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State of the Net Conference
Hyatt Regency, Washington, DC
February 9, 2005, 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM

About the Conference | Agenda | Media Advisory | Video and Audio

Overview

About the Conference
A quiet, yet revolutionary force is transforming the way society interacts in cultural, economic, and political terms. Probably because of the spectacle of the dot.com crash, few have noticed a seismic shift in how the Internet has become the core platform for our most basic services and communications. The technology is challenging lawmakers to craft regulatory frameworks that promote innovation and yet minimize ambiguity and thus litigation. Our nation's telecommunications laws best exemplify this challenge. The Telecom Act of 1996 was the first major rewrite of communication law in over 60 years. Because of the Internet, there is talk of rewriting the '96 Act at the start of the 109th Congress -- just a few short years after its passage. Intellectual property laws are under similar strains. And law enforcement officers and regulators are frenetic in stemming the waves of fraud on the Internet that threatens to undermine consumer confidence.

The Internet, of course, is characterized as many things by many people, but rarely is it considered for what it truly is: a technology that has immense impact on our daily lives. The importance of the Internet as an underlying layer for communications and commerce demands that Congress make informed decisions regarding how the Internet is regulated.

The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee State of the Net Conference gave those who follow policy developments a first look at the policy direction of the 109th Congress. At a time when all commerce and communications are migrating to the Internet as a root platform, the importance of government policymaking cannot be understated. The conference showed where federal decision-making will lead in 2005 and also provided opportunities to network and forge relationships with other influencers.

Issues

Track A: Trust, Privacy & Security: Concerns related to trust, privacy and security are becoming more acute as more and more businesses, consumers, and systems rely upon the global Internet grid.

Track B: Intellectual Property Protection and Innovation: As the Internet evolves, technologists and policy makers must continue to struggle with the challenge of ensuring that both intellectual property and creative innovation are appropriately protected.

Track C: Media Convergence and the Telecom Act Rewrite: Convergence is becoming a reality. The Internet has begun to subsume traditional communications technologies. VoIP is the tip of the iceberg. As the 109th Congress looks to rewrite the Telecom Act of 1996, how will it balance traditional regulatory policies with the Internet's open, decentralized and unregulated nature?