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Re: A few (not so) brief thoughts
On Tue, 9 Dec 1997 20:35:53 -0500 (EST), P.A. Petricone wrote:
>Topic No. 7
>Subject: A few brief thoughts on recent
>Re what Christopher Pall wrote:
>I cannot stress how important I think it is and will be for those that now
have the charter to maintain the structure of the net, which is just a huge
computer buss that is not as quick as some would like, to continue to
promote and approve standards for and host accountable access to
this buss. The first emailing should be to the Chair of the NSF, Dr.
Richard Zare, or contact Bill Noxon at (703) 306-1070, to see if NSF
can reconsider their position to not seek renewal of it's charge, which
ceases March 31, 1998! <
PLEASE, correct me if I'm wrong, but, as I uinderstand this issue, it is
basically a budget negotiation gambit. More about this below.
>Concurrently it is imperative to write the appropriate members of
Congress and it's committees that are hearing issues on anti trust, smut,
spam, privacy, computer security, consumer issues, you name it, to tell
them that if they drop the reins on this one, they will not have a prayer of
reeling in the runaways. NSF should not be allowed to leave the post.
They should be given adequate resources to do this critical job, a bargain
against the inevitable alternatives. NSF and the IETF will over time be
best able to maintain and improve the condition of some benign net
accountability, which goes to the core of all the concerns in these
Yes they (congress) need to be contacted with our concerns.
Do I think that they will instantly understand the import of their actions? - No.
Do I think that they will seek to improve their understanding? - No.
While my own "representative" has earned the dubious honor of the title
"Dimmest Bulb in Congress" for maintaining and periodically proving
his ignorance on ALL topics under discussion, I think the technical aspects
of internet communication CAN be grasped by anyone of reasonable
intelligence, IF AND ONLY IF they really think that understanding is relevant
to their decisions. Aye- there's the rub..................
I agree wholeheartedly with your assertion that the NSF and IETF are our
greatest hope for preserving the best that the 'net has to offer, and that they
should be given the necessary resources to do the job. I agree that if they
(congress) "drop the reins" they will not be able to "reel in the runaways".
However, you make some very reasonable but very suspect assumptions.
1) That big IF (above) is key to my pessimistic viewpoint. You have posited -
"net accountability... goes to the core of all the concerns in these committees".
One of your underlying assumptions is that the members of these committees,
and the members at large, actually want to DO SOMETHING about the
bumpersticker topic they have chosen to emblazon on their reelection flag
(eg "smut" on the internet), as opposed to rallying votes around them as they
wave it. By giving away the net, they can claim even less power to control
its excesses, while creating even more demons to name from the pulpit.
2)Then there's the root of the (all) matter(s) - money.
a) We are in the most recent and perhaps most excessive movement to divest
the federal government of control - and therefore responsibility - for anything
that COSTS MONEY - ie everything. Block grants to the states - they know
best how to spend "their" money. Income tax plans - abolish the IRS, the
tax payer knows best how to spend their money. The Arts - abolish the NEA,
we won't risk paying for 27 smutty photographs just to buttress PBS and NPR.
Let them compete with the networks for "consumer demand", afterall, the truly
"free" market will always result in the best product for the least cost - right?
The University as a corporation - let the "customers" ie students vote with their
voucher and tuition dollars, - if teachers can't generate enough income to pay
their salaries, what gives them the idea WE want to pay to educate our children?
And these are the same folks you want to spend more money to preserve a
government sanctioned regulatory power over the internet.
b) And of course, that assumes that they are immune to the mountains of cash
that a few select "constituents" - (who just happen to be in a position to cash in
on wholesale deregulation of the net) - are piling up on their desks.
Sorry to be such a ray of sunshine, but I think that a healthy dose of "and we'll
be watching closely to see how your decisions relate to the meteoric success
of your contributers" would suitably season our plea to their virtue.
>IP6 or some iteration will be implemented.
I really would like to see a replay of what that means to the practical maintainence
of the net as is, and the net to be, if you please.
>This nonsense about moving to a higher order of the internet rings hollow -
how will those that wish to work on it ever get involved if they have marginalized
access to what we now have?<
If they think the existence and support of what we have now argues against the
creation of the "new improved" and -for them- hopefully restricted internet II - they will
see only more zeros on the "development" budget. ("We'll have the state of the art
to our own little "club" again, let the masses play with the "old tech"). If we pitch the
existing structure to the "free" market wolves, they may believe the net will hold long
enough to erect the backbone of the new net, or if not, just put the access costs into
the new budget. I didn't say it was rational, nor did I say it exhibited much forethought
(the vision thing), but its likely that such "reasoning" abounds.
>Re what Mark Waugh wrote:
>And on what Charles Mueller wrote:
>In a forum that was spawned out of a well publicized conference on issues affecting
the entire computer/software and telcom/cable industries as it may apply to their
respective market and client base, why is it that there are just a handful of vocal
participants here that represent or are in some way connected to the "Jury of (it's)
peers"? Furthermore, who are the other 270 or so recipients? The list will not produce
an address list of it's own recipients! Are they just lurking or are they waiting for an
opportunity to troll? Have they no concern for what Mark refers to as humanity? <
There is ample evidence of the overwhelming majority being more observer than
participant. This is evident throughout our culture from church congregations (witness
the expansion of so called "contemporary services" - more entertainment than worship)
to the voting booth (why do we accept the results of a 40% voter turnout?). I applaud
your challenge to the list to step forward and be counted.......but the silence is deafening.
>Where are the voices of the other titans of the industry? They are noticeably absent
and mute on the whole idea of concern. <
Maybe they don't have time between profit sessions to mingle with us "Titan bashers".
Being so busy and all feeding the children of all their employees........................................
>It struck me once again, reading what Mark wrote, that this phenomenon that we are
appraising has no critics where it counts. Here is a new kid on the block that came
with a great enabling device that it felt should be free to those who can most use it but
least afford it, is now having it's legs being ripped out of it's sockets for being so
Who are we talking about now?
>I suggest that the thoughts of all CEO's, board members, and decision makers that
this industry be solicited via email to see how much they are concerned. Will it be
for the grace of God, go I" or will it be that they do not feel comfortable with a "clean
profile, being _practiced at the art of deception_ themselves? How do people that work
MS really feel? Are they free to express a view?<
Just as free as they are to head for the door........nondisclosure agreements
>And what Christopher Pall wrote:>Why are we leaving out international leaders?
>By all means, this is not confined to the US. The way we, or whoever controls it, uses
technology, regardless of the OS or platform, could make such transitions that no
will insure self determination. Indeed, the jury of peers will somehow prevail as they are
to do in matters that concern economic and political decision making. All the other folks
able to do is try to repair their cultures.
True inclusive democracy is theoretically ideal, but practically impossible. Perhaps, as
have done with government, a suitable compromise can be constructed - but God help
if its as compromising as our current institution.
We ARE obliged to invite further and broader participation, to "think globally". But that
not hinder our more "local" action. Construct the letter that addresses our immediate
and opinions re: Microsoft and the computer "industry" to the attention of our elected
appointed officials (legislative & judicial). Build on that with a sequel to address the
re: the internet. And add the responses of our global representatives to the receipt of
of the first two constructions, with a request for their opinion as to the implications for their
communities and their countries and the world.
Easy to say - tough to do. But keeping it focused on one practical first step will make it
>Perhaps I am being to cynical - so on a more humorous note, you may wish to visit:
><http://www.tiac.net/users/billg40/> if you have not had the chance. Even if it's
patronizing and sanitized form, I find something funny yet tragic about this lampoon.<
Bittersweet, you might say - at least I do.
Glenn T. Livezey, Ph.D.
Director of Perinatal Research
Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
University of Nebraska Medical Center
600 South 42nd Street
Omaha, NE 68198-3255