|Published by NetAction||Issue No. 67||February 21, 2001|
Connecting rural communities to the "Information Highway" is widely regarded as one of the necessary steps to bridging the digital divide, but contrary to the prevailing view it doesn't necessarily require the cooperation of the local phone company. There are some promising alternative technologies available that NetAction identifies in a new report.
"Will Technology Trickle Down to Rural America?" is an overview of the terrestrial and satellite wireless networks that can be used to bring affordable Internet and broadband service to rural areas of the U.S. and other nations.
The availability of affordable alternatives is good news for rural Internet users. Rural communities are less likely to be served by competing local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and the massive sell-off of rural local exchanges by regional Bell monopolies has made matters worse.
The paper was written by NetAction intern Kalyani Manohar, a graduate student studying International Telecommunication at Michigan State. The complete paper is available at: http://www.netaction.org/alt-tech/.
Broadband Internet service is less available in rural areas largely because of the high infrastructure costs of wired networks. The alternatives examined in the paper include spread spectrum technology, multi-point, multi-channel distribution systems, geosynchronous earth orbit satellites, and low earth orbit satellites. The paper describes some of the pilot projects and their costs, and includes an appendix with information on networks based on cable and digital set top box technology.
Some of the more popular email software browsers leave users vulnerable to a potential privacy breech described as "email wiretapping" by the Privacy Foundation, which recently issued a warning about the problem.
Email browsers that are vulnerable to the problem include Outlook 2000, Outlook Express 5, and Netscape Messenger 6. Detailed information about the problem is on the web at: http://www.privacyfoundation.org/advisories/advemailwiretap.html#users.
According to the Privacy Foundation, the hidden code can be used to monitor confidential email messages that are shared and discussed within a business or organization. Every time the message is forwarded, a copy is returned to the original sender's Web server, along with any comments or attachments that have been added.
The voting irregularities in Florida that ultimately enabled George W. Bush to claim that state's electoral college votes - and thus, the presidencyhave been the subject of many heated discussions ever since election day. For those who believe the solution is greater use of technology in the election process, I recommend the following articles:
Kim Alexander's "Ten Things I Want People To Know About Voting Technology." Kim is the executive director of the California Voter Foundation, and a pioneer in online voter education. The article at: http://www.calvoter.org/publications/tenthings.html.
Peter G. Neumann's "Perspective on election processes." Peter is an expert on computer security risks and moderator of the Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems. The article is available at: http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/21.13.html and by anonymous ftp at ftp.sri.com, cd risks.
NetAction Notes is a free electronic newsletter, published by NetAction. NetAction is a California-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting use of the Internet for grassroots citizen action, and to educating the public, policy makers, and the media about technology policy issues.
To subscribe to NetAction Notes, send a message to:
The body of the message should state:
To unsubscribe at any time, send a message to: . The body of the message should state:
For more information contact NetAction by phone at (415) 215-9392, by E-mail at, visit the NetAction Web site or write to: NetAction * P.O. Box 6739* Santa Barbara, CA 93160
Copyright 1996-2003 by NetAction. All rights reserved. Material may be reposted or reproduced for non-commercial use provided NetAction is cited as the source.