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   12-4-95. NYPeeper:

   "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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