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PRIVACY Forum Digest     Saturday, 6 March 2004     Volume 13 : Issue 01

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            Moderated by Lauren Weinstein (         
              Vortex Technology, Woodland Hills, CA, U.S.A.
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         PFIR Conference Announcement: "Preventing the Internet Meltdown"
            (PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility)

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Date:    Sat, 06 Mar 2004 18:19:01 PST
From: (PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility)
Subject: PFIR Conference Announcement: "Preventing the Internet Meltdown"

                          PFIR Conference Announcement

                       "Preventing the Internet Meltdown"
                               Spring/Summer 2004
                         Los Angeles, California, USA


                                March 6, 2004

         PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -

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                          PFIR Conference Announcement

                       "Preventing the Internet Meltdown"
                               Spring/Summer 2004
                          Los Angeles, California, USA


People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) is pleased to preliminarily
announce an "emergency" conference aimed at preventing the "meltdown" of the
Internet -- the risks of imminent disruption, degradation, unfair
manipulation, and other negative impacts on critical Internet services and
systems in ways that will have a profound impact on the Net and its users
around the world.

We are planning for this conference (lasting two or three days) to take
place as soon as possible, ideally as early as this coming June, with all
sessions and working groups at a hotel in convenient proximity to Los
Angeles International Airport (LAX).

A continuing and rapidly escalating series of alarming events suggest that
immediate cooperative, specific planning is necessary if we are to have
any chance of avoiding the meltdown.  "Red flag" warning signs are many.  
A merely partial list includes attempts to manipulate key network
infrastructures such as the domain name system; lawsuits over Internet
regulatory issues (e.g. VeriSign and domain registrars vs. ICANN); serious
issues of privacy and security; and ever-increasing spam, virus, and related
problems, along with largely ad hoc or non-coordinated "anti-spam" systems
that may do more harm than good and may cause serious collateral damage.  

All facets of Internet users and a vast range of critical applications are
at risk from the meltdown.  Commercial firms, schools, nonprofit and
governmental organizations, home users, and everybody else around the world
whose lives are touched in some way by the Internet (and that's practically
everyone) are likely to be seriously and negatively impacted.

Most of these problems are either directly or indirectly the result of the
Internet's lack of responsible and fair planning related to Internet
operations and oversight.  A perceived historical desire for a "hands off"
attitude regarding Internet "governance" has now resulted not only in
commercial abuses, and the specter of lawsuits and courts dictating key
technical issues relating to the Net, but has also invited unilateral
actions by organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) that could profoundly affect the Internet and
its users in unpredictable ways.

Representatives from commercial firms, educational institutions,
governmental entities, nonprofit and other organizations, and any other
interested parties are invited to participate at this conference.
International participation is most definitely encouraged.

The ultimate goal of the conference is to establish a set of specific
actions and contingency plans for the Internet-related problems that could
lead to the meltdown.  These may include (but are not limited to) technical,
governance, regulatory, political, and legal actions and plans.  Scenarios to
consider may also include more "radical" technical approaches such as 
"alternate root" domain systems, technologies to bypass unreasonable 
ISP restrictions, and a wide range of other practical possibilities.

It is anticipated that the conference will include a variety of panels
focused on illuminating specific aspects of these problems, along with
potential reactions, solutions, and contingency planning for worst-case
scenarios.  Breakout working groups will be available for detailed
discussion and planning efforts.  Formal papers will not be required, but
panel members may be asked to submit brief abstracts of prepared remarks in
advance to assist in organizing the sessions.

The ability of this conference to take place, and necessary conference
details such as the specific program, costs, etc. will depend largely on the
response to this announcement and particularly on the number of persons and
organizations who express a potential interest in attending.

If you may be interested in participating (no obligation at this point, of
course) or have any questions, please send an e-mail as soon as possible to:

or feel free to contact Lauren at the phone number below.  As appropriate,
please be sure to mention how many people from your organization may be
interested in attending.  If you express an interest in attending, you will
be added to a private mailing list for upcoming announcements regarding this
conference unless you ask not to be so notified.

Together, we may be able to stop the Internet meltdown. 
But we need to act now.

Thank you for your consideration.

  - - -

Lauren Weinstein or or
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
    Cooperation and Analysis -
Moderator, PRIVACY Forum -
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

Peter G. Neumann or or
Tel: +1 (650) 859-2375
Co-Founder, PFIR - People For Internet Responsibility -
Co-Founder, Fact Squad -
Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
    Cooperation and Analysis -
Moderator, RISKS Forum -
Chairman, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

David J. Farber
Tel: +1 (412) 726-9889
Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy,
    Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science
Member of the Board of Trustees EFF -
Member of the Advisory Board -- EPIC -
Member of the Advisory Board -- CDT -
Member of Board of Directors -- PFIR -
Co-Founder, URIICA - Union for Representative International Internet
    Cooperation and Analysis -
Member of the Executive Committee USACM

(Affiliations shown for identification only.)


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