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Several of the largest Internet service providers (ISP) have created an interest group to serve as their advocate in the nation's capital.

Announced earlier this week, the U.S. Internet Service Providers Association (U.S. ISPA) will serve as the voice of the industry to promote legal and policy issues in Washington, the group said in a statement. The association was formed from the Commercial Internet eXchange (CIX), which is disbanding and being reconstituted as the U.S. ISPA, with an entirely new membership group and Internet focus.

The founding companies behind the group are America Online Inc., Cable & Wireless PLC, Earthlink Inc., eBay Inc., Teleglobe Inc., Verizon Online and WorldCom Inc.

"As the ISP community has matured, so have its needs for an organization that could represent the growing legal and policy issues common to ISPs," said Clint Smith, vice president and chief network counsel at WorldCom and the U.S. ISPA's first president.

The association's vice president, Tom Dailey, who is also general counsel at Verizon Online, said the group will follow compliance and liability issues of interest to ISPs, including Internet security, online liability and compliance with the new antiterrorism laws and the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

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