EFFector Online Volume org Publicati

Found at: gopher.meulie.net:70/EFFector/effector5.13

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EFFector Online Volume 5 No. 13       7/23/1993       editors@eff.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation   ISSN 1062-9424

                        In this issue:
             Online Congressional Hearings Postponed
             Summary of New Infrastructure Bill
             EFF Joins Telecommunications Policy Roundtable

Online Congressional Hearing Postponed

Hall organizer Carl Malamud explains:

"I wanted to explain a bit more my understanding of why we
are delaying the congressional hearings.  Please be very
clear that I do not represent the committee and that this
explanation is being sent in my capacity as the organizer
of the Internet Town Hall.

"The Internet Town Hall depends on voluntary donations from a
large number of parties.  For this Internet Town Hall, we've
O'Reilly & Associates, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, ARPA, Empirical
Tools and Technologies, BBN, UUNET, Metropolitan Fiber Systems,
and many others.

"The purpose of this broad coalition is to demonstrate how the
congressional process.  We wanted to make the point that there
exists a general-purpose infrastructure that allows everything
from email to IRC chat to WAIS databases to the World Wide Web
to be accessed.

"One of the key things we wanted to show the Congress was how 
audio and video can work over a general purpose infrastructure 
transit networks, which tend to get overloaded during events 
use of DARTNET, the experimental advanced research network they 

"The underlying transmission facilities for DARTNET are operated
by Sprint.  In order for the National Press Club, the headquarters
line from our facility to the Sprint point of presence a few
blocks away.  We had requested Sprint to provide that T1 line
and become part of the Internet Town Hall.

"In the course of examining our request, Sprint postulated that
furnishing a T1 line for a congressional hearing might violate
congressional ethics laws.  There are in fact laws on the books
that prohibit members of Congress or its committees from accepting
n-kind donations over a certain value under certain circumstances.
Sprint forwarded their concerns to the House Ethics Committee,
and then later informed the Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and Finance and my organization of their actions.

"Needless to say, there are technical alternatives to the T1 line
that we asked Sprint to furnish.  In fact, a single call to
Metropolitan Fiber Systems resulted in a 10 Mbps virtual Ethernet
using ATM between Washington, D.C. and Boston which is available 
for the hearing when it does occur.

"Even though the technical issue is solved, there still remains
the ethics concern.  We firmly believe that a broad industry/government
adamant that *ANY* ethical concerns *MUST* be cleared before

"The crux of the issue has to do with in-kind contributions.  If
you are testifying before Congress, it is clearly allowed to bring
n computers.  However, a donation to the underlying infrastructure
of the congressional committee might be construed as an expense
that must be reimbursed by the committee to the donor.  The purpose
of such laws is to establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that
the congressional process is clean and not subject to the undue
nfluence of a particular interest group.

"We will spend the next few months describing to congressional
officials exactly what we have in mind for the hearings.  Since this
benefit in such a demonstration.

"I'd like to thank all the volunteers for their time and effort
to date.  A tremendous amount of behind the scenes efforts has
already taken place and we're hoping to salvage some of that
effort so we don't have to start from scratch.  I'd also like
to thank everybody on the network who sent in letters.  The
Subcommittee and Congressman Markey were truly impressed at
the volume and the quality of the commentary from the public
through e-mail and are looking forward to a successful on-line

"BTW, we're keeping congress@town.hall.org open ... no sense
n cutting off communication!

Carl Malamud

Telecommunications Infrastructure Act of 1993 (S. 1086)

First hearing scheduled: July 14, 9:30 AM

A Summary by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Senate Communications Subcommittee is now in the process of 
considering legislation that would eliminate the legal monopoly that 
local telephone companies have on local phone service, allow any 
communications provider to offer local phone service, and allow local 
telephone companies to compete fully in the cable television market.  
The legislation's goal is to promote increased investment in the 
nation's telecommunications infrastructure.

The bill proposes many significant policy changes, chief among 
companies' monopoly on local telephone service.  The policies proposed 
are laid out in broad concepts, leaving the Federal Communications 
Commission to wrestle with the actual implementation of the policies.


One year after the bill is enacted, any company would be allowed 
to offer local telephone service.  Potential new entrants that would be 
allowed in the local exchange market under this bill include cable 
television companies, wireless service providers, and even Bell 
companies outside their current local exchange monopoly areas.  Any 
State laws that would preserve the current telephone company monopoly 
or limit the entry of competitors are pre-empted by the bill.


Any company that offers telecommunications service or is 
nterconnected with the local exchange carrier's network has several
obligations under this bill.  The definition of telecommunications 
and possibly one-way video services such as those currently provided by 
cable television companies.  Carriers' obligations include:

All carriers that either provide telecommunications service or are 
nterconnected with a carrier that provides telecommunications
for the purpose of providing telecommunications or information services 
to users of either network.  Network operators must provide 
nterconnection under nondiscriminatory terms, on an unbundled basis.
Operators must also supply all necessary technical information to enable 
others to interconnect and interoperate from one network to another.

All providers of telecommunications service must contribute to the 
"preservation and advancement of universal service."  States, in 
cooperation with the FCC, are responsible to make regulations that 
establish the mechanism for supporting universal service in the newly 
competitive telephone market.  The bill does provide, however, that any 
universal service support should be given directly to "individuals and 
entities that cannot afford the cost" of telecommunications service.  
Subsidy for users' communications equipment is also allowed.

The FCC will establish regulations the provide for "portable" 
numbers from all carriers as soon as possible.  Thus, a customer could 
numbers.  The administration of the numbering system would be removed 
from Bellcore and placed with an "impartial entity."

The bill recognizes that in a competitive market environment, 
necessary for providing advanced telecommunications services.  The 
minimum level of service desired in the bill is that which would 
"provide subscribers with sufficient network capacity to access to 
nformation services that provide a combination of voice, data, image,
and video; and are available at nondiscriminatory rates that are based 
on the reasonably identifiable costs of providing such services."  It is 
not clear that such services would be interactive.  State regulators would 
be given the primary responsibility to ensure that carriers have an 
ncentive to provide high-quality services to all areas.  If this
approach fails, the FCC is empowered to take action to have necessary 


All segments of the communications industry are encouraged to work 
together to set voluntary standards for interconnection and 
nteroperability.  If the FCC determines that standards development is
not succeeding or is proceeding too slowly, it may set incentives or 

The FCC and the States are required to ensure that advanced 
telecommunications services are designed to be accessible to people with 


The current ban preventing local telephone companies from entering 
the cable television market is lifted, in part.  Local phone companies 
telecommunications service must do so through separate subsidiaries and 
obey laws regarding cross-subsidization.  Phone companies are still not 
allowed to purchase more than 5 percent interest in any cable system 
that provides services within the phone companies' service regions.


The restrictions on local phone companies against providing long 
the bill, to enable local phone companies to function more easily in the 
cable television and cellular phone markets.  Bell companies would be 
allowed to operate wireline and satellite links for the purposes of 
companies to carry cellular phone calls from one region to another, and 
to hand off calls from one cellular system to another.  

Bell companies that provide information services must do so 
through a separate subsidiary in order to prevent cross-subsidies that 
books and records, only engage in arms-length transactions with the Bell 
company, and follow other regulations that the FCC issues regarding 
accounting, tariffing, and business practices.

Telecommunications carriers are prohibited from disclosing 
nformation about individual customers unless there is an affirmative,
any information (Customer Proprietary Network Information) that is 
ncludes quantity, type, and technical characteristics of
telecommunications service used by a customer, as well as information 
contained in bills received by the customer.

[A complete copy of S.1086 is available by anonymous ftp on ftp.eff.org.]
[Please direct any questions to eff@eff.org.]

EFF Joins Telecommunications Policy Roundtable

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is pleased to announce its participation
n the newly formed Telecommunications Policy Roundtable.  With market
actions fast outpacing the public policy process, it is critical that
citizens' groups articulate basic public interest goals that can help frame
the debate over information infrastructure policy.

Organizations such as the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for
Media Education, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the
Roundtable.  We thank these organizations, for creating the very important
forum, in which a wide range of public interest organizations work together
to frame common communications policy goals.  In addition to general

The initial announcement of the Roundtable (posted to com-priv) contained
last year was narrow and lacking in vision.  Though we have never pretended
to know, or be able to pursue, the solutions to all communications policy
nfrastucture debate and to the effort to protect free speech and privacy
n new electronic media.  Some criticize our emphasis on ISDN and other
affordable digital media as too narrow.  We believe that our Open Platform
communications infrastructure policy is discussed.  With the example of
RBOCs lay fiber-to-the-home.  Rather, with affordable, available
technology, those who don't own telephone networks or cable television
networks can start to create the applications and services that will shape
our experience of the information age.  Our Open Platorm efforts are aimed
at increasing the diversity of information sources, expanding the notion of
universal service, increasing access to information, and protecting
begin to expect the benefits of digital networking technology soon, at
affordable rates, and with nondiscriminatory terms.

organizations on June 1, 1993 (several weeks before the Roundtable was
announced), to discuss EFF's long-term policy concerns and to hear the views
of other groups.  A section of the paper that we prepared for that meeting
s appended to this message.  We hope that this will clarify that EFF does
nvite comments on this document, but hope that in the future people who
(Please see also an article in the July/August '93 issue of Wired Magazine
by Mitchell Kapor, EFF's Chairman of the Board, "Where Is the Digital
Highway Really Heading?  A Case for a Jeffersonian Information Policy" for
a broad statement of EFF's infrastructure vision.)

EFF has joined the Roundtable to be part of the process of framing a
comprehensive public interest communications policy.  We are looking
forward to the success of this effort.


A Framework for Discussion

by the Electronic Frontier Foundation

June 1, 1993

For over a decade, techno-prophets have been predicting the
convergence of telephone, computer and television technologies.  In this
many of life's chores would be simplified by artificially-intelligent
from a newfound global village enabled by democratized communications
tools, to an Orwellian multimedia, mind-numbing, thought-controlling,
consumer culture/police-state gone wild.  In the past, discussions of this
convergence has been relegated to the musings of futurists and the arcana
of telecommunications regulatory policy.  This year, however, the grand
convergence is evident both on the front pages of national magazines and
newspapers, as well as in the White House.  Telecommunications
nfrastructure policy -- the management of this grand convergence -- has
arrived as a mainstream policy issue.

Most telling of all, large investments are now being made in order
to take advantage of business opportunities arising out of the convergence
of television, computers, and telecommunications.  Despite existing
nitiatives which blur the traditional media distinctions.  Regional Bell
Operating Companies, including Bell Atlantic and US West, have announced
multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment plans that position them to
expand from the telecommunications market to the video entertainment
market.  By the same token, cable television companies are crossing over
from their traditional domain toward being able to offer telecommunications
competes directly with local telephone companies.  And finally, US West
announced in May 1993 that it will purchase a multi-billion dollar stake in
Time-Warner Entertainment Partners.

All of these developments are being watched with great interest by
Congress and the Administration.  No longer is telecommunications policy a
matter of sorting out the special interests of newspaper companies,
telephone companies, and cable companies.  Rather it has been re-christened
as "information infrastructure" policy.  As such, it is recognized to have
major implications for domestic economic development, global
competitiveness, and science and technology policy.  The ultimate symbol of
this increased interest in telecommunications policy is the Vice
committed to promoting the creation of electronic superhighways in the
nterstate highway system in the 1950s.

Talk of superhighways and potential for new economic growth,
though, may lead some to forget that in shaping information infrastructure
"highways" that are being built here are for speech as well as for
commerce.  In order to preserve the democratic character of our society as

o       Diversity of Information Sources:  Creating an infrastructure that

o       Universal Service:  Ensuring a minimum level of affordable,
nteractive service to all Americans;

o       Free Speech and Common Carriage:  Guaranteeing infrastructure
access regardless of the content of the message that the user is sending;

o       Privacy:  Protecting the security and privacy of all communications
carried over the infrastructure, and safeguarding the Fourth and Fifth
Amendment rights of all who use the information infrastructure;

o       Development of Public Interest Applications and Services:  Ensuring
that public interest applications and services that are not produced by
the commercial market are available and affordable.

Advances in telecommunications have tremendous potential to support all of
these important communications policy values.  In many cases, inexpensive
equipment exists that could give individuals and small organizations a
However, if not implemented with core communications values in mind, the
technology will do more harm than good.  The convergence of historically
nterest community.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation hopes to play a

A. Diversity of Information Sources

Aside from the universal service guaranty, the driving communications
Most agree that from a diversity standpoint, the ideal environment is the
lowest publication and distribution costs.  Despite the regulatory steps
taken to promote diversity in the mass media, the desired variety of
opinion and information has never been fully achieved.

The switched nature of advanced digital network technology offers
to end the spectrum and channel scarcity problem altogether.  If new
network services are deployed with adequate down- and up-stream capacity,
and allow point-to-point communication, then each user of the network can
be both an information consumer and publisher.  Network architecture that
s truly peer-to-peer can help produce in digital media the kind of
nformation diversity that only exists today only in the print media.  If
network access is guaranteed, as is the case in the public switched
telephone network, the need for content providers to negotiate for air time
and channel allocation will be eliminated.  Even in a truly interactive
network environment, the government will still need to provide financial
available, but channel set-asides per se will not be necessary.

B. Universal Service:  From Plain Old Telephone Service to Plain Old Digital

The principle of equitable access to basic services is an integral part of
this nation's public switched telephone network.  From the early history
of the telephone network, both government and commercial actors have taken
and accessible to all segments of society.  Since the divestiture of AT&T,
many of the internal cross-subsidies that supported the "social contract"
of universal service have fallen away.  Re-creation of old patterns of
thought must be given to sources of funds that will guaranty that the
economically disadvantaged will still have access to basic communications

The universal service guaranty in the Communications Act of 1934
nclude "plain old digital service."  Extending this guaranty means
ensuring that new basic digital services are affordable and ubiquitously
available.  Equity and the democratic imperative also demand that these
nformation "haves" and "have nots."

C. Free Speech: Common Carriage

as its primary conduit for expression, full support for First Amendment
values requires extension of the common carrier principle to all of these
new media.  Common carriers are companies that provide conduit services for
the general public.  The common carrier's duties have evolved over hundreds
of years in the common law and statutory provisions.  Common carriers have
a duty to:

o     provide services in a non-discriminatory manner at a fair price, 
o     interconnect with other carriers, and 
o     provide adequate services

The public must have access to digital data transport services, such as

Re-shaping common carriage duties for new media environments is of
critical importance as mass media and telecommunications services converge
and recombine in new forms.  Telephone companies, the traditional providers
of common carriage communications services, are moving closer and closer to
television companies, which have functioned as program providers, are
carriage transport is available to those who want it.  

Unlike arrangements found in many countries, our communications
nfrastructure is owned by private corporations, not the government.
Therefore, a legislatively imposed expanded duty of common
carriage on public switched telephone carriers is necessary to protect free
expression effectively.  A telecommunications provider under a common
carrier obligation would have to carry any legal message, whether it is
voice, data, images, or sound, regardless of its content.  For example, if
full common-carrier protections were in place for all of the conduit services
offered by the phone company, the terminations of "controversial" 900
number services, such as political fundraising, would not be allowed, just
as the phone company is now prohibited by the Communications Act from
matter of law and policy, the common carriage protections should be
extended from basic voice service to cover basic data service, as well.

D. Privacy

With dramatic increases in reliance on digital media for communications, 
the need for comprehensive protection of privacy in these media grows.  
The scope of the emerging digital communications revolution poses major 
new challenges for those concerned about protecting communications 
carried, for example, over a cellular or other wireless communication
nexpensive, easy-to-obtain scanning technology.  As such, access to
to protect their own privacy.  Government controls on encryption systems,
constitutional issues and could undermine individuals' ability to protect
the privacy of personal information and communications. 

For more information contact:

Electronic Frontier Foundation
Suite 950 East
Washington, DC  20001


A complete copy of this document is available by anonymous ftp at
ftp.eff.org in the file named 


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