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"The Rand Corporation salutes E-mail as the new foundation
of democracy." Denise Caruso's column.
Are we ready, as a society, for ubiquitous Government-
mandated electronic communication? Not yet. E-mail today
does not have the same constitutional free-speech and
privacy protections already afforded the telephone and
postal mail. In addition, free speech on the Net is far
from assured. There are several bills pending in
Congress right now that would severely restrict what
people can say in either private or public forums on the
Internet. Despite Rand's finding that virtual
communities are powerful tools for democratic discourse,
it will be difficult for communities to form under
constant threat of censorship.
"Java Backers Taking Aim At Microsoft's Dominance."
A number of Silicon Valley companies plan announcements
on Monday that together constitute an anti-Microsoft
campaign. The most noteworthy: A plan by Sun and
Netscape for a user-friendly version of the Java
software technology for the Web. The strategies being
announced this week represent opening skirmishes in what
may be the next great standards battle in the industry.
"Nearing the $500 Computer for Internet Use."
Acorn is about to introduce a stripped-down machine for
Net surfing that sells for about $900. By stripping it
of its monitor and hard disk drive, and adding a
high-speed modem, Acorn executives say they can hit a
retail price less than $500. They plan to ship the
Netsurfer by early next year, and are discussing
licensing with Oracle and a number of American and Asian
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