'Net think tank seeks to influence policy makers

A think tank devoted to researching internet issues has been formed by a consortium of high-tech and telecommunications companies.

The Internet Policy Institute, described by its backers as an independent, nonpartisan organisation, is being chaired by Jim Barksdale, former CEO of Netscape Communications, and Wayne Clough, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Organizers say they want to give government policy makers hard data on which to base their decisions.

The group's first project, which will be undertaken in collaboration with the Brookings Institution in Washington, will examine "The Economic Payoff from the Internet Revolution." That research effort will be led by Alice Rivlin, former vice chair of the Federal Reserve System's board of directors. Other issues the Washington-based Internet Policy Institute expects to examine include the Internet's impact on taxation, privacy and health care.

Sponsoring companies include America Online, AT&T, MCI WorldCom, Network Solutions and Nasdaq Stock Market.

Among the board members are Esther Dyson, chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and chair of EDventure Holdings; Bob Herbold, Microsoft 's executive vice president and chief operating officer; Roberta Katz, president of The Technology Network; Harris N. Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America; and George Vradenburg III, senior vice president at AOL.

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More about America OnlineAOLAT&TCloughEDventure HoldingsGeorgia Institute of TechnologyICANNInternet Corporation for Assigned Names and NumbersInternet Policy InstituteMCIMCI WorldComMicrosoftWorldCom

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