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Internet Security:
Watch for President Bill Clinton to say a few favorable words in his Jan. 27 State of the Union address about the need to promote information security. A report sent late last year to the White House by the Presidential Commission on Infrastructure Security recommended that the government make extensive regulatory, tax and spending changes to promote Internet security in the government and the private sector. That report is awaiting
Clinton's final review and approval.

Free Trade:
Industry executives are growing worried that the White House won't try to revive the so-called fast-track trade negotiation authority rejected by Congress last year. The executives back fast track because it will help the White House ink free-trade deals with foreign countries. However, such authority is hotly
opposed by some Democratic and Republican legislators, as well as the labor unions. Instead of trying again on fast track, the Clinton administration may concentrate on persuading Congress to fund a bailout of Asian economies.

Internet Curbs:
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., is signing on as a co-sponsor of a new bill to curb online pornography. The bill, drafted by Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., would bar obscene advertising on the Internet.

Domain Names:
Network Solutions Inc. has deployed new technology intended to ease Internet users' registration of Internet domain names, just as the White House is preparing to release its long-awaited plan to give industry more power to manage the Internet, including the controversial issue of domain names. The White House's plan, which was delayed as officials tried to get their arms around a greater-than-expected number of issues, may give an increased role to the industry-operated Internet Assigned Numbering Authority, which assigns numerical addresses to Web sites. Herndon, Va.-based Network Solutions currently is the exclusive registrar of domain names.

Access Charges:
The Federal Communications Commission is writing yet another report on access-charge rules, which minimize Internet service providers' long distance phone charges. The phone companies oppose this break for the ISPs, which is defended by the ISP's lobbyists as a reasonable accommodation for a young industry. Lobbyists for the phone companies are using this report to chip away at the rules, saying that increasing Internet traffic is putting too heavy a burden on their networks.

-Neil Munro


Copyright 1998 Post-Newsweek Business Information, Inc. All rights reserved

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