A Practical Navigator for the Internet Economy

National Information Infrastructure: The Dark Side in Washington State, pp. 1-5

We publish the short introduction and table of contents to an 85,000 word Special Report on NII and Information policy in Washington state where we conducted two weeks of field research at the end of May. We find that the state is developing a network of data bases extending from schools, to social and medical programs, to economic development efforts, to smart highways, to kiosks for electronic interaction with citizens and between agencies. We find also that data is being shared across agencies with inadequate privacy protection and that PIAP, the major state task force designed to bring the citizens of the state into an understanding of the process has failed in its mission.

The picture is grim. In the words of one of those whom we interviewed: The gold mine [from the data bases] lies in the realm of being able to control the progression of society and completely maximize at every moment the flow of a person's existence as a consumer. It would be nice to hear Al Gore turn around and say - "the information super highway. It is not that. It is a massive control and social engineering mechanism. This is all it ever will be. There will be no privacy left if we continue with things the way they are currently being done."

We anticipate publishing the entire report (cost $285) by July 15.

Access Indiana Preferred Providers Chosen, pp. 6-14

Ameritech (not surprisingly) and Sprint were announced on June 13 as the Access Indiana Program' preferred transport providers. Some controversy arose immediately when some local ISPs realized that the Ameritech portion of the program depended on Long Distance Internet Providers. Three (IQuest, Powernet, and CICnet were announced as having signed up with Ameritech Advanced Data Services, the Ameritech Internet provider subsidiary.

When other ISPs asked why they had not been informed, the Ameritech representative said that Ameritech had held an open solicitation for LDIPs. It took well over a week from that point before it was publicly announced that the solicitation was in April 1994 via a posting to a usenet news group and the com-priv mail list some 4 months before Access Indiana was announced.

When questions about the operations of the awards were not answered by members of the Access Indiana program on the Access Indiana mail list, we began to pursue an interview with Ameritech. Thirteen days later, on July 5, the interview with Dean Riddlebarger, Operations Manager of the AADSnet / Access Indiana award took place.

Dean explained that Sprint Link would be selling Access Indiana tariffed connections to public libraries, k-12 schools, state agencies, and higher education across the state. Ameritech would be doing the same thing only its customers would owe it a fee and an additional fee to whichever LDIP they chose. The LDIP itself also has to pay Ameritech a startup and then a monthly fee to connect to its POP.

When asked about GTE, Dean added that GTE TI, an IXC, and GTE subsidiary, was co-prime contractor with Ameritech. GTE TI was there to build backbones between AADSnet POPs, so that the Intelenet Commission could have a statewide TCP/IP network where traffic need not be routed out of state to get from one part of the state to another. The Commission was asking that work on the AADSnet LDIP internet connections proceed now while it tabled the GTE backbone statement of work in order to refine what it wanted to do there.

Powernet turned up in the InterNIC data base as Epowernet, with an Eclipse Consulting Group as parent company. It was sharing a network with CIOE the Sprint partner, and although an Ameritech LDIP had no active customers or service. Robert Petersen, President of Eclipse, told the Access Indiana list that he had started Epowernet specifically to provide LDIP service to Ameritech Access Indiana customers.

When we asked Dean how Eclipse had heard things that other ISP's had not, he replied that Ameritech had been very explicit in its proposal to the state of Indiana about the LDIP program and the reasons for it. It was the decision of the Intelenet Commission not to release any part of the Ameritech proposal before the award, not his. As far as Eclipse was concerned, one of its employees was working for Dean on his POP build-out during the spring of 1995. Eclipse, realizing what was happening, decided to be entrepreneurial.

We also interviewed Carson Hanrahan, Master Sysop, Trader's Connection. Carson indicated he was rather concerned to have Ameritech as the major LEC in Indiana, controlling the local loop for all ISPs, having its own ISP business and being given control of local content by the state. Carson also expressed a concern that Indiana politicians might one day close off the state network from the rest of the Internet.

As we went to press, one of the providers who had wanted to be an Ameritech LDIP told us it was dropping out because the cost had just significantly increased. Dean told us that Ameritech had decided not to bid on turnkey hardware platforms for the community network portion of the Access Indiana program. Sprint via its local partner has done so. The cost is being quoted at roughly $90,000 per year for nets in the rural part of the state. Quite an irony in view of the steadfast insistence of the Access Indiana committee that the community nets could not use grant money to pay for their own hardware. One community net has already received a grant from MCI. Another has gotten started through a local ISP.

Cyber Porn, pp. 15-16, 24

We reprint Dave Hughes' Declaration of Civil disobedience with its call for the development of and reliance on technical means in the hands of parents and teachers to control what children rather view rather than legal attacks on the first Amendment We add some observations from other discussions, and close with Jon Carroll's outstanding column: "I Have Met the Enemy; I Have Bad News."

Colorado Study Part 4, pp. 17 - 22

This six page installment concludes part one, The View from the Top. It finishes the interview with Guy Cook, and describes infrastructure in Boulder via interviews with Ken Klingenstein and Oliver McBrian.