Messaggio immesso all'interno dell'area telematica CYBERPUNK.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Una piattaforma aperta per le strutture di telecomunicazione
L'Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) è un'organizzazione nata nel 1990 in seguito all'operazione Sun Devil quando la polizia federale sequestrò indiscriminatamente materiale di hacker americani e arrestò molti di loro.
In questo articolo l'EFF mostra come sia possibile fin da ora realizzare a basso costo reti di telecomunicazioni uniformente distribuite sul territorio e soprattutto spiega quali principi è necessario seguire nello sviluppo di network che garantiscano affidabilità, tutela della privacy, capillarità di diffusione, economicità e facilità d'uso e consentano così, indipendentemente dalla preparazione tecnica e dalle disponibilità economiche dell'utente, un uso facile e generalizzato che garantisca la più amplia diffusione possibile delle potenzialità democratiche e progressiste delle nuove tecnologie.
(1496) Wed 8 Jan 92 23.11
By: Luc Pac
To: Net People
Re: National Public Network
St: Local Sent
Una versione ridotta di questo manifesto era stata tempestivamente messa in area qualche mese fa dal fratello Digihippie. Spero di fare comunque opera utile.
THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION*
AN OPEN PLATFORM FOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE**
The Infrastructure Challenge.
Until now the telecommunications policy debate has largely been framed as a struggle among entrenched commercial interests over who will control and dominate markets such as information services, manufacturing, and long distance service.
It is time to refocus the debate by defining public goals and enumerating specific steps to achieve them.
Public policy should be guided by an overarching social vision of what we call the National Public Network, a vibrant web of information links to serve as the main channels for commerce learning, education, politics, social welfare, and entertainment in the future.
This network will include the voice telephone service that we are already so familiar with, along with video images, sound, and hybrid forms of communication.
In the view of EFF we need more than just safeguards, entry level tests or new telephone company investment in information services and fiber optics.
In order to ensure a level playing field, encourage diversity, and safeguard the freedom of users, we must build an open telecommunications platform according to the following principles:
- establish an open platform for information services by speedy deployment of '"'Personal ISDN'"' nation-wide;
- ensure competition in local exchange services;
- promote First Amendment free expression by reaffirming the principles of common carriage;
- foster innovations that make networks and information services easy to use;
- protect personal privacy; and
- preserve and enhance socially equitable access to communications media.
I. Create an Open Platform for Innovation in Information Services by Speedily Deploying a Nation-wide, Affordable '"'Personal ISDN'"'.
To achieve the information diversity currently available in print and broadcast media in the new digital forum, we must guarantee widespread accessibility to a platform of basic services necessary for creating information services of all kinds.
Such a platform offers the dual benefit of helping to creating a level playing field for competition in the information services market, and stimulating the development of new services beneficial to consumers.
Some suggest that the technology necessary to offer such a platform is far off and would require billions of dollars of investment in fiber optics.
Actually, we have a platform that meets these criteria within our reach now. Personal ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) could make voice, data, video, high-speed fax, video, and multimedia services available TODAY to telephone subscribers all around the country.
ISDN as a key information services technology is well-known in the communications industry, but its potential as a universal platform is neither properly appreciated, nor properly priced and positioned by the RBOCs as a basic service for everyone, including consumers and small businesses.
The desktop personal computer represented a revolutionary platform for innovation of the 1980's because it was designed according to the principle of open architecture.
This principle allowed numerous hardware and software entrepreneurs to enter the computer industry.
To bring the benefits of the information age to the American public in the 1990's, we need to build an open, ubiquitous digital communications platform for information services.
Personal ISDN can enable the citizen's access into the Information Age because it has these key characteristics:
1. A Critical Mass of Features:
Existing ISDN standards, once fully implemented, offer switched, high-speed, error-free data communications which can deliver a variety of advanced information services.
Many of the capabilities once thought to be possible only on an all-fiber network, such as interactive full-motion video can be achieved to a significant degree over Personal ISDN.
This is due to continuing revolutions in compression technology which make it is possible to use copper wire-based ISDN to carry video signals to their destination, at which point they can be uncompressed through use of increasingly inexpensive processors, which are built-in to computers, televisions, and other consumer electronic equipment.
To create a market for information services, everyone must be able to reach information services.
We must build the new public network by making it easy for people to connect to it with a few simple decisions.
Again, an analogy to the personal computer market is helpful.
Minicomputers and mainframes were marketed to companies. Microcomputers (PC's) were marketed to individuals.
Personal ISDN-- which can be provided over the existing copper plant that comprises today's public switched network -- can reach into every home and every small business without laying a single mile of fiber optic cable.
Telephone company data indicates that over the next three years majority of central office switches will be upgraded to the requisite digital capability to handle ISDN.
Platform services, even if they are ubiquitous, are useless unless they are also affordable to American consumers. Just as the voice telephone network would be of little value if only a small fraction of the country could afford to have a telephone in their home, a national information platform will only achieve its full potential when a large majority of Americans can afford access to it.
All available information indicates that ISDN can be priced as a basic service.
The cost of carrying a digital ISDN call from the customer to the local switch is just the same as an analog voice call in the digital switching regime that ISDN pre-supposes.
There are some fixed investment costs still to be incurred to upgrade the nation's central office switches in order to handle ISDN traffic, but commitments to these investments are already largely made.
What is needed is to raise the floor by creating a new standard, minimum platform for information exchange.
ISDN must be re-positioned as a basic service, available to consumers and small businesses.
This service can be the test bed for a whole new generation of information services which could benefit the American public and level the competitive playing field.
II. Ensure Competition in Local Exchange Services
Many consumer and industry groups are concerned that as the modified final judgement restrictions are lifted, the RBOCs will come to dominate the design of the emerging National Public Network, shaping it more to accommodate their business goals than the public interest.
The bottleneck that RBOCs have on local exchange services critical to information providers can be minimized by unbundling these services and allowing non-BOC providers to offer them in competition with BOC local exchange companies.
Some suggest that an entry level test is necessary to guarantee that alternative infrastructure is developed for information services delivery.
Alternative pathways are a useful and necessary part of our telecommunications infrastructure, but we should not rely on them alone to level the information services playing field.
First and foremost we must find ways to open up the existing public switched network to competition at all levels.
Competition will promote innovation in the services on which information providers rely, and help guarantee equal access to all local exchange facilities.
The post-divestiture phone system offers us a valuable lesson:
a telecommunications network can be managed effectively by separate companies--even including bitter opponents like AT&T and MCI--as long as they can connect equitably and seamlessly from the user's standpoint.
Together with the open platform offered by a Personal ISDN, unbundling and expanded competition is a key to ensuring equitable access to local exchange services needed for information service delivery.
III. Promote First Amendment Free Expression by Affirming the Principles of
In a society which relies more and more on electronic communications media 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 which provide conduit services for the general public.
The common carrier's duties have evolved over hundreds of years in the common law and later statutory provisions.
The rules governing their conduct can be roughly distilled in a few basic principles. Common carriers have a duty to provide services in a non-discriminatory manner at a fair price, interconnect with other carriers, and provide adequate services.
The communications carriers who make up the critical elements of the public switched network -- local exchange companies and inter-exchange companies -- should be subject to comprehensive common carriage duties as described above.
All communications carriers, however, are not necessarily common carriers.
Unlike arrangements found in many countries, our communications infrastructure is owned by private corporations instead of by 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 regardless of its content whether it is voice, data, images, or sound.
IV. Make the Network Simple to Use
One of the great virtues of today's public switched telephone network, from a user's perspective, is that it operates according to patterns and principles that are now intuitively obvious to almost everyone.
As this network grows beyond just voice services, information services that become part of this network should reflect this same ease-of-use and accessibility.
The development of such standards and patterns for information services is vital, not just because it helps makes the network easier to use, but also because it ensures an open platform for information providers.
However, standards development will be ad hoc and even chaotic at first.
Numerous standards may be tried and found inadequate by users before a mature set of standards emerges.
Congress and government regulatory bodies may need to set out the ground rules for standards planning in order to ensure that all interested parties have an equal voice, and the resulting standards should be closely analyzed to make sure that they reflect public needs.
But, direct government involvement in the process should be as limited as possible.
V. Protect Personal Privacy
As the NPN develops, there are threats to both communications privacy and information privacy.
First, electronic communications meant to be private can be intercepted without the consent or even knowledge of the communicating parties.
The privacy of telephone conversations and electronic mail is already protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
However, communications in other media, such a cellular phone conversations, can be intercepted using readily available technology by private third parties without the knowledge or consent of the people involved.
Second, as the public switched telephone network is used for an increasing variety of transactions, it will hold more personal information about consumers.
We need to give citizens greater control over information collected, stored, and disseminated by telephone companies and information providers.
As the public outcry over Caller ID demonstrates, citizens want and deserve to have adequate notice about what information is being collected and disseminated by communications firms and must be able to exercise informed consent before information collected for one purpose can be used for any other purpose.
VI. Preserve and Enhance Socially Equitable Access to Communications Media
The principle of equitable access to basic services is an integral part of nation's public switched telephone network.
We must ensure that all Americans have access to the growing information services market.
Some paint a vision of the future in which all citizens have access to education services such as distance learning or on-line health care services.
Neither market competition nor lifting restrictions on telephone companies alone will deliver these services.
It is time for those who propose serving the '"'information have nots'"' to admit that equity can not be achieved except by legislative mandate and public funding.
The chance to influence the shape of a new medium usually arrives when it is too late: when the medium is frozen in place.
Today, because we are at the cross-roads of telecommunications policy, and because of the unusual awareness people have of its possibilities, there is a rare opportunity to shape this new medium in the public interest, without sacrificing diversity or financial return.
For a copy of the complete testimony on which this overview is based or for more information please contact:
Mitchell Kapor, President Electronic Frontier Foundation, 155 Second St., Cambridge, MA 02141, 617-864-0665, mkaporeff.org
- or -
Daniel J. Weitzner, EFF Washington Office, 666 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 303, Washington, DC 20003, 212-544-9237, dweitznereff.org
* The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a public interest organization established in 1990 to educate the public about the democratic potential of new computer and communications technologies.
EFF works to develop and seeks to implement public policies to maximize freedom, competitiveness, and civil liberty in the electronic social environments being created by these new technologies.
** This overview is a summary of testimony presented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance in hearings regarding Telecommunications Infrastructure Legislation and Proposals, October 24, 1991.
The testimony was prepared by Mitchell Kapor in consultation with Jerry Berman, Director of the ACLU Information Technology Project and Danny Weitzner.
Many people in the computer and networking community also contributed valuable comments and suggestions.
-- ME2 * Origin: BITs Against The Empire - Zabriskie Point (. of FOX 2:333/403.3)