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@DDDDDDDDDD6 Computer Network Gets Overseer GDDDDDDDDDDDY
: Houston Chronicle :
Houston Chronical [Joe Abernathy]
¤Monday Sept 24, 1990‡ "Computer Network Gets Overseer":
A newly formed non-profit corporation will bring Fortune 500 management
talent to the nation's increasingly troubled computer network matrix, say
government and industry sources.
The corporation, Advanced Network & Services, is designed to bring order
to the vast Internet data telecommunications system, which has become a
frequent companion to contraversy while enjoying a sixfold increase in use
The action is expected to pave the way for congressional approval of the
Federal High-Performance Computing Act, a comprehensive law that would,
among other things, pay to vastly expand the communications capacity of the
system. The legislation bogged down after the Houston Chronicle disclosed
the controversial aspects of Internet.
"We have a very valuable tool in the network, and if we use it properly,
it can be a very valuable asset to the country," said Allan H. Weis, chief
executive officer of Advanced Network and a 30-year veteran of IBM, one of
three corporate partners in the new management firm.
Weis said that Advanced Network will provide a day-to-day management and
monitoring of Internet, which connects thousands of military, educational
and private computer networks. It also will serve as a model for other such
partnerships that could help develop and promote the network's services.
The company was formed by IBM, MCI Communications and Merit Inc. Merit
is a Michigan consortium that previously managed the network under the
supervision of the National Science Foundation and will continue to fill
this role under the supervision of Advanced Network.
There are still questions to be answered about the roles the various groups
will play in managing this system.
IBM and MCI, both of which sell equipment and services vital to networking,
provided $5 million each in seed money for the new corporation. It will
actively seek furtther investment by industry and will impose the first formal
fee structure on the network, which only recently evolved from an elite
communications tool for scientists.
"Just as private contractors helped build the interstate highway system, this
new corporation will help build the national information superhighways that
today's information age demands," said Sen. Albert Gore Jr., D-Tenn., the
sponsor of the legislation.
The heart of the computing act is the expansion of Internet into a "data
superhighway" that would link researchers, educators, homes and buisnesses
into a vast network of computing resources. The expanded Internet would be
called the National Research and Education Network, or NREN. It has been
likened to the telephone in terms of its expected impact on American life.
Internet first gained notoriety as the vehicle for the infamous Morris
Worm, a destructive program that paralyzed many of the nation's high
preformance computers in November 1988.
Pieced together over the course of 20 years on the tradition of trust within
the research community, the network is a temping target for abuse and the
favored arena for hackers. At least 5 million people have access to Internet,
which links dozens of nations and which is scheduled to be brought into
secondary schools of Texas.
In June, the Chronicle reported that the network was being used widely and
openly for purposes will outside its research mandate, such as political
activism and the distribution of pornographic art and literature.
Despite an investigation by the science foundation - which has been the
primary distributor of federal dollars for networking - the controversial
use continues, although reduced in scope.
"We observed the growth over the past few years and we looked at the
structure that we had ... and decided that a more formal structure on
the national level should be put into place," said Weis. "Something this
big moves slowly, but it moves."
The science foundation's role in the network is one of the few remaining
aspects of the legislation that must be decided. The National Science
Foundation is well-respected for its leveraging of funds, and the network
infrastructure it molded is reliable and capable. But the foundation has
given scant attention to content, bringing it under fire for the network's
current state of virutal anarchy.
The Department of Energy wants control of the network, but the agency's
viewpoint is considered to narrow, say congressional sources.
The vision of the science foundation combined with the IBM-style management
of Advanced Network is expected to satisfy critics.
"The NREN is such a big effort that the government can't do it by itself,
industry can't do it by itself, and academia can't do it by itself," said
Weis. "To make it successful it's going to take the joint effort of
government, industry and academia."
Advanced Network will draw management expertise from MCI, IBM, Merit,
McGraw-Hill and Merck, the pharmaceutical company known for its ability to
find practicality in cutting-edge research. McGraw-Hill, best known as the
owner of Business Week, is also in the textbook and information services
"Wouldn't it be nice if we were able to provide, over the network, the
newest physics textbook, the the textbook was a living textbook in that you
could watch what happened when you applied additional weight to a fulcrum?"
said Weis, offering one example of an educational use for the network.
Sen. Gore's computing act, which has the support of the Bush administration,
would allocate $2 billion over the course of five years to ensure the nation's
continued dominance in the field of high-performance computing. The National
Research Education Network would recieve $400 million of this amount, with
the rest going for related infrastructure.
"The interstate highway system would not have een built without a federal
commitment," said Gore in behalf of the package. "The federal government
is an essential catalyst foor developing and demonstrating this technology."
The Federal High-Preformance Computing Act is scheduled to be considered by
full Senate before it adjourns in October.
A similar House bill, which was suspended following the Chronicle's
disclosure of Internet's misuse, will be returned to consideration after
approval of the Senate plan.
Well folks, got some chem to finish up. I just caught this article when goin'
downstairs. Looks like Gore is into this eh? great, if ya' didn't know his
wife was the head of the PMRC. And this bit 'bout charging for the net, I
don't like the idea and I'm sure the sites don't either. Also, 'regulating',
it sounds more like 'censoring'.
Guardian Of Time
Ignorance, Theres No Excuse.
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