Gift Guide Public Agenda for a Digital World

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In NetPolicy.Com, Leslie David Simon offers a panoramic view of the Internet's cyclonic effects on national and global institutions, ranging from government and finance to health care, education and industry. To cope with this digital revolution, the author provides a comprehensive prescription for crucial public policy needs. Beginning with the worldwide struggle between government control and private sector leadership of the Net, he looks at the basic properties of the Net: its disregard of national boundaries; its virtual nature; and its impacts on the global economy, democracy, money, power, ecology, and culture. The book asks how we can encourage the healthy growth of the Net and avoid its darker side effects. Examining the current approaches of numerous governments and international organizations, NetPolicy.Com covers such critical issues as privacy, free expression, access, international trade, security, taxation, telecommunications regulation, legal frameworks, and government research.

NetPolicy.Com takes a non-ideological view, examining each issue on its own merits, sometimes accepting government involvement, as with advanced research, and sometimes favoring private sector control, as in the book's call for an end to telecommunications regulation or its opposition to government censorship. Above all, the book asserts that the unique American embrace of free expression, open markets, and private initiative will keep the U.S. in the vanguard of cyberspace, provided the private sector acts responsibly. Closed, non-democratic societies, the author asserts, will fall ever further behind, economically, politically, and culturally.

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Editorial Reviews


A valuable resource on critical policy issues.


For people unfamiliar with the many issues involved with policies regarding the new communications technologies, this will prove a reasonably valuable introduction.

Future Survey

Appears to be the definitive overview of Net policy issues.

Perspectives on Political Science

Simon's analysis contains a series of recommendations for digital policies that retain a balance between public and private sector roles in cyberspace.

— Steven Puro

An overview of the worldwide policy implications of the digital revolution that aims to help policy-makers as well as workers, students, and anyone whose professional life is being radically changed by the new "information storm." Simon retired from IBM in 1998 and is now a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center; he offers suggestions for government and private-sector officials around the world who are struggling to create public policies for cyberspace in areas including democracy, economics, law, and infrastructure. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From The Critics
From how digital commerce and democracy affects taxation, privacy and free speech to legal platforms for protecting and regulating property rights and documents online, provides a social examination of how the internet's capabilities are creating new public agendas for change. An important title for any social issues class.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930365032
  • Publisher: Woodrow Wilson Center Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Series: Woodrow Wilson Center Press Series
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie David Simon is Senior Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a member of the U.S. State Department's advisory committee on International Communications and Information Policy. He is former IBM director of public affairs in Washington, D.C. and vice president, IBM Europe/Middle /East/Africa Corporation in Paris, France.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The Net and its Impact
1 The Net Defined 3
2 Properties of the Digital World 41
3 Megaconvergence: Government and Social Services 65
4 Megaconvergence: Financial Services, Commerce, and Industry 100
Pt. II Public Policy Issues
5 Digital Democracy 125
6 Digital Economics 176
7 Physical and Technical Infrastructure 206
8 Legal Framework 241
9 Research and the National Interest 267
Pt. III Governance - Public and Private
10 The U.S. Government 285
11 Governments Worldwide 306
12 International Organizations and Programs 350
13 The Private Sector 368
Conclusion: Lessons for the Future 390
Notes 403
Selected Bibliography 423
About the Author 429
Index 431
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Policies for a Wired World

    A guided tour of cyberspace, traveling through the ever-expanding universe known as the Net. Over twenty-five years of age, this remarkable invention entered the public's consciousness only recently. Yet today it affects every aspect of human life. Simon describes its various impacts and discusses critical issues of public, and private, policy. I enjoyed the thoroughgoing history of the development of the Internet (Simon was there), little of which had previously been assembled in one place and certainly not interpreted so well. Beyond the exciting story of technological advance is a thought- provoking essay that raises troublesome questions as to whether the Federal government and the private sector, taken together, have the collective will (and wit) to encourage and maximize the use of this extraordinary tool for purposes that benefit the public good. The lack of boldness on both sides has left us with problems that seem intractable, problems having to do, for example, with intellectual property issues, privacy, and information security, to name only a few. This in turn raises the question as to how well we as a people will address the next mega-phenomenon, the already unfolding revolution in the biosciences. What can we learn from our response, to date, to the Net? I highly recommmend NetPolicy.Com to any serious reader of contemporary history, to any scholar of technology or dabbler in cyberspace, and to all citizens who are concerned with the role of government in this age when each of us is interconnected to everyone else, hence vulnerable to unknown threats from anonymous sources. Finally, NetPolicy.Com is a page turner. You won't lay it down very frequently.

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