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H.j. Woltring, Fax/tel +31.40.413 744
10-04-1992, 08:26 PM
Dear list readers,

The Usenet newsgroups on Computers and Academic Freedom (alt.comp.acad-freedom)
are largely concerned with First Amendment rights under the US constitution,
and focus in particular on censorship issues at universities. The item below
is of a different nature, and signifies the growing use of electronic networks
for non-academic purposes. IP connectivity is the networking facility that
allows telnet, ftp, gopher, and other remote, interactive use, while NSF is
the USA's National Science Foundation.

hjw

-----------------------------------

Sender: CAF vol. 2, nr. 49 / from caf-talk Caf Sep 29 11:17:13 1992
From: steve@cise.cise.nsf.gov (Stephen Wolff)
Subject: Article 11 -- Status of connectivity to xSU by US Federal nets
Message-ID:
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1992 14:50:01 GMT

On behalf of the R&E community, NSF sought and in June, 1991 received a
letter from the Department of Commerce authorizing IP connectivity to the
so-called Eastern bloc. In a second letter from Commerce in January, 1992,
the authorization was reaffirmed and clarified; i.e., that the concern was
export control, **not** the connectivity itself.

Accordingly, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, have been now for some
time announced on the NSFNET Backbone; somewhat more recently, Estonia is
reachable as are (potentially) the other Baltic states.

Although connectivity to the xSU is covered by the Commerce letters to NSF,
at the request of the Federal Networking Council (FNC) the NSF agreed not
to carry such traffic on the NSFNET Backbone. This concession was nugatory
until two recent events: a network in the xSU is now being announced by the
CIX, so that it can (and does) exchange traffic with non-Federal US nets,
and Federal mission agencies are establishing what amount to point-to-point
links from specific sites in the xSU to specific US computational resources.

At the FNC meeting on Thursday, the 24th September, the NSF therefore asked
the FNC to reconsider its position, since a side effect of the growing
connectivity (which is either "non-R&E" or is between unilaterally-selected
scientists and sites in the US and the xSU) is to disenfranchise a large
fraction of the US R&E community whose aspirations for unrestricted
scientific and educational collaboration with their peers and colleagues in
the xSU NSF fully endorses.

-s

PS: Countries whose nets are announced on the NSFNET Backbone are listed in
/statistics/nets.by.country, available by anonymous ftp from nis.nsf.net. -s
--
Carl Kadie -- I do not represent EFF; this is just me.
=kadie@eff.org, kadie@cs.uiuc.edu =

(EFF = the Electronic Frontier Foundation -- hjw)