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[FYI] Robert Cailliau: Internet-Fuehrerscheinpflicht?
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- Subject: [FYI] Robert Cailliau: Internet-Fuehrerscheinpflicht?
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- Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 13:15:23 +0200
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Date sent: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 12:49:48 -0500
From: Barry Steinhardt <Barrys@aclu.org>
Subject: FC: Web coinventor says no access to Net w/out government
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[Sounds like Robert Cailliau and Louis Freeh have a lot in common.]
Saturday November 27 3:04 AM ET
Web Co-Inventor Backs Licensing
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - The co-inventor of the World Wide Web says all
users should be licensed so surfers
on the information highway are as accountable as drivers on the
Robert Cailliau, who designed the Web with Briton Tim Berners-Lee in
1990, says regulation of the Internet
would also help trace illegal child pornography and racist sites.
But in an interview with Reuters Television, the Belgian software
scientist was adamant that the system must remain
open and neutral -- free of heavy-handed rules governing content.
Cailliau also said he expected a ``micropayment system'' to be
eventually by the international industry
consortium, known as W3C, which sets standards for the Web.
This would give Web users the option of paying a small fee in return
downloading advertising-free pages quickly
from an uncluttered cyberspace, according to the 52-year-old expert.
Cailliau proposes licensing all Internet users to make them aware of
``duties as well as their rights,'' comparing it
to a driver needing a license before hitting the road.
``The Net is another world, potentially a dangerous place. You can
people and you can get harmed, just like on
the road,'' he said. ``If you go through an education process before
getting an account then you're better prepared to
go out there.''
He added: ``We all accept that a car has number plates and a driver
registered somewhere...Why can't we apply
these same principles to the Internet?''
Asked how offensive sites and ``spam-mail'' invading cyberspace
dealt with, he replied:
``The Internet and the Web are completely outside geographical state
boundaries. This is not dissimilar to air. If you
make pollution in one place it travels across the frontiers.
``For very similar reasons I think we need some regulation of Net
which is internationally agreed, globally
But the system is open, neutral and non-proprietary, and must remain
according to Cailliau. ``One has to be
extremely careful what it is that one regulates. We should not
the content but the behavior of people.
``We don't tell the servers what they are allowed or not allowed to
We just register them,'' he added. ``If they
put child pornography on there, we can at least get at them.''
Cailliau spoke in his tiny office at the European Laboratory for
Physics, known by its French acronym
CERN. More than 7,000 physicists and staff from 83 countries work at
sprawling site, the world's largest
It was at the Geneva complex straddling the Swiss-French border that
was part of a small visionary team who
invented a system allowing documents to be transferred across the
Cailliau, currently head of Web communications at CERN, reminisced
the breakthrough nearly a decade ago
-- a time when the Internet was used mainly at academic institutes.
``In our own international environment at CERN where we have users
over the world, we needed a system where
we could communicate documents automatically so that people in any
zone could look at things here without
needing to contact the person and they could do it by just clicking
around,'' he said.
``What was really the click that made it all go was this idea of
single namespace, designing a single way of
naming a document wherever it was,'' he said.
Cailliau hopes the World Wide Web Consortium, directed by
will agree on a micropayment system to
reduce the need for advertising. But technical problems must be
The consortium is run jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, French National Institute for Research in
Computer Science and Control (INRIA, based near Versailles) and Keio
University in Japan. Its 370 members
include such industry giants as Apple, IBM, Netscape, Sony, Xerox
A working group is studying the idea of an optional fee, according
Cailliau. ``The consortium is very close now to
making a micropayments recommendation. There is a proposal there,
very interesting because if we can get
it to work, that will change the quality of the Web completely.''
``We've had micropayments in the French Minitel system for 15 years
is shown to work extremely well,'' he
As for the Web of the future, he said: ``The obvious things are more
speed, more high-quality information, getting
micropayments to really work and getting the regulation going
internationally as well.
``But what is after that is unclear. One must not forget that
some estimates we've got something like
three percent of what one could put on the Web and do with it on it
now. So there's still a lot of work to be
done,'' he said.
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