretary,
Treasurer, and Director- at-Large. Regional Directors are nominated by CPSR
chapters in the appropriate region, with each chapter entitled to make no more
than two nominations. A letter describing the role of Regional Director and
outlining the nomination process will be sent to all chapters in the regions
holding elections this year: New England (Boston, Maine, New Haven), Middle
Atlantic (New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington), Midwestern (Chicago,
Madison, Milwaukee, Minnesota), and Western (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Palo Alto,
Santa Cruz, and San Diego). If you are a member of one of these chapters and are
interested in this position, please contact your chapter officers.

Under the bylaws, nominations for CPSR officers are made by the CPSR Board or by
petition from 2% of the members. In practice, the Board has approved the
nomination of any member in good standing who seeks any of these positions and
submits a statement of candidacy, as outlined below.

All nominations must be accompanied by a statement from the candidate which will
be printed in the election ballot. This statement should be written in two
parts: (1) a description of the candidate's background and qualification,
including educational and employment history in the computer profession, past
work with CPSR, and any relevant experience, and (2) a brief policy statement
outlining the candidate's perspective on the CPSR program and the issues facing
the organization. The combined length of these sections must not exceed 500

Nominations for any of the above positions must be received in the CPSR National
Office by March 31, 1994. Ballots will be mailed to all members by April 15 and
must be returned to the CPSR office by May 31, 1994. For more information, call
the national office at 415-322-3778 or write to: CPSR, P.O. Box 717, Palo Alto,
CA 94302. Our email address is


VOLUME 11, NO. 3 The CPSR Newsletter FALL 1993

Chapter Contacts


Jim Grant 806 Martin Luther King Drive Abbeville, LA 70510 318-231 -5226 /


We are looking for volunteers. If you are interested, call 415-322-3778 or send
email to


Dave Kadelcek P.O. Box 28562 Oakland, CA 94604 510-272-7042 /


Tom Thornton 2 Newland Road Arlington, MA 02174 617-621-0060 /


Don Goldhamer 528 S. Humphrey Oak Park, ll 60304 312-702-7] 66


David Black 3121 Seventh Street Boulder, CO 80304 303-673-3554 /


Rodney Hoffman 4022 Elderbank Drive Los Angeles, CA 90031 213-259-2560 /


Judith Wester CPSR, Loyola University City College, Box 14 6363 St. Charles
Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118 504-895-3613


Sam Bates 1406 Drake Street #1 Madison, WI 53711 608-262-2542 /


Kent Gordon 46 High Bluff Road Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107 207-799-8236


Dave Rasmussen 2015 E Kenwood Boulevard Milwaukee, WI 53211-3310 414-229-5133


Roger Rydberg 3225 Wellington Lane Plymouth, MN 55441 612-540-4818


Larry Wright I Brook Hill Road Hamden, CT 06514 203 -248-7664

NEW YORK David Friedlander 1781 Riverside Drive New York, NY 10034 212-942-1156

PALO ALT0 Lucy Suchman Xerox PARC 3333 Coyote Hill Road Palo Alto, CA 94340


We are looking for volunteers. If you are interested, call 415-322-3778 or send
email to


Susan Finger Civil Engineering, CMU 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-268-8828 /


Steve Biederman 8086 S.W. 66th Avenue Portland, OR 97223 503-293- 1633


Paul Kube 3245 Dale San Diego, CA 92104 619 534-4973 /


Alan Schlenger 419 Rigg Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060 408-459-4641 /


Doug Schuler 2202 N. 41st Street Seattle, WA 98103 206-865-3832


Larry Hunter 2921 Terrace Drive Chevy Chase, MD 20815 301 -496-9300 hunter@


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 THE CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

CPSR's 1993 Annual Meeting October 16 and 17,1993

Aki Namioka and Marsha Woodbury CPSR Board of Directors

CPSR held its '93 Annual Meeting at the University of Washington in Seattle. The
local chapter of CPSR. spearheaded by Northwestern Regional Director Aki
Namioki. arranged a private and cozy venue on campus where CPSR held plenary
sessions and work groups over the two-day weekend.

The view was beautiful. the weather was sunny and warm. the attendance was over
200; the banquet sold out; and the program was just what we had hoped for. The
meeting was an enormous success and couldn't have happened without the numerous
volunteers and generous participation of the Puget Sound chapter Of American
Society of Information Science (ASIS). A big THANK YOU to all who helped CPSR
along the way.

The conference focused on the National Information Infrastructure (NII). Below
is a summary of the sessions with the caveat that a CPSR conference is an
interactive experience. The printed word cannot do justice to being there!


Bruce McConnell, Chief of Information of Policy in the Office of Management and
Budget, was the keynote speaker. After a brief introduction from Professor
Andrew Gordon, McConnell spoke about Shaping National Information Infrastructure
Policy. The first message he conveyed was "Government is here to help' .

McConnell focused on four areas: 1. what the government is doing

From the left, Eric Roberts, Sonia Jarvis, and Phil Berean. Photo courtesy of
Frank Brown, CPSR/Seattle.

2. the danger of facing too many issues, 3. examples of how information policy
is being shaped, and 4. opportunities.


The Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown chairs the newly formed task force on the
Nll. The task force has three committees which are looking at sorting out the
technologies, privacy, intellectual property, government information, and
funding and experimentation.

McConnell said that the dialog about NII begins with the underlying requirements
for universal and affordable access and a system designed, built, owned and
operated by the private sector - because the government is broke. The
government's role is that of a leader and catalyst, a regulator, and producer of
information as well as a user of

information. The question is, "How do we move into a more electronic government
which takes advantage of the technology?"

The issues facing an NII agenda include:

¥ How to stimulate investment,

¥ What should universal service be? Is it the "common carrier" concept of the

¥ How to promote innovation,

¥ What are the standards,

¥ How to enforce security,

¥ What are the privacy issues,

¥ How to enforce intellectual property rights,

¥ How to coordinate between state and local governments and internationally,

¥ How do people access government information, and


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

¥ How to implement electronic government given this economy and budget limits.

Attendees at one of the workshops on the second day of the annual meeting Photo
courtesy of Frank Brown, CPSR/Seattle.

McConnell's committee deals with access to government information. to which the
Clinton Administration is committed. Some of the issues McConnell's group
wrangles with are determining pricing structure and motivating managers to
disseminate the information - since improving access costs money.


The "superhighway" serves well as a metaphor, especially when we think about
potential problems with the NII or questions about how it will operate. Our
system of on-ramps is currently mediocre. The signage is sloppy. There are a lot
of gravel roads. Who is the highway patrol? Where are the interchanges? Who is
controlling the way it is going to be built? How about the architecture problem?

Because the issue is so complex and is to some degree, uncharted territory it is
easy to become overwhelmed. Among the myriad of issues which policymakers must
contend with are: promoting innovations, setting standards, and insuring
security and reliability - so that information only goes where and when sender
wants it to. Another aspect of concern is privacy. For example, health-care
records are not protected by the Privacy Act. The government is also concerned
about intellectual property rights, in that we need structures to get money to
the authors and originators of information. We need policies for coordinating
international, state, and local governments and for accessing government


One example is getting government information on-line. Managers of dissemination
in government have few incentives to increase access, and dissemination costs
money. Then there is the question, how do you charge for access? The committees
determining policy have to identify the key

government databases which should be available. Currently, they are using direct
action on specific cases instead of debating policy. But they are doing some
long term planning, too. They will have a 25- member high-level advisory
committee to influence the process, to be announced soon. It will include
representatives from industry, users, and politicians.


McConnell's premise is that Implementation of the NII should be based on our
national character, a self- reliant citizenry with a frontier mentality and a
distrust of government. Policy is shaped by action, not so much debate and
theory. The frontier mentality is our strength and our undoing. This character
allows an ad hoc structure like the Internet, yet the bad aspect is a lack of
sacrifice and a long term plan. He assumes we need a decentralized, not a
massive approach to NII organization.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO INTERNETWORKS Moderated by: Eric Roberts. Panelists: Phil
Bereano (College of Engineering, University of Washington), Sonia Jarvis
(National Coalition on Black Voter Participation), Tony Naughton (NorthWestNet,
for Eric Hood), Jim Taylor (Coordinator Automated Services, Seattle Public

The focus of this panel was public access, but the panelists, in particular
Bereano and Jarvis, emphasized the need to pay attention to how technology fits
into society. What problems does technology address and what problems does
technology promote ? Bereano opened the panel by saying that most people are not
interested in information access. "Who cares that we have access to patent
information?" People worry about the absence of political and social power.
Taylor felt that the public

continued on page 18


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 17

libraries can play a role to level the playing field when it comes to access.
The Seattle Public Library is one of the first libraries to offer limited
Internet access to the public.

MUNICIPAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE Moderated by: Andrew Gordon. Panelists: Joe
Hommel (Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission), Susan McAdams
(Electric Lightwave), Jan Vazzano (Department of Administrative Services, City
of Seattle).

This panel looked at who the key local players are in developing the information
infrastructure. Hommel addressed the policy issues that are being advocated by
the WUTC - universal service guarantee, open network platform, consumer choice,
privacy protection, etc. McAdams and Vazzano addressed the issue of developing a
fiber network in Seattle, with McAdams promoting a solution by Electric
Lightwave and Vazzano presenting the City of Seattle's efforts to carefully
consider the potential impact of creating such a network.

NETWORKING IN THE COMMUNITY Moderated by: Douglas Schuler. Panelists: Tom
Grundner (National Public Telecomputing Network, NPTN), Parker Lindner (New
Media Matters), Evelyn Pine (former Executive Director of Community Memory), Roy
Sahali (Computing Literacy and Access Making a Difference for, Youth Projects -

Schuler introduced the topic by comparing the ratio of consumers and producers
of information in a community network to that of a television network news show.
Grundner called NPTN the PBS of community computing. It provides support for
locals and helps them come on-line in a loose confederacy. Lindner felt that the
video age did not meet the promises that was expected of it and Pine cautioned
against technology redlining. Pine also pointed out that community networks
change the traditional sources of communications, unlike current media
offerings. Sahali talked about the CLAMDYP alliance as an example of how a group
of organizations are working together to provide programs in computer and
communication literacy and other services to support the Rainier Valley


Moderated by: Marc Rotenberg. Panelists: Leah Lievrouw (Department of
Telecommunication and Film, University of Alabama), Jamie Love (Taxpayers Assets
Project), Laura Powers (Libraries for the Future).

Lievrouw began by defining mass communication as a competitive democracy or
meritocracy - a one- way mass media with elites and "best qualifieds" talking to
us. Mass media, historically and currently, is an informative environment, not a
communicative one. Lievrouw said that free speech is literally and legally a
property right issue. All the legislative and regulatory discussion is in terms
of information products. The new systems will be "product delivery" systems,
charging on a "per use" basis instead of a fee per month. That is how vendors
will make their money and Per Use will kill the freedom. Businesses will keep
trying to identify speech as property.

Love said that the current view of the NII in D.C. is a narrow one. Everyone
says they are for competition. But what does that mean? Thousands of programmers
competing or the phone company competing with the cable company? Powers was
skeptical of the view of the NII as "libraries without walls." She claims it is
a pretext for cutting funding for libraries. It appears

ridiculous to talk about a future NII, when the NII that we already have is
allowed to crumble. "If you measure public access to information by hours that
libraries are open, we are really losing out."

AND RISKS Moderated by: Kit Bakke. Panelists: David Flaherty (Information and
Privacy Commissioner, BC) Irwin Governman (CIO Group Health Cooperative) Lance
Heineccius (Director of Policy, WA Health Services Commission) Richard Reuben
(Executive Director, Foundation for Healthcare Quality).

Sunday, the second day of the conference, was devoted to working groups and
discussion of CPSR's National Information Infrastructure policy paper. On Sunday
evening, after the formal end to the Annual Meeting, a special panel discussion
on health care was held. This event was free and open to the public. Governman,
Heineccius, and Reuben shared with us the current medical information trends and
what some of the challenges the medical information field is facing today.
Flaherty, an expert on privacy, raised issues about what happens if too much
information is accumulated and recommended some information policy models from
other countries that he suggested the United States should adopt.


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

The Institute for Global Communications Wins 1993 Norbert Wiener Award for
Social Responsibility

This fall, CPSR named the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) the winner
of the 1993 Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility.

The Institute for Global Communications is a nonprofit computer networking
organization dedicated to providing low-cost worldwide communication and
information exchange pertaining to environmental preservation, human rights,
sustainable development, peace, and social justice issues. IGC operates the
PeaceNet, EcoNet, ConflictNet, and LaborNet computer networks, with a combined
membership of 10,000 individuals and organizations. Thousand of organizations,
ranging in size and scope from United Nations Commissions to local elementary
schools, contribute to more than 1200 conferences covering virtually every
environmental and human rights topic.

With six international partners, IGC became a co-founder of the Association for
Progressive Communications (APC). APC is an international coalition of
progressive computer networks, and to date includes thirteen wholly autonomous
but affiliated partners in Sweden, Germany, Russia, England, Australia, Canada,
Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay, South Africa, and Argentina.

Beginning in 1987, CPSR has presented the Wiener award annually to a
distinguished individual who, through personal example, demonstrated a deep
commitment to the socially responsible use of computing technology. In 1992, the
CPSR Board expanded the nominations to include organizations. IGC is the first
organizational recipient of this prestigious award.

"The award is particularly appropriate this year because of the enormous
interest in computer networks generated by the debate over the proposed National
Information Infrastructure (NII)," said Stantord professor and CPSR Board
president Eric Roberts. "IGC has worked diligently to use network technology to
empower previously disenfranchised individuals and groups working for
progressive change. CPSR has a strong commitment to making sure that everyone
has access to the resources and empowerment that networks provide. IGC has been
providing such access ever since it was founded in 1986."

"We're honored to be recognized by CPSR and to be the Norbert Wiener Award
recipient," says Geoff Sears, IGC's Executive Director. "Of course, this award
honors not just IGC, but the efforts and accomplishments of all our network
members, our entire network community." Sears accepted the Wiener award on
behalf of IGC at CPSR's annual meeting banquet in Seattle, Washington.

The CPSR banquet also featured a guest presentation by Kit Galloway of
Electronic Cafe International based in Santa Monica, California. Galloway urged
the audience to think beyond a text-based NII. He illustrated the ability to use
current technology for live real-time video teleconferencing interaction between
two parties in two different cities - in this case Santa Monica and Seattle - as
an integral part of his presentation.

The Wiener Award was established in 1987 in memory of Norbert Wiener, the
originator of the field of cybernetics and a pioneer in looking at the social
and political consequences of computing. Author of the book, The Human Use of
Human Beings, Wiener began pointing out the dangers of nuclear war and the role
of scientists in developing more powerful weapons shortly after Hiroshima.

Past recipients of the Wiener Award have been:

¥ 1987 - Dave Parnas, in recognition of his courageous actions opposing the
Strategic Defense Initiative;

¥ 1988 - Joe Weizenbaum, for his pioneering work emphasizing the social context
of computer science;

¥ 1989 - Daniel McCracken, for his work organizing computer scientists against
the Anti Ballistic Missiles deployment during the 1960s;

¥ 1990 - Kristen Nygaard of Norway, for his work in participatory design:

¥ 1991 - Severo Ornstein and Laura Gould, in recognition of their tireless
energy guiding CPSR through its early years; and

¥ 1992 - Barbara Simons, for her work on human rights, military funding, and the
U.C. Berkeley reentry program for women and minorities in computer science.

For more information about IGC, contact Sarah Hutchison at 415-442-()22() x 117,
or send email to <sarah"">.


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 10

¥ The technical development of a network is not an easy process. Particularly in
the early days, researchers were surprised at how difficult network technology
turned out to be, and all the problems are not yet resolved.

¥ Network design and development must be evolutionary. In the process of getting
to the current design, many alternative strategies were attempted and then
discarded. The right answers emerged slowly through experimentation. That
experimentation continues today and must certainly continue into the future, if
the NII is to respond to evolving needs.

¥ Substantial research and development funding is required to develop the
technology. Over the years, the Internet and its predecessor networks have
required significant investment of both public and private resources to overcome
the difficult problems that arise in network design. New technologies and new
uses for the network will require additional research and development on an
ongoing basis.

¥ An open, cooperative environment is critical to network success. By combining
the efforts of many researchers and building up a shared technological base, the
network was able to grow and develop much more successfully than would have been
possible using a less cooperative approach.

¥ Users tend to engage in communication rather than information retrieval. The
most popular services on the Internet include electronic mail, bulletin boards,
and programs to mediate online conversations. People enjoy the opportunity to
communicate with other people and to build new communities that share interests
or concerns. As an example of such

The most popular services on the Internet include electronic mail, bulletin
boards, and programs to mediate on-line conversations.

community-building, the Internet is home to a discussion group for women who
work with computers. The participants often find that they are the only women in
their work groupÑsometimes, the only women in their company. The on-line group
allows them to discuss problems they have encountered and to get advice on how
to work through difficult situations. At the very least, they find sympathy and
assurance that they are not alone. The NII ought to provide the mechanism for
the formation of many such distributed communities.

The stakes are clear. The NII has the potential to introduce a uniform,
centralized, oppressive viewpoint that further stratifies and polarizes society.
With thoughtful design, however, the NII could provide universal access, support
developing communities, and nurture true democracy.



The recommendations summarized in Part I of this document arise from the
principles established in its first section. Part 3 expands on these principles
and recommendations, highlighting their interrelationship.


CPSR equates the public interest with a strong and unequivocal commitment to
democratic principles. By most objective evidence, the practice of democracy in
America has been eroding steadily in recent years. Voter participation continues
to decline, citizens are uninformed about political and social issues, and there
is widespread public cynicism about the entire process of government. More than
any other public-policy initiative, the National Information Infrastructure
(NII) has the potential to reverse this erosion and give new life to our
democratic principles. We believe that the design and structure of the NII will
have a profound effect on the future of democracy in America.

CPSR believes that the seven principles for the NII outlined by the
Telecommunications Policy Roundtable are essential to the realization of a
democratic society. Those principles, therefore, must occupy a privileged and
protected status in the development of NII policy. In order to serve the public
interest, the NII must be both designed and operated according to those

Much of the current debate over the NII has focused on who will build the
carrier hardware and what levels of regulation need to be provided. CPSR
believes that the questions are important primarily to the extent that they
influence the principles and goals of democratic practice. The public interest
depends upon the rules of the gameÑ


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

how the NII will be designed and operatedÑand the necessity of preventing
concentrations of political or economic power from dictating those rules at the
expense of democratic principles. For this reason, our primary concern is that
debate on other issues be framed so as to preserve the unique and irreplaceable
status of the public-interest principles, which are expanded in the sections
that follow.


Universal access to the NII is a necessary and basic condition of citizenship in
our information-driven society. Guaranteeing such access is therefore an
absolute requirement for any degree of equity. At a minimum, universal access
requires the following conditions:

¥ Everyone in the country must have a place they can go to gain access to the

¥ Hardware and software for the NII must be easy to use and fit the needs of all
users, including the disabled.

¥ Simple training in the effective use of these tools must be available.

¥ Pricing for the NII must be structured so that service is affordable by

¥ Access to the full range of features

supported by the NII must be available to all.


Freedom of speech and of the press are fundamental characteristics of a
democratic society. In the 1 8th century, when these freedoms were encoded in
the Bill of Rights, human speech, the printing press, and postal delivery were
the most sophisticated means of communication available. These tools, and the
guarantees that everyone would have access to using them, were seen as vital to
economic, social, and especially political life. Today, the need for expression
is increasingly met through electronic communication.

Protecting every citizen's right to freedom of expression must be a fundamental
goal of the Nll. The freedom to communicate has two essential aspects. On the
one hand, those who speak must be able to do so without fear of censorship. On
the other, it is essential that all people have the opportunity to be heard in
the first place. While these two aspects are closely linked, their realization
often requires separate and distinct policies

In seeking to ensure freedom from censorship, a clear line must be drawn between
those domains of the NII dedicated to private interests, which are largely free
to determine their own operating policies, and domains available for public use.

With universal access and usability, the NII has the potential to reduce the
distance between citizens and their government as nothing else can.

constitutional protections on freedom of expression must be protected in all
public spaces within the NII. Moreover, it is important to ensure that such
public spaces continue to exist in the NII, just as they do in today's Internet.

Our collective experience with network communication has shown that a certain
level of civility enhances the quality of service for all users. To this end,
CPSR believes that it is

Important for network communities themselves to formulate ethical principles and
standards for appropriate behavior that can serve as guideposts for those who
choose to participate in those communities. We believe that censorship based on
the content of expression must not be imposed from the top down. Citizens must
feel as free to express themselves over the NII as they do today over the

At the same time, it is essential to protect the rights of citizens to be heard
in the first place. As A. .1. Liebling observed when he wrote that "freedom of
the press belongs to those who own one," the high costs of entry into
traditional print and broadcast media have formed a barrier to individual
expression throughout this century. By lowering the economic barrier, computer
networks make it possible for individuals to express their ideas much more
widely through electronic mail, on-line publications, mailing lists, and
bulletin boards. In the Internet today, people use these tools extensively as a
means of expression, and it is important to retain these capabilities in the

The NII requires two kinds of resources to allow individuals to publish their
own contributions using the NII. First, it must provide a physical connection
that can carry information in both directions. Second, it must offer software
tools that facilitate the posting of messages so that others can find them
easily. Without two-way communication, citizens at the receiving end of the wire
are not merely passive but mute. In a society linked together by the NII, the
capability of every individual to post messages will be the functional
equivalent of the freedom in the world before electronic media to stand on a
corner and speak one's mind.

Freedom to communicate, however, does not mean freedom to intrude. The right to
free speech must be balanced by the right not to listen. Given that many people
now find unsolicited mail and telephone calls intrusive, it is easy to imagine
that the NII might enable the production of an overwhelming amount of electronic
"junk mail." It must not fall as a burden to the individual to sift through all
such material to find the nuggets of desired communication. There must be ways
for people to choose classes of messages they do and do not wish to receive.

continued on page 22


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 21 VITAL CIVIC SECTOR

The American democratic system is designed to provide the opportunity for
thoughtful, informed decision-making. To make that system work, citizens and
public officials must have opportunities to understand each other's needs and
desires. As it becomes our central communications mechanism, the NII must be
designed to support this system of governance. The NII must provide service
capabilities that encourage the spontaneous development of communities of all
kinds. The primary requirement is a set of software tools specifically designed
to facilitate the creation of self-defining groups of users. These groups will
consist of people who want to discuss issues concerning their neighborhood,
state, nation, or planet.

Individuals and groups must be enabled to participate in governmental
decision-making at national, state, and local levels. To do so, they will need
timely access to government information and pending policy decisions. They will
also need the opportunity to participate directly in hearings and other public
proceedings. With universal access and usability, the NII has the potential to
reduce the distance between citizens and their government as nothing else can.
Civic participation will enable citizens to help design regulation and
legislation, not merely to appeal it or vote on it.

Schools and libraries play key roles in nurturing the civic sector. Not only
should people be able to reach out into the NII from schools and libraries, but
people should be able to reach into them from the NII. Classes and teachers at
all levels from elementary schools to colleges should be reachable through the
NII. Not just library catalogs but eventually the contents of the libraries
should be accessible through this medium.

Making schools and libraries accessible from the NII serves two purposes. First,
it enables life-long learning, not just for those of traditional student age,
but for workers in need of retraining, for immigrants, for all who want to
improve themselves. Second, it helps provide people with the information they
need to be informed citizens.


An open market for content is even more important than an open market for its
carriers. The NII should ensure competition among ideas, products, and
information providers. They should be able to compete because of their quality
and not merely the marketing resources behind them. This means that individuals
and small publishers must be enabled to be as visible in the marketplace as the
large commercial institutions. The NII can allow individuals to act as their own
publishers. The public can then decide whose program to watch, which software to
run, and which databases to scan.

The NII has the opportunity of providing a level playing field where small
businesses can more readily compete with large concerns. More diverse offerings
allow for market innovations, experimentation, and the customization of products
that economies of scale prohibit.

Referring to the NII as a marketplace of ideas does not, however, mean that
providers must charge for their offerings. Publishers may decide that having
their idea widely accepted is more important than making a profit. This happens
often in the computer research community: much of the most popular software is
the result of donated labor. Software publishers benefit by being able to share
ideas with a wider community, by proving the validity of their research, or by
satisfying their altruistic tendencies. The competition of their offerings with
commercial products can only improve both.


Although computers have become relatively common in the home, most people in the
United States today are more directly affected by computing technology at work.
For example, the widespread use of word processing has profoundly transformed
the character of office work in the last fifteen years. During a similar period,
the development of new techniques for factory automation has changed not only
the nature of manufacturing jobs but also the availability and importance of
such jobs in the national economy.

The NII, while it offers extraordinary opportunities for economic growth in
global information, will also continue to transform the nature of work in our
society. In sectors of the economy that generate and distribute information
resources, job growth is likely. Other sectors, however, may continue to suffer
job losses and the associated economic dislocation. For example, as the NII
reduces the cost of international communication, it will become easier for
companies to export certain jobs formerly done in the United States to countries
with a lower wage rate. Similarly, the availability of new services on the NII
may reduce the need for workers who now provide those services locally.

Too often in the past, new technologies have been introduced into the workplace
with little concern for their effects on workers. In many cases, the
introduction of computers has required workers to acquire new expertise and
knowledge, raising the skill level needed for the job. In other cases, computers
have had the opposite effect, reducing the level of job skill needed to such an
extent that workers become merely agents of the machine. Without planning and
foresight, such changes can have a negative effect on total productivity.
Workers whose jobs suddenly require enhanced skills may not receive the
additional training they need


VOLUME I l, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

or any recognition to compensate for the increased responsibilities. At the
other end of the spectrum, workers whose jobs have been deskilled lose a sense
of personal investment in the process.

Since the NII will further change the nature of work in the United States in
profound ways, its policies must be designed to address those changes. CPSR
believes that workplace technology is best used to enhance, not replace, the
skills of workers. Moreover, workplace systems themselves are more effective
when workers participate actively in the design process.


Privacy protection is a fundamental human right. The protection of privacy is
all the more important in advanced communication networks where enormous amounts
of personal information are generated and transferred. The ever-increasing
capability of both existing and new technologies to accumulate and
cross-reference personally identifying information constitutes a grave threat to
personal privacy.

Proposed NII services should be carefully examined. New network services, if not
properly designed, may easily diminish user privacy. Caller ID, for example,
reduced the privacy of telephone customers and was opposed by consumers and
state regulators. Users of the NII should also be permitted to use strong
cryptography to protect communications. It is inappropriate and potentially
dangerous for the integrity of the NII for the government to encourage
communications services that facilitate wire surveillance.

CPSR believes that an NII privacy code should be developed and enforced. We have
already recommended a set of principles that could help address many of the
privacy concerns the NII will raise. These principles are:

1. The confidentiality of electronic communications should be protected.

2. Privacy considerations must be recognized explicitly in the provision, use
and regulation of telecommunication services.

New network services, if not properly designed, may easily diminish user

3. The collection of personal data for telecommunication services should be
limited to the extent necessary to provide the service.

4. Service providers should not disclose information without the explicit
consent of service users. Service providers should be required to make known
their data collection practices to service users.

5. Users should not be required to pay for routine privacy protection.
Additional costs for privacy should only be imposed for extraordinary

6. Service providers should be encouraged to explore technical means to protect

7. Appropriate security polices should be developed to protect network

8. A mechanism should be established to ensure the observance of these

CPSR acknowledges the interest of corporate marketing and recognizes the public
interest in both law enforcement and national security. However, we assert on
principle the necessity of an NII policy that effectively resists the otherwise
endless demands for personal information. Although privacy cannot always
supersede other concerns, it is often possible to find a way to meet those other
needs with a minimum of infringement.


If the NII is to serve the needs of the public, the public must have input into
its design. The public must help establish both the policy by which it is guided
and the design through which it is implemented. Experience has shown that such
involvement has been critical to the design of the most popular existing
electronic systems. Effective participation is as important to computer systems
as it is to government.

Traditionally, technologists have argued that only a strong central vision can
produce elegant, consistent, complete designs. Citing examples of the failure of
design by committee, they argue that technical design must be left to those who
understand its complexities. Unfortunately, this approach tends to create
complex systems that can be understood and used only by the technical elite.

New approaches, however, combine the centralized and decentralized models,
obtaining the benefits of each while avoiding their deficiencies. These
approaches can be applied to the design of a system and to the adoption of a

In participatory design, the people who are expected to use the final product
are involved from the early design stages through several iterations of testing
the implementation. The system is implemented by a small team that works with a
central design. Those who use the system contribute their own knowledge to the
design by commenting on the goals and features to make sure the system is widely

Just as participatory design allows systems to emerge after cycles of user

continued on page 26


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

PDC '94 Third Biannual Conference on Participatory Design Chapel Hill, North
Carolina October 27- 28, 1994


In the last few years, participatory approaches to design have gained adherents
around the world. Participatory design approaches have at their core the
involvement of workers in the design and development of new technologies and
work practices that have the potential of improving their work lives.
Collaborative design projects combine the skills and knowledge of workers who
will use or are using the technology, with the technological and organizational
expertise of those involved in its development.

The first Participatory Design conference explored the historical roots of this
way of working, by bringing European practitioners together with American
researchers and industry developers. By the second conference, PDC '92,
participatory approaches to design had taken root in the US, not only in
research environments, but also at several commercial firms. The goal at that
time was to take a further step towards defining and nurturing participatory
design. In PDC '94, we would like both to consider our ways of working and to
foster a substantial dialog among practitioners. The conference is an
international forum where this emerging community can meet, exchange ideas and
experiences, and investigate the incorporation of participatory design
approaches in new areas such as: product development, long-term system
maintenance and redesign, and settings in the developing world.

We encourage the participation of all those interested in learning about
participatory design and in trying it in their own settings, as well as those
currently employing participatory approaches to design (possibly under other
names). We welcome paper submissions, proposals for panels and workshops, and
submissions for our "artifacts" room (see descriptions below). Wherever
possible, we urge you to draw on your own experience from concrete situations.
Topics include, but are not limited to:

¥ Experiences and lessons learned from projects incorporating participatory
design approaches;

¥ Continuing participation of users in the post-prototyping "down stream" work
of product development, assessment, installation and maintenance;

¥ The ethics of participation, e.g. obligations to management versus workers,
and designers' responsibility for what happens "down stream";

¥ The politics of participatory design, e.g. identifying "stakeholders" over the
course of a project;

¥ Relations of participatory design approaches to the labor movement, e.g. to
labor unions' own technology development and analysis efforts;

¥ Frameworks for understanding and analyzing participatory design, and models
for its incorporation in system development practice;

¥ The theoretical roots of participatory approaches to design, e.g. connections
to Action Research.


We solicit papers from researchers and practitioners on any topics related to
participatory design. We especially encourage submissions that draw upon
experience (e.g. design, use, system maintenance). Papers will be grouped into
thematic sessions that will include designated discussants and audience

Submission requirements: Paper submissions should be no longer than 6000 words.
Please submit 5 copies and be sure to include authors' affiliations and contact
information as well as an abstract of around 200 words. Requests for information
to: or Mail submissions to:
Randall Trigg, PDC '94 Program Co-Chair, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center 3333
Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304 USA. Telephone (415) 812-4863, fax: +1
(415) 812-4380, email:


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994


We solicit proposals for panels on provocative or controversial topics that will
promote sharing experiences, clarifying positions and enlivening the
discussions. Panels will have approximately four speakers who will succinctly
state their positions and then debate their differences. The audience will be
strongly encouraged to participate. Submission requirements: overview of
proposed panel describing the goals, themes and central issues (5 copies,
maximum 3 pages); brief description of the panel organizer's relevant experience
and background; list of potential panelists with a brief sketch of each.
Submissions and requests for information to: Andrew Clement, PDC'94 Panels
Chair, Faculty of Library Information Science, University of Toronto, 140 St.
George Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MSS JAI, tel: + I (416) 978-3111, fax:
+1 (416) 971 - 1399, email:


We invite participants to propose workshops that are scheduled to take place in
parallel and will last approximately 3 hours. Topics can include any of the
above themes, however, we prefer the workshops to be as concrete as possible and
the format to be participative. Submission requirements: overview of proposed
workshop describing the content and methods of presentation (5 copies, maximum 3
pages); brief description of the workshop organizer's relevant experience and
background. Submissions and requests for information to: Finn Kensing, PDC'94
Workshops Chair Computer Science Department, Roskilde University, 4000 Roskilde,
Denmark, fax: +45 4675 4201 email:

ARTIFACTS SUBMISSIONS - including posters and demonstrations

The Artifacts program brings together representations, techniques, methodologies
and technologies developed for or through participatory design. (A
representation may take the form of documents and other objects that reflect
work practices, designs, and associated materials, and should include both the
artifact itself and how it is used in the work situation.) A contribution to the
Artifacts program should be intended to be shown or demonstrated informally at a
booth. The Artifacts program will take place in conjunction with the conference
dinner and thus will not overlap with the papers/panels/workshops tracks.
Submission Requirements: Description and motivation of the artifact and how it
is used in practice (5 copies, maximum 3 pages), including non-textual materials
like photographs, videotapes, sketches, etc., if appropriate (only one copy of a
videotape is required, and photographs may be provided in photocopied form), and
describing any plans to engage conference participants directly in using the
artifact; brief description of artifact presenter's relevant experience and
background; any special equipment or power requirements. Submissions and
requests for information to: Michael Muller, PDC'94 Artifacts Co-Chair, U S WEST
Advanced Technologies, 4001 Discovery Drive / Suite 280, Boulder CO 80303 USA,
tel: +1 (303) 541-6564, fax: +1 (303) 541-6003, email:


April 15: Paper, panel and workshop submissions received June 7: Acceptance
notifications to authors July 15: Artifacts proposals received August I: Final
versions of papers/panels/workshops received for proceedings August 15:
Acceptance notifications to artifact presenters

Accepted submissions and proposals from all categories will appear in a
proceedings distributed to conference participants.

We look forward to seeing you in North Carolina in the fall of 1994.


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 23

input and testing, the same approach can be used to define new standards. The
process begins with the formulation of an experimental standard. After a period
of testing in its intended environment, comments are obtained and another
iteration of design and testing begins. When the system is stable and both
architects and users are satisfied, the standard is adopted. This approach has
been used with great success by the Internet Society and the X Consortium, which
has developed a window system used today by most of the major workstation

Both participatory design and the experimental approach to standardization
achieve the benefits of democratic input to design and policy-making without
sacrificing the technical advantages of consistency and elegance of design.


The NII must be engineered to high standards of reliability, functional
capability, and extendibility. In time, the NII will encompass all the nation's
telecommunications. As it becomes the primary conduit for economic transactions
and long-distance medicine, businesses and people will trust the NII with their
economic livelihood and, perhaps, their lives. We will demand a system that
works under heavy loads and in natural disasters. Failures will occur, but they
should be localized, not system-wide. Recovery must be swiftÑa matter of minutes
or hours, not days or weeks. We will not be able afford to turn off the whole
system to maintain or upgrade it, but we will not tolerate it becoming
antiquated. Infrastructure must be there when you need it.

Anyone who has worked with today's computer systems knows that they have not
achieved this level of dependability. Their limitations are partly the result of
economic priorities. It costs a lot of money to design a highly reliable system.
That cost must be balanced against the cost of system failure. But the major
reason computer systems, particularly software systems, are unreliable is that
we do not know how to design them to be more reliable. A large software systems
is so complicated that no one person can understand it all. Yet the system is
often so fragile that one programming flaw, one misplaced comma, can bring the
whole system crashing down, or send a satellite flying out of control. Setting
high standards for the engineering will push us, as designers and implementers,
to find new ways to improve the quality of computer software. That we have
failed to do better to date shows that the task will not

Government is the institution through which we come together to set collective
priorities, to organize our resources for the common good, to set the rules
under which we wish to live. For all of its problems, government is essential.

be easy. But when we understand that the NII is vital to the economic and
perhaps the physical health of the nation, it becomes clear that we must
challenge ourselves to do our best.


Government is the institution through which we come together to set collective
priorities, to organize our resources for the common good, to set the rules
under which we wish to live. For all its problems, government is essential. If
the NII is left entirely to private enterprise, it may become nothing more than
a vehicle for entertainment, finance, shopping, and advertisingÑto paraphrase
Bruce Springsteen, "500 channels with nothing on." It is only through government
action that we will preserve a public- interest component of the NII beyond
these commercial interests.


We agree with the Administration that implementation of the NII will have
far-reaching effects. The infrastructure will change society both in ways we can
predict and in ways we cannot. Unless we understand these changes, we cannot
hope to control them. Therefore, we recommend that a portion of both the initial
funding and the maintenance funding be set aside for research into the social
impact of the NII.


Universal access to the NII is required to ensure that society does not become
divided into the information-poor and the information-rich. Because access to
information is critical in the modern world, we believe that the NII will become
the primary medium for political and economic participation. To limit people's
access because they are physical disabled, economically disadvantaged, or
geographically remote is unacceptable in a democracy. We anticipate that a
network implemented solely on free-market principles would not reach all
citizens. No single commercial institution finds it financially worthwhile to
provide service to the marginal users.


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

Today's telecommunication system fails to support all citizens adequately, and
the NII will be built from much the same technology. Yet all will benefit, both
economically and politically, by universal service.

Access will require not merely a connection to the NII, but the hardware to use
that connection. A telephone wire to one's house is useless if one cannot afford
a telephone. What the user's equipment will look like remains to be determined:
it may be a computer terminal or some completely new device, but we must find a
way to offer access to everyone at an affordable, perhaps subsidized, price.


From the two major position papers the Administration has released concerning
the NII, it is clear that they intend it to benefit all sectors of the U.S.
economy. We are concerned that in estimating and measuring the impact of policy
alternatives, there will be a tendency to consider only the most readily
quantifiable aspects, such as the effect on the telecommunications and
information industries. There are likely to be cases, such as the establishment
of rate structures, in which the interests of these two industries is not
precisely aligned with the interests of the nation as a whole. We call for the
foresight and breadth of vision to see beyond short-term, narrow interests to
enduring national needs.

In considering the structure of the NII, one of the crucial public-policy issues
is how its construction and operation will be financed. In the current debate,
the prevailing assumption is that as much of the service as possible should be
privatized in the interests of economic efficiency. Economists, however, have
long recognized that certain conditions are necessary for a free market. When
those conditions do not exist, market failures can occur. In the case of the
NII, several factorsÑits status as a public good, the high cost of entry into
the carrier market, the existence of both positive and negative externalities in
its operationÑare predictors of market failure. Speaking at a conference on
"Public Access to the Internet" at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in May
1993, economist Sandra Schickele pointed out that "the assumptions which must
hold if the free market is to be efficient are fundamentally violated by the
nature of the Internet and any likely successor to it, and that market prices
cannot by themselves efficiently allocate resources for the production and use
of the Internet." Government planners must be sensitive to this danger and
intervene as necessary.


The public benefits from exposure to a

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ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ diverse marketplace of ideas. Can market forces alone
foster this diversity of content on the NII, or will it need a champion? As long
as information providers are able to reach their public, they have no further
interest in diversity. In fact, they have an economic motivation to raise
barriers that keep others from entering the market. Moreover, as long as their
networks are saturated, carriers are indifferent to the number of content
providers. If no one has an economic motivation to ensure diversity, market
forces alone cannot suffice.

The early history of the railroads offers an instructive parallel. Even though
the railway expansion greatly benefited the nation by the end of the 1800s, the
economic process of achieving those benefits was hardly smooth. For many years,
railroads operated in an environment with no regulations against monopolies or
discriminatory pricing. Through an extensive network of trusts and
discriminatory tariff structures mandating higher rates for short hauls than
longer ones, railroad companies enriched themselves at the expense of the
economy as a whole. Outrage against them led to the formation of the Independent
Fanners' Association and the Grange movement, which in turn led Congress to
establish the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 and to enact the Sherman
Anti-Trust Act in 1890.


We applaud the Administration's intention to use the NII to create a government
that is "more cost- effective, efficient, and 'user-friendly."' While technology
is not a quick fix for social problems, it can enable the flow of information
and democratic empowerment needed to address these problems. For example,
individuals need access to social services, public information, legal records,
census and agricultural data; the ability to inspect and correct government
records about themselves; and information on pending public-policy decisions and
the ability to comment on them. Moreover, to be equitable, we must not only
provide these services through the NII, but also guarantee universal access to


We mean many things when we speak of public space on the NII. There must be
areas that are publicly owned. Anyone must be able to post messages, confident
that the content of those messages are protected by First Amendment guarantees
of free speech. The NII should offer an arena for public discussion. Public
spaces may also be the venue for interchange with local, state, and federal
government agencies. Pending legislation and regulations could be posted there
along with people's comments. Public spaces also allow developers to offer free
noncommercial software to a wide audience.

ccontinued on page 28


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 27

It will take funding to maintain these public spaces. Possible models for
funding include surcharges on profits for information providers, royalty fees
for the use of publicly collected data, profits for carriers, or tax abatement
to donators of public space. Recommending a particular model is beyond the scope
of this report, but we strongly urge the Administration to consider the various


For reasons of both principle and expedience, we believe that decisions
affecting the public's use of the NII must be made openly and democratically.
The principle of government for, of. and by the people demands public
involvement in the design of so vital an infrastructure. Anything that will have
such an impact on our lives and the social structure of our nation should be a
matter for public consideration. Further, we believe that the infrastructure
will be easier to use and more beneficial if the intended users, the public at
large, have input into its design.


An information infrastructure will obtain its maximum economic, social, and
cultural benefits when it is worldwide in scope. We cannot. of course, mandate
the global adoption of' the U.S. infrastructure. We cannot control other
nations, and choices that meet our cultural needs may be inappropriate
elsewhere. Nonetheless. we can design the NII so that it does not create
barriers to global communication. Currently, our national standards set a lower
threshold for the protection of individual privacy than do the laws of other
countries. These countries consequently restrict the flow of data records into
our country. If we work to establish comparable standards, both individual
privacy and global communication will be enhanced.

Similar issues exist in the areas of security, censorship, and tariffs.


The government has a compelling interest in making sure that the NII meets its
design goals. As with other parts of the national infrastructure, the government
must at times establish regulatory mechanisms to ensure that basic standards are
upheld. Government intervention is particularly critical when market forces act
to favor individual companies rather than the public good. For example.
regulation may be required to ensure that standards remain open, that basic
service is available to all at reasonable cost, that privacy is protected. and
that citizens have access to public information.

In most cases, the areas in which government may need to take action correspond
to those for which CPSR has developed design recommendations. The specific
challenges that may arise are discussed in more detail in the sections that
follow. Our purpose in including this recommendation in the policy section is to
emphasize that the process of guaranteeing that technical requirements are met
is an issue of public policy as well as of design.


As computer professionals, the members of CPSR have considerable experience in
systems design and the use of network technology. This experience leads us to
make several recommendations to the designers of the NII, who must ensure that
the system is technically capable of meeting its intended goals. These
recommendations, briefly articulated in Part 1, are expanded in the sections
that follow.


The single most important failing of' the Internet today is that it is extremely
hard to use for those lacking a certain level of technical expertise. The
Internet was designed by computer programmers for themselves and their
colleagues; its style of use reflects that history. New users are faced with an
overwhelming collection of network resources and tools for getting at them. Only
in the last several years have service providers begun to tackle the problem of
reducing the complexity of using the network.

Building a system that is simple for users and yet gives them access to the full
range of data and services available on the NII is an extremely difficult
challenge. Moreover, it is a challenge too important, complex, and open-ended to
be left in the hands of a small group of technical experts. Millions of people
will use the Nll. Millions more will be affected by its presence. That
constituency needs to be brought into the design process. Doing so will require
rethinking the traditional approach to setting policy and designing systems. In
addition, it will require finding ways to ensure that people of different levels
of technical expertise can participate in a meaningful way. We believe that the
NII must be easier to use than a VCR, possibly as simple as the telephone.


The NII is often described as a superhighway for data. For most people in the
United States, however, that superhighway will only be useful if they can reach
it from where they live and work. In designing an NII that serves the public
interest, it is not enough to consider only the network "backbone"Ñthe
high-speed data channels that serve as an analogue to the Interstate highway
system. It will also be necessary to focus as well on the connections between
the superhighways and the individual user-Ñ the secondary roadways and streets
that form the "last mile" of the information infrastructure. Completing the last
mile of the NII is a significant undertaking


VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

that will require considerable investment from both the public and private
sectors. Moreover, the goal of universal connection will not happen overnight.
Even so, it is important to make such connection a national priority and to
design the NII itself on that basis.

Unfortunately, it is easy to imagine that early designs of the NII could fail to
place sufficient emphasis on the problem of bringing connections directly to the
home. Carrier companies may focus instead on the data superhighway, which is
certain to offer a higher return on their investment. The U.S. Post Office and
the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) have found that they lose money on
home delivery. Concentrating on high-volume services is more cost-effective.
Unfortunately, such a strategy does not support the principle of universal
access and would be unacceptable in the NII. The planners of the NII must
recognize the importance of reaching the individual user and design the system
accordingly, even though establishing those connections will certainly take

Beyond guaranteeing that the NII will reach into the home, it is also important
that residential connections provide the full range of network functions. A
design that offers a high level of service to companies that can afford a direct
connection to the network backbone and a restricted, second-class form of
service to individual residences is unacceptable. Such a system increases the
disparity of power between the information-poor and the information-rich and
runs counter to the principles of universal access, freedom to communicate, and
democratic policy-making. The definition of full- function service will
necessarily evolve with time. We realize that the bandwidth of the connections
used for residential customers will certainly place some limits on what can be
done initially, but it is nonetheless important to make high-quality,
full-function, residential service a priority in the NII design.

To provide full-function service to all NII users, it is essential that

¥ The provision of high-level service to individual homes be made a priority

¥ The NII be designed to incorporate technological advances as they occur

¥ No arbitrary restrictions be placed on individual users that put them at a
disadvantage in comparison to corporate users


One of the central requirements for full-function service is a two-way channel
for communication. It is not enough to design a network that allows individual
users to act only as passive consumers of information or entertainment. As is
the case with today's Internet. every user of the NII must also have the option
to generate new information and to publish that information through the network.
Allowing users to act as producers as well as consumers has significant
implications for the design of both the hardware and software for the NII.

To an extent, the desire to ensure that all users can become contributors flows
from the principle of freedom to communicate. The network must not become like
radio and television, where the few broadcast to the many. Individual voices
must be heard on the NII, just as they are on the Internet today.

The desire to support individual contribution is also founded on the principle
of a diverse and competitive marketplace. The evolution of the Internet in
recent years has made it clear that the most valuable new ideas and technologies
often come from individuals. The Internet of today is a community that sustains
itself technologically. Because individual users feel invested in that
community, they seek to make it better. They create their own information
services, develop their own software tools, and build on the work of others to
create a dynamic and evolving technology unlike any other. The individual
initiative and entrepreneurship that characterize the Internet today must remain
an essential element in the NII. Those contributions will drive the evolution of
the NII itself and provide new value-added services.


Privacy of communication is a fundamental precept that must guide the
development of the NII. While the responsibility for ensuring privacy lies
partly in the domain of policy, it also has technical ramifications. As is true
for reliability, a computer system can ensure privacy only if the designers of
that system make privacy a fundamental goal of the initial design.


At one time in U.S. history, different railroads used tracks of different sizes.
Doing so preserved corporate autonomy, but retarded the development of a
national transportation system. In more recent times, computer manufacturers
have also sought to retain a competitive advantage by developing and maintaining
proprietary standards. Over the last decade, however, such tactics have
backfired in the computing industry. Private standards make it difficult to
connect computer systems supplied by different vendors and complicate the
process of creating network software. Because clients today insist on being able
to perform these functions, private standards drive those clients away. By
adopting a public standard and encouraging its use, on the other hand, computer
manufacturers can take rely on the broader computing

continued on page 30


VOLUME 11, No. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, No.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

continued from page 29

community to create new tools based on the open standard.

The same effect is certain to apply in the design of the NII. The Internet today
has been successful in large measure because it provides an open standard that
permits systems of different types to communicate. By providing an open and
interoperable standard, the Internet makes it easy for new machines and networks
to become part of an ever-expanding webs. Moreover, as the Internet grows, the
incentive to conform to its standards increases. Since the NII will be much
larger than today's Internet, the importance of using open standards for
equipment and protocols will be even greater than it is today.

Open standards are also essential to maintain a diverse and competitive
marketplace. In an environment as large and as distributed as the NII,
proprietary standards can only increase the pressure toward monopolistic
concentration, which would work against both competition and diversity.


Although open standards are essential to the success of the NII, it is also
important to recognize the dangers of premature standardization. Because no one
can predict with certainty how network usage will evolve, standards must not
simply be imposed but instead allowed to evolve. Designers of the NII must not
rush to adopt a single transmission medium or software model as a standard. They
should instead experiment with trial approaches to find out what does and does
not work.

Such experimentation must continue throughout the evolution of the NII. The NII
is far too important for us to wait until the perfect solution has been
developed. It is critical to begin with what is possible, make those
capabilities available to the American people, and then build on that

Throughout the process, the design must be flexible enough to accommodate new
technologies and changing patterns of use.


As a crucial part of the nation's infrastructure, the NII must be reliable. We
expect, for example, bridges, roadways, and the other familiar parts of the
national infrastructure to be kept in working order through periodic maintenance
and to serve reliably when needed.

The NII, however, is different in many respects from the other parts of the
infrastructure. More than any other product of engineering, computer systems are
susceptible to failure. Although hardware flaws certainly occur in complex
systems, software errors represent a greater danger. A single software error can
lead to catastrophic failure, particularly in a complex, distributed systems
like the NII. Moreover, such errors can sometimes remain undetected through
years of testing and use, only to arise when a particular set of conditions

In a system as large and sophisticated as the NII, it is impossible to eliminate
all software errors. Moreover, because the NII must support experimentation and
growth, software errors will be a recurring problem as the system evolves. Even
so, good software engineering practice and careful attention to reliability in
the design phase can reduce the likelihood of critical failures and minimize
their effects. To keep software errors to a minimum, however, it is essential to
address reliability issues early in the design process and to keep them in the
foreground of the project. The history of software development shows that it is
extremely difficult to introduce high reliability into a system for which it was
not an initial design goal.


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VOLUME 11, NO. 4 &amp; VOLUME 12, NO.1 The CPSR Newsletter WINTER 1994

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Additional materials on the National Information

Infrastructure, technology policy, and privacy and civil liberties

are available at the CPSR FTP site

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