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by Black Issues


Making an Investment to
Close the Digital Divide
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A lot of attention is being given, lately, to the digital divide between the information technology haves  and have–nots. In an attempt to bridge that chasm, Brown University and MCI WorldCom, with the encouragement of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, have announced a new program that would broaden access for youngsters in IT-deprived learning environments.
The program, “Making a Civic Investment,” will be funded — to the tune of $5 million over five years — by MCI WorldCom and administered by Brown. Its goal is to link schools and community organizations around the country with local colleges and universities to implement technology learning projects for children in the K-12 system. Between 25 and 30 multiyear grants of up to $40,000 will be awarded each year.
“Our work will focus on the child, not the computer,” says Bernard J. Ebbers, chief executive officer of MCI WorldCom. “Our purpose is to improve learning, not merely to distribute machines or network connections. Here, technology will help kids to learn and live better.”
Says Dr. E. Gordon Gee, president of Brown: “The partnership … will provide direct and lasting benefits to communities across the country and will give colleges and universities an important opportunity to advance the public mission of higher education.”
The project is also the culmination of efforts by the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition to get MCI WorldCom to expand its outreach to minority communities.
“This is an example of the type of commitment our communities need from corporate America,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the coalition’s founder, says. “If we provide our children with the technology to learn, we empower a new generation to compete in our technology-driven world.”
Member institutions of the Campus Compact, the Leadership Alliance and all historically Black colleges and universities are eligible to participate. For more information, contact the Campus Contact at (401) 863-1119, or visit the Web site at www.compact.org.


University’s Internet Technology Plays Important Role in International Concert
EUGENE, Ore. — Puff Daddy, Sting, Sheryl Crow and David Bowie were beamed from stages around the world to more than 150 universities earlier this month, thanks in part to Internet technology at the University of Oregon.
As the only hub in the United States that coordinated the live 14-hour multicast, the university used futuristic, television-quality images received through the Oregon GigaPoP. That’s tech-speak for the access point to a powerful fiber-optic network linking all participants in Internet2.
Internet2, dubbed “the next generation Internet,” is part of a collaborative project among universities, government and industry partners to develop advanced Internet applications.
The broadcast of the NetAid anti-poverty mega-concert — which was accessible via at www.internet2.edu — marked the first time the power of the Internet, television and radio have come together to promote social change.
Viewers not logged on to the Internet2 network through one of the participating universities could also access the multicast, but without the same broadcast quality of the images that is expected to be the wave of the future.
“Using high-speed Internet pipes tailor–made for video, we’re building the Internet equivalent of a television broadcast tower for NetAid,” Joanne Hugi, director of campus computing, said prior to the event.
“This Internet2 NetAid multicast will demonstrate technologies capable of achieving that goal on an unprecedented scale,” she said.
According to school officials, the university will be a continual source of content on Internet2 and will provide programs that will include public broadcasts, prerecorded NASA flights and music.


E-Mail Addresses of Iowa Students, Faculty Up for Sale
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It may not be illegal, but it’s sure not university policy.
That’s the word from University of Iowa officials after learning that the e-mail addresses of 40,000 students and faculty members have been put up for sale on the Yahoo! auction site by a seller identified only as e_lection.
The auction began earlier this month at a starting price of $250, and was scheduled to run through mid-month. As of Oct. 11,  there had been no bidders.
“We have collected 40,000 e-mail addresses of college students and professors from the University of Iowa,” said the description on the auction site.
“The addresses will be delivered through the e-mail, and on a floppy disk through the U.S. mail upon receiving payment. These addresses have never been offered to the public before, so act fast if you’ve got a college market!”
While it is not illegal to sell the list, which is considered public information, it would be a violation of the university’s policy, says Mark Schantz, the university’s general counsel.
Dave Dobbins, associate director of information technology services, says it would be possible for a student to gain access to the e-mail address of every University of Iowa student, faculty and staff member. “Students can download UI addresses 20 at a time.”
But Dobbins says public distribution of the list would violate the school’s acceptable use policy.
The seller known as e_lection had two other items listed on Yahoo! The first was InterviewMe.com, a Web site geared for starting new businesses, offered for $2,500. In the other offering, the name election2k.org was being sold for $1.
The Web site domain name election2k.org is owned by La Forge Digital Enterprises of Iowa City. The primary shareholder of La Forge Digital Enterprises, University of Iowa junior Anthony La Forge, says he was not aware someone was trying to sell the domain name, which he owns.
“I wasn’t aware of it. I’d like to find the person who is doing it,” he said. “That [election2k.org] was included is somewhat disheartening.”
The logo for e-lection.com appears on the election2k.org home page, which is still under construction.The word “e_lection” is a trademark for La Forge Digital Enterprises, the e_lection.com home page said.                        


 The Domain Name Game

WASHINGTON — The cash-strapped group assuming management of much of the Internet agreed this month to allow a Virginia company to continue for at least four years as keeper of the master list of World Wide Web addresses in exchange for a $1.25 million payment.
Praised by participants as a landmark in the 30-year history of the Internet, the complex settlement aims to resolve the most contentious arguments surrounding transition of control over the Web from the federal government to the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Still, the impact on typical Internet consumers was negligible in that the agreement involved largely the behind-the-scenes management of technical issues and standards. Organizers said there would have been serious problems had the talks failed.
“We think it’s clear there would have been significant risk of disruption to electronic commerce, to the growth of the Internet … if there was instability and controversy,” says Andrew Pincus, general counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce, which helped coordinate the settlement.
Executives at Network Solutions Inc., the world’s largest seller of Internet addresses, promised they will recognize the California group’s authority over the Web, a festering issue during negotiations that started last year.
U.S. Sec. of Commerce William Daley said he was pleased that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and Network Solutions “worked this out at the negotiating table and not at tables in a courtroom.”
Since 1992, Network Solutions has coordinated the Internet’s most important functions under its role as a government contractor and registered more than 5 million addresses with the “com,” “net” and “org” suffixes.
Under the deal, Network Solutions will act as one of about a dozen wholesalers of Internet domains, selling Web addresses directly to the public for about $35 a year. But it will also continue for at least four more years to maintain the master list of Internet domains, called the registry. In that capacity, it agreed to charge other wholesalers no more than $6 annually for each Web address a customer buys.
In exchange, Network Solutions offered to pay in advance half the expected $2 million in fees corporation for names and numbers expects to charge it as a name wholesaler, plus the full $250,000 it will pay for maintaining the Internet’s master address list. Corporation officials called the agreement “a huge relief.”
The government clearly wants Network Solutions to separate its functions as a seller of Web addresses and as keeper of the registry. One clause in the deal offers to allow the company to maintain the master list for up to eight years if it splits those operations within 18 months.
Network Solutions announced in August that it split those functions into “discrete business units,” but not as full a separation as sought by the government.        



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