INET '98: Policy Makers, companies to debate future of Internet

Government policy makers, Internet visionaries and corporate Internet users will meet with representatives from the Internet Society (ISOC) to discuss the future of the global information network this week in Geneva at the eighth annual INET conference. But the real action could be afterwards, at the International Forum on the White Paper (IFWP), where European and Asia-Pacific delegations, including New Zealand's, will argue for a presence in the Clinton government's proposed new international organisation for managing domain names.

Government policy makers, Internet visionaries and corporate Internet users will meet with representatives from the Internet Society (ISOC) to discuss the future of the global information network this week in Geneva at the eighth annual INET conference.

The Internet Society -- a US-based international organisation aimed at promoting the development of the Internet and whose members include government agencies, foundations, individuals and companies -- has been hosting the event since it was founded in 1992. The idea of INET '98 is to open a discussion forum on the socio-economic impact of the Internet around the world now and in the future, ISOC said in a statement. Debates at the conference will focus on technical and regulatory concerns, as well as societal issues surrounding the use of the Internet, ISOC said.

Some of the events attendees can expect at INET '98 include training workshops, product announcements, round-table debates and keynote speeches from the likes of Ira Magaziner, senior advisor on US Internet policy to US President Bill Clinton, and Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the networking protocol TCP/IP and current head of development of MCI's Internet network. Big name backers of the event include Sun Microsystems , Digital, IBM and MCI, but smaller Internet companies and non-profit organisations will also attend.

In the week running up to the event, the Internet Society hosted training workshops aimed at helping professionals from developing nations learn how to use the Internet more effectively. These workshops were held in Geneva and Rio de Janeiro simultaneously and were taught in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Following the INET '98 conference, The International Forum on the White Paper (IFWP) will host a meeting in Geneva aimed at ironing out a global consensus on Internet domain name registration and management. The meeting, which will be attended by policy makers and other interested parties, will center around the discussion of how the new international organisation for managing domain names will be set up, the IFWP said in a statement. The meeting follows the release of a US government white paper suggesting the creation of a new organization that would manage domain names on a private, international scale, the IFWP said.

More information on INET '98 can be found at http://www.isoc.org/.

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