Agenda for Action in the UK:  Continued

CHAPTER 2 NATIONAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTURE POLICIES

2.1 In 1994 in the European Union (EU), the telecommunications industry had a turnover of 133 billion ECU, and employed 1.2 million people; the hardware and software industries had a turnover of 113 billion ECU and employed one million people; whilst the information content industries had a turnover of 150 billion ECU and employed two million people. Any National Information Infrastructure (NII) depends on the successful development and implementation of four different economic sectors; telecommunications, hardware and software, and content. There are potential disadvantages, for example, in having an outstanding British telecommunications infrastructure if the hardware, software and content industries are dominated by other countries. It has been argued that the European Commission's pioneering work to develop a Europe-wide packet switching network (EURONET) in the 1970s merely resulted in greater exports of US information content to Europe and the subsequent relative decline of the European information content industry.[1] This was because the European Commission had no policy in place at that time regarding the development of information content. The need to take due regard of the needs of all four sectors is a key theme of this Report.

2.2 An NII policy can have two major effects on the economy. First, it affects the growth of the information industries themselves. These include the semiconductor and computer hardware industries, the software industry, the publishing (both traditional and electronic) industries, and the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. These industries account for an important proportion of British GDP and GNP. For example, it is predicted[2] that the IT, electronics and communications sector will account for 10 per cent of United Kingdom GDP by 2005. Indigenous development of such industries means that we have at our disposal access to the tools and services required to exploit electronic information resources effectively.

2.3 Secondly, and arguably more important, policies can be implemented which determine the extent to which all sectors of the economy and society use electronic information resources. Effective information exploitation, within both the public and private sectors, can have a significant multiplier effect on the economy as a whole. This is recognised for example by the European Commission whose 1993 White Paper stated that "the wealth of nations is increasingly based on the creation and exploitation of knowledge". Similar statements are to be found in the US National Information Infrastructure's Agenda for Action and Singapore's policy document IT2000.[3]

2.4 There are many ways in which information policies can be classified.[4] One can distinguish the policies by the audience they are meant to affect (central government, local government, the health service, manufacturing industry, citizens, etc.) This is the approach taken by Moore and Steele.[5] Alternatively, one can divide policies into the type of instrument used to make them happen. Using this approach, six policy approaches can be identified:

    (i)  Legislation: the passing of specific legislation which directly or indirectly impinges on information handling and the information industries, for example data protection, computer misuse, defamation, freedom of information and copyright legislation.

    (ii) Regulation: policies that determine the degree and form of regulation that will be applicable to particular industries or a range of commercial activity. Regulation is particularly associated with, for example, the telecommunications and broadcasting industries, and with the development and implementation of standards.

    (iii) Infrastructure development: this can range from the development of national and international telecommunications infrastructures, to the encouragement (through for example fiscal policy or direct subsidy) of particular information industries such as the software industry.

    (iv) Service provision: policies here range from issues concerned with the development and delivery of government information resources to policies that encourage the private sector to exploit government information resources, or develop new information services. There can also be policies in place to encourage the public and private sectors and citizens to use electronic information.

    (v)  Education policies: these are necessary to ensure a supply of professionals to develop or exploit information resources. Other policies could include those to develop a more general information literacy and ability to manipulate information resources among the population as a whole.

    (vi) Cultural information policies: these relate to the preservation, dissemination and protection of a nation's culture and include policies relating to national libraries, public libraries, museums and broadcasting. Such policies need to take into account the growing importance of electronic information.

2.5 The development of a NII can only take place in co-ordination with similar developments in other countries. Electronic information travelling along telecommunications networks is no respecter of international boundaries, and is rarely affected by the niceties of differences in local laws and regulation. Increasingly information is transmitted internationally, and much of the traffic is created or received by multinational organisations. All of this reflects the globalisation of information activities. It is therefore essential that the United Kingdom maintains its cognisance of developments elsewhere; plays its full part in developing the policies needed in international fora; and resists any temptation to develop national policies that are incompatible with policies and consensus developing around the world. These issues particularly affect areas such as copyright, pornography, defamation, technical standards, the protection of cultural heritage, and transborder data flows, but potentially cover any policy area. Increasingly, the European Commission is actively developing its information policy. For example, in September 1996 a Commission Green Paper is expected on access to information (Freedom of Information). This Green Paper is likely to influence the debates in this country on this topic.

2.6 Government is probably the biggest collector, analyst, provider and disseminator of information in the United Kingdom. The extent to which government adopts computing and telecommunications technologies to handle this information will affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness of government. Governments are major procurers of information technology products and services and therefore potentially wield influence in the market place. Governments can set an example to other sections of the community by becoming leading edge technology users, introducing electronic procurement procedures (thus facilitating the development of electronic commerce), becoming major purchasers and users of electronic information, becoming significant providers of information on the World Wide Web, or requiring adherence to national and internationally backed standards such as Open Systems Interconnection (OSI). The European Union places particular emphasis on the adoption of standards and recognises that the interoperability and interconnection of networks between the administrations of each Member State will be a significant mechanism for the long term integration of the Community as a whole.[6]

2.7 A second area of policy relating to government information is in the provision of such information to the public. Key questions that such a policy must address include: what information does the public want? By what means can it be distributed? How can everyone who needs access have access to this information? Many countries have placed government created information on the Internet, especially on the World Wide Web. In the United Kingdom, the policy has been cautious.

2.8 A third area of policy relating to government information concerns the extent to which government information resources are, or should be, available for third party exploitation. There can be a policy dichotomy, something which is not at all unusual in information policies. First, the Government wishes to encourage the development of the tradeable information sector by allowing the private sector to exploit government information resources through policies to encourage this synergy between the public and private sector. The European Union is particularly keen that such synergies should be developed amongst all Member States. Secondly, the Government wishes to exploit the information for itself, using any income generated to offset the costs of running Government.[7] Thirdly, there is an argument that government information is the property of the taxpayers who paid for its collection and that the Government is under a duty to provide this information equitably, at a fair price (and possibly free of charge and of copyright) and efficiently to the public at large. These three approaches are clearly incompatible, and any policy must represent a compromise between them.

2.9 A final area of policy about government use of information is the question of electronic democracy. Whilst current developments have the ability to empower individuals to make better economic decisions, to undertake lifelong learning, etc., there is an implication that the citizen or consumer will simply be a passive recipient of information passed to him or her. Many observers argue that untrammelled development of the information society along free market lines is unlikely to result in individual empowerment, as both information and the method of communicating it could be left in the hands of the private and public sector elites. There is increasing interest by governments world-wide, led by the USA and Canada, in how electronic information and the telecommunications networks for its distribution can be employed to extend participation of citizens in the democratic process at local, regional, national and supranational levels. This participation can be enhanced by the provision of materials produced by Government in electronic format to those citizens with ability to access it in this way (with the concomitant continued provision in print form for those who do not) combined with electronic mail (e-mail) facilities to permit citizens to communicate with legislators and decision makers at all levels of Government. New technologies offer the potential for electronic voting systems, increased participation of the electorate in decision making and in debating issues, direct e-mail access between elected and electors, and improved access to public records of all kinds.[8]

Telecommunications and Broadcasting

2.10 Over the past decade the telecommunications industry has become one of the most dynamic industries world-wide. The telecommunications sector can be divided into a number of distinct markets, for example, customer premises equipment, the network itself, value added network services and mobile communications. Telecommunications policy is primarily directed toward issues connected with the development of the telecommunications infrastructure and with the regulation of the different market sectors that comprise the overall telecommunications industry. In the United Kingdom the regulatory regime has changed significantly in recent years, and a number of policy documents have reflected the Government's thinking about the future shape of the telecommunications industry.[9] In particular, since 1984, when the Telecommunications Act was passed, the UK telecommunications industry has been liberalised.

2.11 Competition has resulted in improved service, price reductions and a range of new telecommunications products and services for both business and domestic users. The power of corporate users has increased as they now have choices in what equipment, services and network carrier to buy or use. The telecommunications infrastructure is now clearly the province of the private sector. The US, Japanese and European Union plans to develop information superhighways emphasise this point and there is international competition between rival alliances of telecommunications companies as they seek to develop global networks.

2.12 Technological advances in cable and satellite mean these can be used for a wide range of services as well as television. Coaxial and fibre optic cabling give broadband systems the capability of carrying large numbers of channels and opens the possibility of introducing a wide range of interactive services to the home and to businesses. These technological trends pose new issues for policy makers to contend with.

2.13 Policy in this area is also characterised by debates about media ownership. The mere presence of legislation and regulations on this subject implies that the Government believes that newspapers and television are so powerful in forming opinion that their ownership has to be carefully restrained. This principle appears to be applied to all forms of media, including radio, terrestrial television, cable and satellite as well as newspapers. As information sources converge, mergers, take-overs and consortia will become more commonplace among all forms of media. In the past, the lines of demarcation among different media types were clear but technological changes are increasingly blurring the boundaries and forcing a review of the issue.

Supporting the Development of Electronic Information Services

2.14 One of the most important ways by which the government can influence information policy is by means of the explicit or implicit support it gives to the United Kingdom's information industries. Information industries are usually taken to encompass print publishing, multimedia publishing, electronic publishing, databases,[10] online hosts,[11] audiotex services, consumer online services,[12] videotex services and other value added information services which supply information to satisfy personal, business or professional needs. For the purposes of this discussion, they do not include software and hardware manufacturers and suppliers, television broadcasters, the mass media or computer games suppliers.

2.15 The United Kingdom print publishing industry is well established, and although not without its difficulties, such as the extremely fragmented nature of the industry, and the challenges of new technology, it is generally left by Government to fend for itself. The electronic information industry, in contrast, has been, and in many countries still is, the subject of implicit or explicit assistance from Government. This assistance can take a number of forms. It can involve: one off, or ongoing subsidies to online hosts; policies to ensure that government created information is free of copyright[13] and therefore can be exploited widely; setting up or subsidising information services aimed at Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); promoting the importance of information; training people to use and exploit electronic information, starting in schools; an obligation on government departments to offer their information to the electronic information industry for licensing; funding for research in library and information science; subsidies to assist database producers; the development of policies to encourage use of the Internet; or an obligation on Government to make maximum use of commercial electronic information services internally.

Privacy and Data Protection

2.16 Data Protection laws regulate how personal information, i.e. that relating to individuals, may be collected or processed, and it gives those individuals certain rights to inspect records relating to themselves, to demand that errors be rectified, to sue if errors have caused them damage and, in some countries, to object to the processing of data about them. The European Community recently passed a Directive on Data Protection[14] which will require significant adjustments to current United Kingdom legislation[15] in this field. In particular, the Directive extends data protection to manual systems. In addition, it states that personal data shall be processed only if the data subject has given unambiguous consent, or for a few other clearly defined reasons, such as that the processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the subject--e.g. medical records. The Directive requires that processing of sensitive personal data, such as trade union membership, health or sex life may not be carried out except under exceptional circumstances, and processing of information relating to criminal offences may only be carried out by official bodies. Under the Directive, the controller must supply a data subject details of the controller and the purposes for which the data are being collected. Other information may also have to be supplied. The data subject can object to any processing by a data controller on "compelling legitimate grounds". In addition, a data subject can object to data being used for direct marketing. The data subject can also insist that any third party to whom the information has been passed is informed of any amendment or erasure, unless this is impossible to achieve or involves disproportionate effort. Transfers of data to countries with inadequate data protection legislation will be forbidden under the Directive, except under special circumstances. Whilst most of the provisions of the Directive are to come into force three years after its passage, i.e. 1998, some of its provisions have a longer timetable before they take effect. The Government is currently evaluating the implications of the Directive for United Kingdom legislation.

2.17 In a networked environment such as is envisaged in the Information Superhighway, the possibilities for tracing individuals' reading and viewing habits, financial transactions, and interests increase significantly. The European Commission has proposed a new draft Directive on data protection and telecoms[16] which would supplement the Data Protection Directive. Key areas include: data processing for billing purposes, itemised billing, privacy of callers and subscribers, call forwarding, recording of calls and unsolicited calls for promotional purposes.

Copyright

2.18 Developments in networks (especially the Internet) and other areas of information technology have exacerbated the well-established tensions between copyright owners and those who wish to use works subject to copyright. The copyright owner has the right to prevent others from making copies of, or doing certain other things, to all or a substantial part of the work without permission. There is a common misapprehension that material on the Internet is not subject to copyright. Just because it is widely available free of charge does not, however, change the legal position.

2.19 Copyright law has changed over the years in response to technological changes. Copyright attempts to satisfy both the wish of users to have simple and easy access to information, and the wish to protect the commercial and other interests of the creators (or their representatives, the publishers). A networked environment gives users access to large quantities of material for inspection, downloading, printing and redissemination. However, the ease with which people can copy and forward electronic data puts traditional copyright law under strain. The ability to manipulate and amend materials also leads to potential infringement of moral rights.

2.20 The copyright owners have responded to these problems in two ways. On the one hand, they are relying on the development of technical mechanisms, such as ECMS (Electronic Copyright Management Systems) to log peoples' use of copyrighted material and to control what they can or cannot do with it for viewing it, printing it, downloading it or forwarding it. On the other hand, they are pressing governments to update copyright law to make browsing on screen and transmitting over a network without permission infringement, and/or to abolish defences such as fair dealing in a networked environment. Electronic Copyright Management Systems are already starting to appear.

Public and National Libraries

2.21 Public libraries are a key resource for the general public, allowing access to information they need to fulfil their professional and personal ambitions and priorities. At a time of increasing costs, particularly for access to networked information services, there is debate on what public library services should be offered free and what should be charged for. This is exacerbated by the trend towards electronic information. If users have to pay for electronic access to what they hitherto received freely in print form, they will question whether they need that information at all, and their usage may decline dramatically.

2.22 There are concerns about an increasing gap between "information rich" and "information poor"[17] The idea of Internet access in public libraries to help narrow this gap in the United Kingdom has entered public debate following Labour Party statements[18] referring to this idea, and the bid by the Library Association to obtain Millennium Funding for such a project. Much of the work of public libraries and the Citizens' Advice bureaux is assisting the information poor obtain the information they need on such matters as welfare rights and health questions. If this information is only available electronically, and is charged for, the gap will widen. Access to the information superhighway through public libraries could provide citizens with equitable and ubiquitous access; access that is affordable; access to government information; training and assistance locally; and access to information worldwide.

2.23The role of the British Library and the other National Libraries,[19] together with the other legal deposit libraries[20] is central to the entire United Kingdom library and information system. Their role will become increasingly international, allowing researchers world-wide access. These libraries, taken together, are the major depository of the cultural, scientific and technical heritage of this country, and are a key resource for academic and scholarly research in all disciplines. These libraries are also key players in conservation policy. One of the most important facets of their role is the legal deposit system. Increasingly, however, material is no longer produced in print form, but is only available in machine readable form, or else is available in both forms in parallel.

2.24 Some countries, such as Norway, have introduced legislation to ensure that machine readable data created in that country are also deposited with the national library. In other countries, such as the USA, a limited voluntary deposit scheme has existed for a while. There is already a real danger that some of the early machine readable materials have been lost. The question therefore arises of whether a national archive of machine readable data should be established. Such a policy would have major implications for the financial and technical resources needed to maintain, refresh and read such machine readable data. Selection policies would need to be developed, especially for peripheral material such as bulletin boards. Questions of who would be allowed access to such a national archive would also need to be addressed, for example, could people gain access from a remote terminal, or would they have to visit the national archive.

CURRENT PROBLEMS INHIBITING INTERNET USE

2.25 The first problem is retrieval and navigation software. At present, the Internet is an anarchic mix of services and information, and it can be difficult for new users to find their way to what is required. There is a variety of software tools to assist. These search and retrieval tools are often slow and inefficient, especially in the afternoon United Kingdom time because of competition for computer resources from North American users and limited bandwidth.[21] These search tools may also produce results which are unusable, because the sites have changed their coverage, have moved, the information is only accessible to internal users at the sites, the same item appears several times, or the information has been mis-indexed. One potential solution to this problem is the development of "intelligent agents". These are programs operating within the networks that help users with their routine information tasks and take into account their personal habits and styles. Typical tasks performed would include filtering electronic mail, undertaking searches in an intelligent manner, scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, etc. Such agents would not just filter incoming information; they will actively seek out information they think their owner will need, and deliver it to the individual wherever he or she is. They will reformat the material they find to suit their user's computer facilities; they will carry out their actions pro-actively without waiting for instructions. They would also assess the urgency of incoming material and alert their patron accordingly. They would offer convenient user-friendly access to real time and historical information, sorting the output in order of relevance, whilst removing duplicates. Some experts have argued that there is a danger of "traffic jams" on the information superhighway because of the proliferation of intelligent agents. The information superhighway could end up as a gridlock, and international agreements may be needed to curb the proliferation of the agents.

2.26 The second problem, which is particularly acute for business users, is security. By its very nature, the Internet has been designed to be an open system for free exchange of materials. There is therefore the concern that if an organisation offers a WWW home page, or if an organisation has routine networked access to the Internet, third parties may then be able to slip across into other computer systems maintained in the organisation containing sensitive data.[22] Security issues include: potential virus infection; erasure of data or programs; third parties obtaining unauthorised access to a computer; taking of information, whether that involves physical removal or not; unauthorised use of computer time and facilities; malicious or reckless corruption or erasure of data or programs; use of computers to gain advantage to which a third party is not entitled, e.g. banking fraud; and unauthorised interception of communications between computers.[23] The area is not well covered by traditional legal ideas. Firewalls and other security measures should help prevent these problems, but there is uncertainty about how reliable some of the possible technological solutions are. Businesses are therefore attracted to the idea of using cryptographic techniques to make their material secure. However, the US government is anxious that certain third parties cannot communicate with each other without it being able to eavesdrop. Its stated concern includes the Mafia, terrorists, drug smugglers and money launderers. It has therefore banned the export of highly secure cryptographic softwares. The United Kingdom Government has stated that it recognises the need to balance the needs of business and individuals to have techniques to safeguard financial transactions and intellectual property, with the need to prevent encryption techniques hampering law enforcement. The inability to employ high quality cryptographic techniques at present will inevitably reduce the attractiveness of the Internet for commercial purposes. The British Standards Institution (BSI) has issued a standard on information security.[24] The European Commission has recently published a Green Paper on encryption.

2.27 A related issue to security is verification. There is a need for both business and citizens to have confidence that the information or data they receive or transmit has indeed come from, or gone to, the person or organisation intended, and that it has not been altered or copied in transit. So-called digital signature techniques are already being used on the Internet to secure such transactions, but at present there are no standards, either de facto or de jure, for such techniques.

2.28 The fourth problem is that the quality of the information on the Internet is extremely variable. This is a problem which applies to all users of electronic information. This problem is compounded by constant addition and deletion of sources and sites. There is too much information, much of which is redundant or inaccurate. There is no centralised control on the Internet. The individual information providers themselves, often amateurs or academics rather than commercial organisations, decide what information is made available. Over time people will probably come to recognise the good sources and ignore the poor ones, and quality assessments, like a BSI kite mark, or the Automobile Association rating system for hotels, will mature.

2.29 The fifth problem is illegal and "undesirable" material. A number of news reports and studies claim to demonstrate that there is a considerable amount of undesirable material available on the Internet, and that some of this material is falling into the wrong hands. Although some of these reports have received wide publicity, prosecutions for handling such material on the Internet are relatively infrequent, and it is difficult to be certain of the exact scale of the problem.[25] What is clear is that much of the offensive material is created in countries, such as the USA, whose laws concerning freedom of information and traditions of free speech are more tolerant than in the United Kingdom. Screening software has recently been developed in response to this problem.

2.30 A related problem is legal uncertainty in the position of certain consumer online suppliers. Many consumer online services claim they are simply a "common carrier", and take no more responsibility for the potentially defamatory or pornographic content of the material placed upon their services than the Post Office takes responsibility for materials it delivers, or British Telecom takes responsibility for what transpires over a telephone line. The counter argument is that such consumer online services are in a position more akin to a shop that develops photographs for clients, and which accepts responsibility for the content of the photographs it develops, and may, for example, refuse to develop photographs that it considers may break the law.[26] The defences consumer online services currently have available may be crude and extreme, as shown by the CompuServe case in Bavaria. CompuServe withdrew a large range of its services from its entire European market for a period because of threatened legal action in Bavaria. Uncertainty in the legal position of consumer online services is causing anxiety, both amongst the services themselves and their clients.

2.31 The final problem is payment. The Internet has in the past been primarily associated with academics and researchers, but since the mid 1990s, it has been increasingly used by business.[27] However, commercial services, i.e. those that involve payment for goods or services, on the Internet will not become a major business until the issue of digital cash is resolved. Many adults do not hesitate to quote credit card numbers over the telephone, even though they know this information could be abused or the call intercepted. Many adults are happy to use an automatic telling machine hole in the wall even though they are entering a password into a network that might be intercepted. Few adults so far appear to be willing to type in their credit card number on the Internet. The question is one of risk perception; peoples' fear of quoting a credit card number on the Internet may not be justified by the statistics, but it is real enough. What this means is that business on the Internet where money changes hands is far less than one might expect considering the numbers of people using the Internet. The work undertaken by companies such as Digicash in developing safe, robust and trusted methods of transferring money over the Internet is therefore crucial if the Internet is to be used for buying and selling information or other services or products. Other developers have been working on systems to protect financial transactions, and a number of products have already emerged. It may, however, be some time before this market reaches maturity and standards are agreed.


1. B Mahon, Developments in European Information Policy, Perspectives in Information Management, (1989) 1, 63-88. Back

2. Technology Foresight Panel. Back

3. For which see paragraphs 3.4 and 3.21 below. Back

4. For general background, see V Montviloff, National information policies: a handbook on the formulation, approval, implementation and operation of a national policy on information (UNESCO, Paris (PG1-90/WS/11) 1990) and M W Hill, National information Policies and Strategies (Bowker Saur, 1994). Back

5. N Moore and J Steele, Information Intensive Britain (Policy Studies Institute, 1991). Back

6. Commission of the European Communities, Europe's way to the Information Society: an action plan, COM(94) 347 final. Back

7. There is an argument that the increase in Government revenues through taxation which could result from increased economic activity resulting from a policy of abolishing Crown Copyright would exceed the loss of revenues to Government from the exploitation of Crown copyright. It is worth noting that in the USA, where Government has put information free of charge (and free of copyright) on the Web, and the same information is available in added value form from a commercial supplier, also on the Web, the number of accesses to the commercial pages far exceeds the free accesses. (Evidence from EDGAR, the US equivalent to Companies House data). Back

8. See, for example: D Ward, Rewiring democracy: the role of public information in Europe's information society Mclellan Ward Research, 1995; G Allen, come the revolution, Wired (UK), September 1995, 46-47; and J Roche, Politics and the Internet, Bow Group, 1995. Back

9. See, for example, Competition and Choice: Telecommunications Policy for the 1990s, HMSO, 1991, Cm 1461, and Creating the Superhighways of the Future: Developing Broadband Communications in the UK, HMSO, 1994, Cm 2734. Back

10. Such as scientific and professional databases, e.g. those produced by the Institution of Electronic Engineers and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Back

11. Such as the FT Profile or Blaise-Line. Back

12. Such as CompuServe and Europe Online, both of which have United Kingdom offices. Back

13. The term "free of copyright" is used here to mean that copyright does not exist in relation to these works. Back

14. Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data. Back

15. Data Protection Act 1984. Back

16. COM(94) 128. Back

17. T Haywood, Info-Rich Info-Poor: Access and Exchange in the Global Information Society (Bowker Saur, 1995). Back

18. Labour Party, Communicating Britain's Future (1995), available on-line at http://www.poptel.org.uk/labour-party/   Back

19. Of Wales and Scotland. Back

20. In the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and Trinity College Dublin. Back

21. It has been reported that Yahoo, one of the WWW's search databases, is developing localised directories for the European market. The British directory, to be launched in summer 1996, will contain between 6,000 and 8,000 listings, with links where appropriate to the much larger US site. This will mean that, for example, looking up "government" on the British site will find Her Majesty's Government rather than the US; New Scientist, 15 June 1996, p 23. Back

22. See, for example, Information Security and the Internet (DTI, 1996) issued as part of the Information Society Initiative. Back

23. See, for example, I Lloyd, Information Technology Law (Butterworths, 1993). Back

24. BS7799 A Code of Practice for Information Security Management. Back

25. For example, although the number of accesses to newsgroups may be logged, there is no way of telling how many of the accesses, especially to the more notorious newsgroups which have received considerable publicity, are by researchers, journalists, consumer groups or politicians. Back

26. These issues are discussed fully in: H Kaspersen, "Liability of providers of the electronic highway", in Legal Advisory Board, Convergence between telecommunications and audiovisual: consequences for the rules governing the information market, European Commission DGXIII, 1996, pp 39-45. Back

27. Academics may no longer be the largest group of users of the Internet if the latest statistics on the number of e-mail and domain addresses with "com" or "org" in them rather than "edu" or "ac" in them are to be believed. Back

 


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