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EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 7 4/30/1993 email@example.com
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062Ð9424
In this issue:
Congressman Boucher Introduces NREN Applications Bill
"Future of Computing" Program in Palo Alto, CA
Congressman Boucher Introduces NREN Applications Bill
--Offers greatly expanded vision of applications program
for widespread social benefit
by Andrew Blau
EFF Associate for Telecommunications Policy
On April 21, Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced legislation
to create computer and networking applications to serve the
education, library, and health care communities, and to promote
access to government information. The bill, H.R. 1757, significantly
expands on similar provisions found in last year's "Information
then-Senator Gore's follow-up to his NREN bill, the High Performance
Computing Act ("HPCA")), and the Senate bill to promote U.S.
competitiveness, S. 4.
Boucher, who chairs the House Science Subcommittee which oversees
the NSF, has held oversight hearings on the development of the NREN
library, and health care sectors, have been included in this
*a substantial broadening of the focus of NREN to accelerate
progress toward "a universally accessible high-capacity and high
speed data network for the nation";
*a significant commitment to public libraries, K-12 schools, and
support for hardware purchases;
*the creation and inclusion of local 'civic networks' of local libraries,
schools, and local and state government offices, which would be
connected to the Internet;
*an emphasis on promoting access to government information; and
*a codification of the distinction between research and production
This bill also shifts away from the manufacturing focus of the earlier
bills; it has no provisions for manufacturing applications at all.
There are a handful of weak spots, most notably that the bill seems
to emphasize broadband connections to the Internet, which EFF
believes could drive up the costs of the connections program and
or responsible agency for the government information program, the
network security program, the privacy program or the ease of use
EFF supports the approach outlined in this bill, and will be working
to secure passage of it. We will also seek some minor modifications in
order to improve the bill at the margins -- for example, to improve
the access to information section in order to support putting federal
nformation online and enabling innovative non-profit groups to
make it available as demonstration projects, and to clarify that the
broadband provisions are an option, not a mandate. Overall, however,
EFF believes this is a substantive advance that merits widespread
EFF will make a copy of the full text of the bill in our ftp archives
Sections 1 and 2 include the bill's title ("High Performance Computing
and High Speed Networking Applications Act of 1993") and the
Congressional findings that support the need for this legislation.
Sec. 3. Applications of the High Performance Computing Program.
Contains the major provisions, which are proposed as an amendment
to the original HPCA. Sections 301 through 305 cover administrative
Sec. 301 establishes the applications program. The bill improves on S.
accessible and usable by all persons in the United States"; adds the
mandates that the Plan to create applications must take into account
the recommendations of the High Performance Computing Advisory
Committee, which this bill also mandates will include representatives
of the research, K-12, higher education, and library communities,
consumer and public interest groups, network providers, and the
computer, telecommunications and information industries.
Sec. 302 describes the Plan to implement the program. The Plan
must: (a) be submitted within one year and revised at least once
every two years; (b) include goals and priorities, specific
Sec. 303 describes the role of the Federal Coordinating Committee for
Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) for coordination
among agencies and budget review.
Sec. 304 creates a new "Coordinator" position, which is to be chosen
from the staff of the White House Office of Science and Technology
and act as Congressional and public liaison.
Sec. 305 describes the annual reports that each agency is to submit
to OMB and OMB's review and report to the President.
The major application areas:
Sec. 306 creates a program to foster network access. This is a new
local governments, etc. It includes support for buying hardware and
connecting those local nets to the Internet; it also expands training to
teachers, students, librarians, government personnel to use networks
and the Internet. Note however, that the provisions specify
broadband connections, which could slow down the program,
ncrease the costs, and reduce the beneficiaries if institutions are not
free to choose the most appropriate-sized connection for their needs.
NSF is the lead agency. Over the next five years, it authorizes 20, 60,
Sec. 307 calls for research into security and privacy of information,
ntegrity of digital information, and ease of use for non specialists.
This is also a new provision with no counterpart in S. 4. It authorizes
these activities (i.e., $151 million). No lead agency is specified.
Sec. 308 outlines educational applications. H.R. 1757 broadens the
additional features to support the intent of this section. New
order to demonstrate the educational value of the Internet; support
for systems, software and networks for "informal education"
ncluding job training and life-long learning applications outside of
communities; a clearinghouse of K-12 network projects and available
educational resources; and the creation of undergraduate level
course materials for student teachers to familiarize them with the
applications. Other elements are similar to or better specified
versions of provisions found in S. 4 that call for projects to enable K-
level students and teachers, and to gain access to educational
materials and other computing resources. NSF is directed to be the
lead agency, and the section authorizes 24, 70, 82, 94 and 94 million
Sec. 309 outlines health care applications. This is a substantially
expanded version of S. 4's health care section. The lead agency is
Health and Human Services, which is to implement it through the
NLM, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease
Control. H.R. 1757 also splits health care applications into three
of entirely new provisions: health information to public, and health
million) over the next five years.
Applications for health information to the public include: consumer-
oriented, interactive, multimedia materials for health promotion and
community health and human service agencies, schools and public
libraries; interactive, multimedia materials to assist patients in
customized preventative and treatment information to non
Applications for health delivery systems and population data sets
nclude: networks and software for communication among local
centers, clinics, entitlement offices, and school based clinics to enable
national health trends.
Sec. 310 describes the applications programs for libraries. Most of
this section describes the same digital library applications found in S.
users; high speed digitizing of printed and photographic materials;
tools to search huge volumes of stored text, imagery, data and sound;
encouragement of the development and adoption of standards; smart
librarians and database users; making networked databases easy to
use; and visualization tools to help browse through large volumes of
magery. The subsection on the development of prototypes, however,
s expanded in three significant ways. H.R. 1757 specifies that the
mportantly, H.R. 1757 specifies that the prototype libraries will be
accessible to the public via the Internet. Lastly, H.R. 1757 requests
an evaluation of the suitability and utility of distributing electronic
nformation over the Internet, including an assessment of the
barriers that hinder the use of the Internet for this purpose. H.R.
mages to be made available over computer networks. NSF is named
as the lead agency, and 10, 30, 35, 44, and 44 million dollars ($163
million) is authorized over five years. For its part, NASA is
authorized 6, 16, 20, 20, and 20 million dollars ($82 million) for the
Sec. 311 calls for applications for government information. H.R. 1757
the use of that information. H.R. 1757 also calls for the creation of
technologies to increase access to and effective use of government
nformation in support of three goals: research and education;
economic development; and an informed citizenry. Finally, the
the public find and retrieve government information. No agency is
Section 4 changes the High Performance Computing Advisory
Committee into a Computing *and Applications* Advisory Committee.
ndustries. Among the Committee responsibilities is to assess
needs of the targeted populations and to estimate the number of
users served by the applications.
Section 5 rewrites Section 102 of the HPCA. Whereas HPCA proposed
that portions of the NREN would reach gigabit transmission rates "to
the extent technically feasible," this bill appears to assume gigabit
networking and moves on to redefine test-bed networks separately.
The Network Program now would have three parts: R&D to support
networks and to support applications that exceed what commercial
networks can handle; and a connections program to help researchers,
educators and students obtain access to and use of the Internet.
H.R. 1757 adds a new section to the HPCA, 102(d), that would codify
the distinction between experimental, "bleeding-edge" research
networks and services available off-the-shelf from commercial
bill is enacted, test bed networks are forbidden to provide services
that could otherwise be provided satisfactorily over commercial
Other sections include one that creates a new OSTP Associate Director
to oversee Federal efforts to disseminate scientific and technical
nformation, and a handful of miscellaneous provisions.
Program Announcement for Palo Alto, California
from Ted Haynes of the Churchill Club
Terry Winograd and Jim Warren will speak on "The Future of
Computing and Its Impact on Society", May 27, 1993, at the Hyatt
Rickey's, Palo Alto, California; sponsored by the Churchill Club (415-
Terry Winograd is a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford and a
founder of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Jim
Warren is a MicroTimes columnist, founder of Infoworld, and a
founder of the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conferences. They
Will more powerful computers turn into twenty-first century
economic growth, privacy, education, and the family? Come and find
The Churchill Club, founded in 1985, is a non-profit public affairs
organization in Silicon Valley that provides a non-partisan forum on
timely issues. Past speakers include Edward Teller, Bill Joy, Bill
Clinton and Sandra Kurtzig. The club has 1100 members of which
about 66% work in a "high tech" related company.
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