A Word of Welcome from The Internet Society

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Montreal for INET'96, the sixth annual conference of the Internet Society. True to this year's theme, "The Internet: Transforming Our Society Now," the INET'96 conference committee has organized an exciting collection of sessions and workshops, intended to reflect the vast changes, improvements, and enhancements that the Internet has seen over this past year and will see in the coming year.

The worldwide growth and expansion of the Internet may well be one of the hottest topics today and it is gratifying to note that its popularity is due in large part to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of thousands around the world, including many of you here with us this week.

From commerce and government to education and social change, the Internet continues to capture our imaginations and challenge our assumptions. What we learn here this week -- as well as the knowledge we impart -- will help us to more effectively address global policy and economic issues, ethical concerns, and the myriad of technical and social issues in order to ensure the furtherance of a truly global Internet.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Conference Chairs Monique Lefebvre and Lionel Hurtubise; Program Committee Chairs Randy Bush, Lee Caldwell, Jean-Claude Guedon, and Janet Perry; and to the many talented Program Committee track leaders and members, for their hard work in putting together this year's impressive conference program.

A unique feature of the INET Conference is the Workshop for Developing Countries. This Workshop is chaired by George Sadowsky and taught by a dedicated staff of volunteer track leaders, teachers, and helpers. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by the Internet Society and by their students.

And last, but certainly not least, a very special thanks is due to those organizations who have so generously donated resources to the Conference and Workshop.

We hope that you will value your participation in this exciting conference. Welcome!

Donald M. Heath
President, Internet Society

From the Conference Chairs

This is a momentous time for all of us concerned with the future of the Internet. That's why INET '96 concerns itself with the questions about the changing roles of the Internet and its importance for society at large. Here you will find intriguing sessions that explore the role of Internet in politics, commerce, culture and education in all kinds of institutional settings and locales.

This year in particular INET '96 has gathered many of the individuals who will lead us into the next century and into the next levels of achievement for the Internet. In this year of rapid change and influence, the quality of the conference and participants is unsurpassed, providing a wonderful opportunity to learn and to meet so many of our esteemed colleagues.

Our thanks to all members of the conference committee, the program committee, the sponsors and everyone who has worked so hard to make INET '96 a reality and a success.

Lionel Hurtubise, Ericsson Communications, Inc.
Monique Lefebvre, Centre de recherche informatique de Montreal (CRIM)
Co-Chairs of the Conference Committee

From the Program Chairs

INET'96 is characterized by a deepening of its traditions and a broadening of its fields of interest. Issued from a largely technical milieu, Inet continues to address the concerns of network specialists. Faster, more secure networks, networks reaching into the farthest reaches of the planet, all of these questions are addressed within INET'96. Technical issues dealing with security, cryptography and the technical transposition of contractual relationships are also broached within INET'96.

On the application side, INET'96 pursues the tasks laid out in previous years. Electronic payment devices, virtual reality and the latest development in web uses are but a few of the many topics addressed and they certainly raise important issues about the future of the Internet. INET'96 also reflects two fundamental tendencies that are changing the social, cultural, educational and economic identity of the Internet:

  1. More sites now exist outside the United States than inside, and this points to the growing internationalization of the Internet.
  2. The research and academic communities are no longer the dominant users of the Internet.

This implies questions about the changing roles of the Internet and its importance for society at large. Because of this evolution, "Internet" has become a household word in the last couple of years. It is fitting that INET'96 should reflect this trend and thus become the place where such issues are debated. Intriguing sessions will discuss the role of Internet in politics, commerce, culture and education in all kinds of institutional settings and locales. Serene or impassioned, these session will not eschew difficult and sometimes sensitive issues such as the redefining of democracy in the age of the global network-come-to-life. One of the striking dimensions of the Internet is that it uncannily manages to crystallize the aspirations and hopes of nearly all human beings, whatever their social or political identity or orientation. This simply marks the fact that the Internet turns out to be a generalized empowering device, a true amplifier of humanity itself, with all of its contradictions, conflicts, ambiguities, but also with all of its creativity, intelligence and its inherent splendor. The program committee of INET'96 has tried to capture this rich, complex and ultimately exalting reality all the way from technical progress to human ambiguity.

Randy Bush, NSRC & Rain/REnet
Lee Caldwell, IBM
Jean-Claude Guedon, University of Montreal
Janet Perry
Co-Chairs of the Program Committee

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