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© 1995 - International Research Center



Everybody's watching me. You know all those articles about "Will They Spend?" Well, I'm one of them. Just as people are sick of polls in the weeks before elections, and predictions about who will be in the Super Bowl before the play-offs begin, I am sick of the blow-by-blow reports on retail sales figures during the so-called Holiday Season. Suddenly you feel as if you are letting your country down if you are not spending. One Jingle Bear too few and you're the consumer equivalent of a Pledge of Allegiance refusenik.
-- Alice Kahn in Luncheon at the Café Ridiculous, 1990

In this time of enormous transitions, the whole basis of our rights and civil liberties must be reevaluated in light of emerging information and telecommunications technologies and the societal shifts they drive. The issues are plentiful, complex and often interrelated.

On the issue of citizens' privacy, one must consider the ability to accumulate and coalesce a digital picture of an individual's spending and habits and apply that to marketing or investigation. In Europe and many other countries, the secondary use of much marketing information openly brokered here, is controlled or prohibited. The availability of strong cryptography has been particularly contentious of late as the Federal government has proposed requirements enabling authorized surveillance and retaining strict export controls, which has been met by unprecedented industry and public resistance and activism. The privacy of e-mail at work or in public transit, the possibilities of anonymous messaging, the personal and intense nature of "flaming" in electronic discourse, all are elements of a broad and difficult debate.

The many new forms of publishing, both new media itself and the forms of transmittal are forcing reexamination of our intellectual property laws, especially in the area of copyright. The ability to readily copy the works of others grew with the advent of the photostat machine and with the digitization of word, image, and content in general, the potentials for digital copying and transmittal enormously complicate the rights of ownership, reproduction, royalties and fair use. Significant efforts to redefine copyright laws and adapt them to new media are underway as authors, publishers, libraries, and users meet in concert with policy makers, but expect some bumps in the road.

As a desktop publishing medium, the World Wide Web harkens to the old model of pamphleteering, where anyone has the right to advertise opinion without censorship or editorial interference. How far can we go down this aesthetically and sociologically independent path before regulators and other forces converge to tame it, imposing a layer of moderation or editorial control between author and audience.
--Glorianna Davenport, MIT Media Lab in IEEE Multimedia Fall, 1995

Where do we set the limits of free speech in this new world of communication possibilities? Are the telecommunications providers a common carrier with no responsibility for the messages they transmit, are they publishers with the liability for content that ensues, or are they somewhere in between? Do images or content transmitted between individuals over state or national borders have to meet the "community standards" of both the sending and receiving sites to not be assailed as pornography? Fortunately, their are now voluntary industry efforts underway for "content labeling" and tools for filtering or blocking access to specific sites or types of materials. Parents and schools must assume some substantial responsibility for the protection of minors and methods to limit and monitor access will become increasingly prevalent.

Some of the most interesting and contentious issues on the new frontier concern these issues. It is well beyond the scope of this report to survey this broad landscape and even suggest solutions. However, in the Resource Guides (Appendixes B and C) are details and contact information on many public policy players active in this debate for your further investigation and consideration.

Arizona Projects and Activities of Note:
(Note: Contact information can be found in Appendix B - Telecommunication Policy Resources)

Arizona State and Municipal Government:

Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC)

State of AZ Public Access System (STARPAS) provides dial-in access via computer modem to information on corporations, limited liability companies, trademarks, tradenames, and limited partnerships having a business presence in Arizona. It is a fee based system requiring a modest $36. startup fee and a deposit account with the ACC to cover the $.50 per minute usage fee. It is a good model of providing state public records to the business and legal communities, but the deposit account model precludes casual or occasional public usage.

Arizona Department of Education (ADE)

AzEdLink is the department's current Internet access service for the K-12 educational community. For an annual fee of $35, public school instructional, administrative and support staff members as well as affiliated community members and students (currently a total of 3,000 users) dial-in via computer modem for full Internet access. The 800 service used in the pilot program has been discontinued due to traffic and cost, but in addition to Phoenix local lines, Yuma, Tucson and Flagstaff have local access. ADE (along with the Department of Commerce) has the most thoughtfully designed and useful World Wide Web site in Arizona government with their visions and goals readily accessible as well as pointers to K-12 schools hosting their own Web presence and links to many educationally related resources.

Governor's Office of Telecommunications Policy

The Governor's Commission for the Study of the Telecommunications and Information Industry in Arizona in their January, 1995 report had as their first recommendation that the state "develop visible and effective leadership for telecommunications" by establishing the Governor's Office of Telecommunications Policy to "proactively advocate, coordinate, mediate and educate Arizona residents and policy makers on telecommunications issues." Last session, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 1258 creating the office which has been in operation since July.

Arizona State Legislature

The State Legislature has promised a World Wide Web presence for the 1996 Legislative Session. The Arizona Legislative Information System (ALIS Online) will carry a full range of legislative information:

City of Phoenix

PhoenixNet is an initiative to provide broad electronic service and information to citizens, specifically targeting elderly, disabled, and economically disadvantaged citizens. Senior centers, community centers, libraries and non-profit special needs centers dispersed throughout the city are being equipped with workstations for public access to city information and services, some including assistive technology for the disabled. Aided by grants from the Telecommunications & Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Phoenix has a well thought out and organized plan to develop online information resources and going beyond general public access, to insure including targeted under-served populations.

City of Tucson

The Community And City of Tucson Information NETwork (CACTI-NET, formerly METCOM) has served the Pima County community for several years by providing electronically accessible government, local business and community information about the southern Arizona region. Their offerings include a significant body of trade, business and economic resources. In addition to their local dial-in access and gopher presence on the Internet, they serve as Tucson's gateway to the AzTeC Free-Net (see below) and are developing their World Wide Web presence for introduction in 1996.

Arizona Higher Education and Public Institutions:

Arizona State University (ASU)

Arizona State Public Information Network (ASPIN), based at ASU, assists Arizona's public organizations and communities in connecting to the Internet. Phase I connected the three primary urban areas of Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson with a state-wide backbone and within these urban areas they have provided connections to many organizations (over 50 in Phoenix). Phase II , aided by NSF funding, extended the backbone out to the state's eight rural community colleges and from their into their communities. Phase III is a proposed plan to connect Arizona's K-12 schools to the backbone developing a robust educational network. ASPIN also staffs and supports three state-wide Network Information Centers (NICs) providing a one-stop ready reference point and help desk for Internet users. ASPIN will assist Navaho Community College, who just received a NTIA TIIAP grant, in establishing the Navajo Learning Network (NLN) connecting seven community college campuses and eventually all K-12 schools throughout the Navajo Nation as a single virtual campus linking educational and community resources.

Northern Arizona University (NAU)

Northern Arizona University Network (NAUNet) is an instructional interactive television (distance learning) system that NAU is building throughout Arizona encompassing over 20 independent sites with an extensive microwave network. NAUnet's classrooms are on the campuses of NAU, ten community colleges, and five rural school districts. The NAU Learning Alliance (nauLA) is a network of more than 100 satellite downlink sites across Arizona that participate in NAU satellite programs. Also joining with Missouri, Oklahoma and Washington leaders in satellite education, NAU has formed IdeaNet to connect 2,000 schools in 33 states to an interactive television and computer network, as well as provide a wide range of programming.

University of Arizona (U of A)

Arizona Health and Information Network (AZ-HIN) is a non-profit consortium of Arizona teaching hospitals and health science educational institutions based at the Arizona Health Sciences Center. AZ-HIN uses the Internet to connect hospitals, libraries, teaching and health care institutions, and to provide access to health literature databases, other information and education products. The Biomedical Communications department of the Arizona Health Sciences Center produces medical and health related teleconferences, participated in from around the state and offers classes to the three state universities via NAUNet.

Economic Development Information Centers (EDICs)

Located throughout Arizona, 28 public and community college libraries have established Economic Development Information Centers to support their local business communities and provide the information local businesses and economic development practitioners need. A core collection of business reference materials and a staff person familiar with business resources, the local economy and community are available. The EDIC staff also provide referrals to other business information specialists and support organizations, as well as performing database searching and utilizing Internet access to meet the business patron's needs. Seed money came from the federal Library Services and Construction Act while ongoing funding comes from local support and federal grants.

Arizona Associations and Industry:

Arizona Procurement Technical Assistance Network (APTAN)

APTAN is a non-profit economic development corporation that assists participating businesses in identifying and competing for federal, state, county, and local government contracts. Their computer system matches company capabilities, products and services to procurements from federal, state, county and municipal agencies, state universities and other public institutions, automatically notifying businesses of opportunities matching their stored profile. Further assistance is provided in preparation of bid packages and access to technical support information. Their Arizona Automated Vendor Inquiry System (AAVIS) allows nationwide targeted access to business profiles on over 6,300 Arizona companies.

Arizona Technology Access Program (AzTAP)

The Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University is the lead agency for the AzTAP program. Their mission is to increase access to assistive technology (AT) devices and services for individuals and their families. AT devices are increasingly high tech enabling access to computers and networks or through devices embedding high technology, returning function and capability to the disabled. AzTAP provides an 800 hotline for information and referral, recycling of used or abandoned assistive technology equipment, access to AbleData (an extensive database of assistive technology products), and also offers training, research and advocacy

Arizona Technology Development Authority (ATDA)

ATDA was created by the Legislature in 1993 to help Arizona firms secure federal high technology development grants. However, the last two legislative sessions have not provided the requisite funding. Last year, House Bill 2131 would have provided up to $6 million over two years as potential matching funds. Without such funds from state government, regional industry consortiums or other public-private sources, federal grants are not likely to be awarded. Twenty nine other states do have a similar authority that can provide a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining high technology firms.

Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council (ATIC)

ATIC is an economic development foundation under the Governor's Strategic Partnership for Economic Development (GSPED). Their mission is to drive implementation of an information applications and telecommunications infrastructure that will support economic growth in Arizona. ATIC provides a forum for telecommunications issues, education and advocacy involving a diverse range of public and private partners including large and small business users of telecommunication services, economic development organizations, libraries, consumer organizations, local and state government agencies, educational institutions, health care, the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Arizona Legislature, and information technology and telecommunication companies.

Arizona Telecommunication Community Computing (AzTeC)

AzTeC is an Free-Net developed to provide noncommercial access to the Internet. AzTeC serves up a variety of local information (including municipal background, news and events) and provides e-mail accounts and limited Internet access for approximately 12,000 Phoenix area residents (currently only local dial-in phone lines are provided). They are linked to many other nationwide and worldwide community-based Free-Nets and are working to site public access terminals in convenient locations throughout the community (10 in place so far).

Arizona Telecommuting Advisory Council (AzTAC)

AzTAC is a statewide telecommuting advocacy and information resource center, dedicated to making telecommuting a recognized alternative to travel for a broad range of needs. They provide telecommuting resource information and assistance to organizations, as well as holding educational seminars, workshops and conferences. In Maricopa county alone, 93,000 employees now telecommute an average of one day a week saving 600,000 miles of travel and 12 tons of pollution each weekday.

Datalink Project

Datalink has been funded by the Arizona Legislature for study and pilot trials the last two years. Its focus is the facilitation of trade within the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) and throughout the NAFTA (CANAMEX) trade corridor via the discovery, cataloging and routing of trade related information such as trade leads and access to databases about companies, government agencies, and industry focused associations. Consultants have developed a pilot World Wide Web site and proposed a range of models and implementation strategies. Decisions on funding, ownership and execution are pending.

Electronic Commerce Net (ECNet)

ECNet has been one of the first broadband metropolitan area networks (MAN) to be implemented and tested within the cable industry. A joint pilot project of Cox Communications, Digital Equipment Corporation and Arizona State University, EC Net has connected approximately 12 Phoenix manufacturing companies to support collaborative engineering, improve productivity, enhance product quality and reduce time to market for new products. Utilizing the existing hybrid fiber/coax cable network to achieve 10 Mbps Ethernet connectivity, this demonstration project can evolve to serve videoconferencing, concurrent CAD, multimedia warehousing, telecommuting and high-speed Internet access needs in the years to come.