The International Origins of the Internet and the Emergence
        of the Netizen: Is the Early Vision Still Viable?
                                 by Ronda Hauben 
                                 Columbia University 

          "By the political element I mean the right to
          participate in the exercise of political power . . .
          as a member of a body invested with political
          authority."  (T. H. Marshall, Class, Citizenship and
          Social Development)

Part I: Introduction

It seems appropriate to be presenting this paper in Maastricht
where the question of European citizenship was thrust onto the
modern agenda.(1)

After all, it is here in Europe, in France that the modern vision
and practice evolved of the citoyen, of the citizen as the new
sovereign replacing the King. The German philosopher Habermas
captured this spectacular achievement in the phrase, "Nous sommes
le roi." ("We are the king.")

Today I want to explore a vision for the future, a vision that
combines the inspiration provided the world by the French concept
of "the citizen" with a broader focus than a national focus.  
The vision is based on a new form of "citizen" that has grown up
with the Internet, which is called the "netizen".

I also want to point with interest to the concept of a European
citizenship that European construction has posed. The Polish
researcher, Leszek Jesien, describes the discussion on this issue
at an EU Conference in 1996. Quoting an EU official, he

"The defining point of this process will be the transition from
the concept of the market to that of citizenship, by which I mean
a greater direct involvement of the citizens in the running of
the Union." (Jesien, page 2)

Jesien proposes that this is a particular challenge because "in
the 'democratic world' the citizens are dissatisfied with their
political institutions, their politicians, the way 'things are
going' in their countries."

He offers as examples the U.S., Belgium, Italy and Austria.
(Jesien, page 7)

He is not proposing that "the European citizen" replace "the
national citizen".(3) Rather he is considering how there can
continue to be the citizen participating in his or her national
government, and also another form of citizenship that will
function for the European Union.

Perhaps, surprisingly, Jesien begins his paper with some
definitions of Netizens. One of these definitions is something he
quotes from the work of Michael Hauben, who in 1996 (when
Jesien's paper was written) was a graduate student at Columbia 
University in New York City.

Instead of thinking about the Internet merely as a means of
communicating information, Michael stresses that it is the people
online who make the Net an important resource. Jesien quotes

"Netizens are Net Citizens . . . These people are . . . those who
. . . make [the Net] a resource of human beings. These netizens
participate to help make the Net both an intellectual and a
social resource." (Jesien, before page 1 quoting Michael Hauben,
"Further Thoughts about Netizens",

Jesien is looking for a form of citizenship not based on
geography. He is seeking to identify what the defining aspects of
such a citizenship would be. After considering various possible
characteristics, such as guaranteed rights, social obligations,
certain social benefits or needs, he notes that "by fulfilling
all possible needs...of the people we do not create citizenship."
He proposes that such characteristics may be a necessary
condition but not a sufficient one. He refers to secessionist
movements like those in Quebec, Canada, the Basque region in
Spain, and Corsica in France, in support of his conclusion that
providing for the needs of citizens is not adequate. (Jesien,
page 3)

Jesien does, though, identify a form of citizenship not dependent
upon geography - but requiring participation. He writes (remember
this is in 1995-1996):

"Almost in front of us, and almost unnoticed the new kind of
citizenship is evolving. The Netizenry -- those who use the
Internet. Without much attention, without governments and power,
without financial incentives and social entitlements. But using
the Internet today is a sign of those who exchange
ideas, who participate in something important, in a common cause.
There is no question of governance there, nor the question of
representation, but there is full, ultimate and direct
participation. Of course, the notion of netizenship would not
come out, perhaps would not even emerge yet, if there was no
intrusion, no attempt to control or censor the Internet. Those
who use it oppose the encroachments of the 'outside' power
fiercely. The battle gives them an additional sense of
commonality...." (Jesien, page 15)

Jesien concludes his paper:

"At the time the European Union struggles to shape the European
citizenship with much effort and little success, the other
citizenship -- Netizenship emerges." (Ibid.)

He recommends that the European "negotiators and . . . political
leaders should look at this phenomenon with sympathy and
attention." (Ibid.)

I want to look at the phenomenon as Jesien proposes of the
emergence of the netizen and netizenship and at the early vision
of the Internet and international collaboration. This vision
provided the inspiration for both the birth of the Internet and
the birth of the Netizen. I hope this will prove helpful for
those who are interested in the problem of European construction
and for those concerned about the continued care and development
of the Internet.

Part II: The Emergence of the Netizen

In 1992-1993, Michael Hauben, co-author of the book "Netizens: On
the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet" was in his 2nd
year as a college student at Columbia University in New York
City. Describing the research that he did which revealed the
emergence of Netizens, Michael writes:

"I started using local bulletin board systems (called bbs's) in
Michigan in 1985. After several years of participation on both
local hobbyist-run computer bulletin board systems and the global
Usenet, I began to research Usenet and the Internet."

"This was a new environment for me," he continues. "Where did
such a culture spring from? And how did it arise? During my
sophomore year of college in 1992, I was curious to explore and
better understand this new online world." (Netizens, "Preface",
page ix, )

By the early 1990s the Internet had become a network of networks
that spanned the globe. Usenet and the Internet made it possible
for computer users to have online discussions with people from
other parts of the world, to share technical problems, and to get
help from a global online community.

In 1992-3, Michael posted his early research questions on Usenet
and the Internet. He received over 60 responses from around the
globe. A number of these responses were detailed descriptions of
how people online had found the Net an exciting and important
contribution to their lives.

Elaborating on the progression of his research, Michael writes:

"My initial research concerned the origins and development of the
global discussion forum Usenet. For my second paper, I wanted to
explore the larger Net, what it was, and its significance. This
is when my research uncovered the remaining details that helped
me recognize the emergence of Netizens." (Netizens, page x)

While people answering his questions were describing how the
Internet and Usenet were helpful in their lives, many wrote about
their efforts to contribute to the Net, and to help spread access
to those not yet online. It is this second aspect of the
responses that Michael received which he recognized as an
especially significant aspect of his research.

This was the experience people had on Internet mailing lists and
Usenet newsgroups in the early 1990s, before the web culture had
developed and spread. What one found was a great deal of
discussion and interactive communication online. This was like
the computer bulletin board culture that flourished in the 1980s
and early 1990s. While the computer bulletin boards put users in
contact with local computer users, Usenet newsgroups and Internet
mailing lists put users in contact with other computer users from
around the world.

Describing the characteristics of those he came to call netizens,
Michael writes:

"There are people online who actively contribute to the
development of the Net. These are people who understand the value
of collective work and the communal aspects of public
communications. These are the people who discuss and debate
topics in a constructive manner, who e-mail answers to people and
provide help to newcomers, who maintain FAQ's, files and other
public information repositories. These are the people who discuss
the nature and role of this new communications medium. These are
the people who as citizens of the Net I realized were Netizens."
(Netizens, pages ix-x)

Later Michael elaborates:

"Net.citizen was used in Usenet...and this really represented
what people were telling me - they were really net citizens -
which Netizen captures. To be a 'Netizen' is different from being
a 'citizen'. This is because to be on the Net is to be part of a
global community. To be a citizen restricts someone to a more
local or geographical orientation." (From "Webchat with Michael
Hauben," Jan. 25, 1996)

Michael was not referring to all users who get online. He
differentiates between netizens and others online:

"Netizens are not just anyone who comes online. Netizens are
especially not people who come online for individual gain or
profit. They are not people who come to the Net thinking it is a
service. Rather, they are people who understand that it takes
effort and action on each and everyone's part to make the Net a
regenerative and vibrant community and resource." (Netizens, page

By 1995, Michael was invited to Japan to speak at a conference
about the subject of Netizens. The talk Michael was invited to 
present in Japan, was given in November 1995. The talk reflected 
his experiences and online research from 1992-1995.

By 1995 the U.S. portions of the Internet was becoming
increasingly commercialized. There was an effort on the part of
the U.S. mass media to promote a "get rich quick" view of the
Internet. Many who have come online since 1995 have not had the
experience of the early culture of interactive participation and
sharing that prevailed through the early 1990s. Instead these
origins are hidden and the early development of the Internet is
erroneously characterized as a period of "exclusivity". This is
not an accurate description. By the early 1990s users were
finding ways to spread the Internet through civic efforts like
creating community networks and Freenets and through creating
gateways between different networks like the Unix UUCP network
and the Internet and Fidonet. But by 1995 the U.S. government no
longer supported the efforts which continued the sharing and
cooperative culture of the early Internet. Instead there was a
vigorous campaign to commercialize and privatize the U.S. portion
of the public Internet. (The way this was done was probably also
in violation of U.S. constitutional provisions with respect to
the necessary public processes to be undertaken before public
property is privatized. However, the commercial pressure to carry
the privatization out quickly left little time to challenge the

In response to the growing commercialization and privatization,
Michael continued his research into the origins of the sharing,
participatory Internet and Usenet culture to better understand
the nature of the interesting online world an increasing number
of people were becoming part of in the early 1990s. Michael
shared his research with me and I began to do research also.

In January 1994 we put a draft book online documenting the
origins of the online network and culture it gave birth to. In
his preface to the book Michael wrote:

"As more and more people join the online community and contribute
towards the nurturing of the Net and towards the development of a
great shared social wealth, the ideas and values of netizenship
spread. But with the increasing commercialization and
privatization of the Net, Netizenship is being challenged. During
such a period it is valuable to look back at the pioneering
vision and actions that made the Net possible and examine the
lessons they provide." (Netizens, page xi)

Part III: Historical Origins of the Vision for the Net


Through studies of the history of the Internet, it became evident
that the vision for its development had been pioneered by J.C.R.
Licklider, an experimental psychologist interested in human
factors engineering.

"The world of the Netizen," Michael writes, "was envisioned more
than twenty-five years ago by J.C.R. Licklider. Licklider brought
to his leadership of the U.S. Department of Defense's ARPA
program a vision of the 'intergalactic computer network'."

Licklider introduced this vision when he gave talks for the ARPA
program inspiring people with the idea of the importance of a new
form of computing and of the potential for a network that would
make it possible to communicate utilizing computers.

In a paper that Licklider wrote with Robert Taylor in 1968, they
established several principles about how the computer would play
a helpful role in human communication.(4) They wrote:

"We believe that communicators have to do something nontrivial
with the information they send and receive . . . to interact with
the richness of living information -- not merely in the passive
way that we have become accustomed to using books and libraries,
but as active participants in an ongoing process, bringing
something to it through our interaction with it, and not simply
receiving from it by our connection to it." (Licklider and
Taylor, page 21)

"We want to emphasize" they continue, "something beyond its
one-way transfer: the increasing significance of the jointly
constructive, the mutually reinforcing aspect of communication -
the part that transcends 'now that we both know a fact that only
one of us knew before.' When minds interact, new ideas emerge."

Michael had experienced the importance of online interaction
among people with different ideas. From the diversity, something
new developed. He writes:

"The network of various human communicators quickly forms, changes 
its goals, disbands and reforms into new collaborations." 
(Netizens, page 6)

"The fluidity of such group dynamics leads to a quickening of the
creation of new ideas. Groups can form to discuss an idea, focus
in or broaden out, and reform to fit the new ideas that have been
worked out." (Ibid.)

"The virtual space created on noncommercial networks was
accessible to all, while the content on commercial networks like
Compuserve or America Online was only accessible by those who
paid to belong." (Netizens, pages 6-7)


By the early 1990s the research Licklider had initiated at the
Advanced Research Projects Agency (known as ARPA) had led to the
development of first the ARPANET and then the Internet. Also an
effort by graduate students to have an online newsletter resulted
in a newsgroup network known as Usenet.

In 1996, Michael wrote that the Net should be like a public
utility - akin to postal/telephone/water. While he did not
necessarily favor regulation, he explained that regulation by
government would be necessary to have equal access available to
all to the net. "The market," he predicted, "would not make the
Internet available in areas where it could not make a profit (and
that the Net would lose if all potential contributors were not
able to participate.)"

Michael saw the Internet and Usenet as a communications public
utility that needed government support so that it could be
available to all.

In response to a sensitivity among many online in the U.S. about
government regulation meaning potential censorship, he emphasized
that "Regulation does not mean censorship....Rather regulation
means putting the public interest over the commercial or private
interest. The Net is a shared commons, which means it is
important to make it available to the many, and not grabable by
the few." (WEBCHAT,

By 1996, he found that:

"Advertising will (and is) polluting the online world. Those with
money will quickly take over the spaces(...and) those without
money will not be able to. And those thinking of money are not
thinking about a global cooperative community - they are thinking
of themselves." (Ibid.)

He believed that commercial entities couldn't develop a network
that would spread access to all, a network that would encourage
user participation in its development.

He also proposed the need for citizens to find ways to influence
their governments to counter the pressure on government by
commercial entities to direct the Internet's development in
commercial directions.


A cornerstone before commercialization was the broad ranging
discussion on Usenet or mailing lists. This discussion encouraged
the interaction and exchange of diverse viewpoints. "Only by
seeing many points of view," writes Michael, "can one figure out
his or her position on a topic." Many of the people who responded
to his research questions told how they valued hearing from
people with different experiences and points of view.
"Brainstorming among different types of people," he concludes,
"produces robust thinking." (Netizens, pages 4-5)

"Information is no longer a fixed commodity or resource on the
Net. It is constantly being added to and improved collectively,"
he observes, explaining, "The Net provides an alternative to the
normal channels and ways of doing things. The Net allows for the
meeting of minds to form and develop new ideas. It brings
people's thinking processes out of isolation and out into the
open. Every user of the Net gains the role of being special and
useful. The fact that every user has his or her own opinions and
ideas adds to the general body of specialized knowledge on the

"Each netizen" he maintains, "thus becomes a special resource
valuable to the Net." (Ibid.)


In the course of researching the origins of networking, Michael
discovered the source of the culture of sharing and cooperation.  
Developing the Internet was "not a commercial process . . . . The
'selflessness' grew out of the fact that technology required
helping each other to succeed - for people to develop and further
computing technologies." He also recognized the need for open
code and for the open publication of the technical developments.
He writes:

"The public funding of the ARPANET project meant that the
documentation would be made public and freely available. The
documentation was neither restricted nor classified. This open
process encouraging communication was necessary for these
pioneers to succeed. Research in new fields of study requires
that researchers cooperate and communicate in order to share
their expertise. Such openness is especially critical when no one
person has the answers in advance." (Netizens, page 109)
#5 Protection

Michael pointed out that both Usenet and the Internet flourished
in their early development because they were protected from
commercial use.

He writes: "Usenet has not been allowed to be abused as a profit-
making venture by any one individual or group. Rather people are
fighting to keep it a resource that is helpful to society as a
whole." (Netizens, page 55)


Commercial usage was prohibited on the U.S. part of the emerging
Internet known as the NSFnet. "There were Acceptable Use Policies
(AUP) that existed because these networks were initially founded
and financed by public money."

This protection then extended to the networks from other
countries that connected to the NSFnet. "On these networks," he
writes, "commercial usage was prohibited, which meant it was also
discouraged on other networks that gatewayed into the NSFnet
backbone." (Netizens, page 29)

Not only did government regulation provide a protection from
commercial abuse during the Net's development, but the developing
network also provided a means for citizens to affect and
influence their governments.

Recognizing the need for protection for such a medium, Michael
urges the importance of the net and of protecting the people's
ability to develop its potential. He writes, "For the people of
the world, the Net provides a powerful means for peaceful
assembly. Peaceful assembly allows people to take control. This
power deserves to be appreciated and protected. Any medium that
helps people hold or gain power is something special that has to
be protected." (Netizens, page 26)


A study Michael did of an online conference sponsored by the US
government in November 1994 showed the potential of the Net for
making available to government a broad range of public views on
an important new development like the Internet. Similarly,
discussion groups such as those that Usenet provided could grow
to provide a forum through which people would be able to
influence their governments. Also such forums would allow for
discussion and debate of issues in a mode that facilitates mass
participation. Such discussion, Michael writes, "becomes a source
of independent information. An independent source is helpful in
the search for truth."(Netizens, page 56) But universal access to
the Internet is necessary to fulfill its promise. The Internet is
identified as a "public good" that needs to be accessible to all
the population. (Netizens, page 246)

Michael recognized the difference between the view towards Usenet
and the Internet that he received in the responses to his
research questions and the view towards the future development of
the Net which was being proposed then by the US government.


Describing the two different views, he writes:

"The picture of the Internet painted by the U.S. government has
been one of an 'information superhighway' or 'information
infrastructure' to which people could connect, download some data
or purchase some goods, and then disconnect. This image is very
different from the...cooperative communications forums on Usenet
where everyone..(was welcomed to-ed) contribute. The transfer of
information is contrast to the reality that the
Internet and Usenet (can-ed) provide a place where people can
share ideas, observations and questions." (Netizens, page 254)


An important democratic development occurred. Users on Usenet and
mailing lists were able to be the architects of the evolving
networks. Michael writes:

  The basic element of Usenet is a post.

  Each individual post consists of a unique contribution from a
  user, placed in a subject area called a newsgroup.

  Usenet grew from the ground up in a grassroots manner.

  (...) In its simplest form, Usenet represents democracy.
  Inherent in most mass media is central control of content. Many
  people are influenced by the decisions of a few....Usenet,
  however, is controlled by its audience....Most of the material
  for Usenet is contributed by the same people who actively read
  Usenet. Thus, the audience to Usenet, decides the content and
  subject matter to be thought about, presented and debated.

  The ideas that exist on Usenet come from the mass of people who
  participate in it. In this way, Usenet is an uncensored forum
  for debate where many sides of an issue come into view....
  People control what happens on Usenet. In this rare situation,
  issues and concerns that are of interest and thus important to
  the participants, are brought up.... The range of Usenet
  connectivity is international and quickly expanding into every
  nook and cranny around the world. This explosive expansion
  allows growing communication with people around the world."
  (Netizens, page 49)


From Usenet pioneers like Greg Woodbury, Michael learned that,
"it was the desire for communication that helped this social
network develop and expand." While appreciating the potential of
Usenet and the Internet to help people make a better world
possible, many of those online in the mid 1990s also anticipated
how difficult it would be to bring this about.


"People on the Net," Michael writes, "need to be active in order
to bring about the best possible use of the Net." (Webchat)

Part IV:

It is interesting to see how closely the conceptual vision
Michael developed matched that of the vision of J.C.R. Licklider.

Michael's views were influenced by his experience online, his
study and the comments he received in response to his research
questions from people around the world. (5)

Subsequent research shows that Licklider had recognized the need
for an online community that would encourage users to contribute
to be able to develop computer and network science and
technology. This collaborative environment is what people found
online on Usenet and the Internet even into the early 1990s.

Also Licklider advocated support and protection of the creative
users online who were eager to explore how to utilize the
Internet in interesting and novel new ways. Licklider staunchly
maintained that users had to be participants in making the
decisions that would develop and spread the Internet to all. He
warned that commercial entities could not develop a network that
would spread access to all or that would encourage user
participation in its development.

Part V:

In order to understand the nature of the vision represented by
the emergence of the Netizens, however, it is helpful to
understand the early development of the Internet. Licklider had a
vision of a network that would link up people around the globe.
He called this future network an intergalactic network. People
would be able to communicate to form communities of interest,
rather than being limited by communities of geography.

By the mid 1960s research on a network to connect different ARPA
researchers and their computers was initiated. The purpose of the
research was to encourage the sharing of resources among the
researchers, both the sharing of human and of computer resources.

This research helped to create something that came to be called
the ARPANET. If you wanted to join it, the US Department of
Defense would have to approve your request and you could not have
your own network. Rather your computer would have to become a
node of the ARPANET.

At this time there was much interest in networking around the
world, including various European countries like France, Great
Britain, Belgium, Italy and Germany. There was also interest in
Canada and Japan and other countries.(6)

While the US was doing its research developing the ARPANET,
France was doing research to develop a packet switching network
called Cyclades under the leadership of Louis Pouzin. In Great
Britain Donald Davies and his team at the National Physical
Laboratory (NPL)were doing packet switching network research.
There was a project to develop a European network which would
include several European countries.

The important question these different research projects raised
was how would it be possible to communicate across the boundaries
of such dissimilar networks. Each network was different
technically, based on the technical needs of the different
countries. Also they were under different forms of administrative
and political ownership and control.

You would not expect that any government sponsored network would
agree to become a subordinate part of another government
sponsored network, or that the countries would wait to build
their networks until there were decisions determined by all on
how to link up dissimilar networks.

A different means of communication was needed, different from the
ARPANET, a means that would make it possible to pass packets of
computer data across the boundaries of dissimilar networks under
different forms of ownership and control.

The process of solving this problem took 10 years. It required
the creation of a set of agreements called a protocol, a protocol
that would be as simple as possible, but which would make it
possible to take data from the form one network conveyed it and
transform it into the form for the next network. The transforming
mechanism was called a gateway. At the gateway, the data would be
transformed from an encapsulated form needed by the sending
network into the encapsulated form needed by the receiving
network. The protocol that was created was called TCP/IP, or
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

The process involved experimentation with different forms of
networks. Not only was there an effort to involve different
countries in the research, but there was also the effort to
create very different forms of networks and make it possible for
them to communicate. The different networks included a satellite
network called SATNET, and a packet radio network called RadioNet

The earliest research to create a version of the TCP/IP protocol
involved Great Britain, Norway and the US, with significant
contributions from researchers from France and other countries as
part of the effort.

The Internet research was research in connecting diverse kinds of
packet networks. It was designed so that one wouldn't need
permission to connect. Rather one could set up a computer and
send packets from it to another network through a gateway.

An important part of this research required that the scientists
from different countries be able to communicate easily and be
fully informed of the developments. In an article about how the
SATNET was created, Bob Kahn, who was head of IPTO during the
early Internet development, writes about the importance of the
network to make the collaboration of people in different
countries possible. He writes(7):

  Coordinating a program involving participants from multiple
  countries was an important challenge that was met at several
  different levels....The ARPANET played a particularly important
  role in executing the effort as well as in coordinating it...
  The message passing capability of the hosts on the ARPANET were
  used to keep all participants informed of technical progress,
  system status, often by direct reporting from the programmable
  satellite processors in SATNET, and to resolve questions and
  coordinate experiments on a day-by-day basis. Without such a
  capability, it is doubtful that the overall experimental
  program could have been carried out successfully.

While this early research was dependent on communication among
the researchers from different countries, other political and
technical developments meant that some countries like France and
Germany were leery of American domination and were working to
develop another form of network. Such efforts, according to Peter
Kirstein from Great Britain, meant there was a need to make
actual collaboration possible. The Unix operating system and the
Usenet newsgroup network were such collaborative means. Kirstein
explains that the early spread of email and newsgroups that
developed international collaboration was critical to the spread
of the TCP/IP protocol and the Internet across Europe.(8)

Involved in the early development of Usenet and Unix in Europe
were France, and Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and
Austria, Ireland among other countries.

While these developments were making it possible to create an
international network, there were also difficulties that the
researchers faced. For example, in the US there was a shift in
research goals to favor more product oriented, rather than basic

Another very important aspect of networking development involves
the means of communication used by the researchers who were also
the users of the networks.

Early on, both on the developing Internet and on Usenet, the
users were seen as important. They were able to shape the
developing network. A tradition among the Unix community,
according to Henry Spencer, an early Canadian Usenet pioneer, was
that there was honesty about the problems and an openness to
admitting them so that there would be a way to involve the
community in helping to solve them.

Part VI:

Transportation, computing and communications technologies were
creating the infrastructure for a global culture. (See "Culture
and Communication: the Impact of the Internet on the Emerging
Global Culture.) Michael refers to Margaret Mead's observation
that part of the global commonality among peoples has developed
through the spread of scientific understanding and technological
"It is important to understand," Michael writes, "that coupled
with the desire for technological advances is the understanding
of the need to control the introduction of such technology and
participate to have its use benefit the particular peoples in
their particular needs. The peoples of the world understand that
with the implementation of technology comes a responsibility for
the management and careful handling of that technology. He quotes
Mead, explaining: "True communication is a dialogue."(10).
According to Mead, true communication occurs " a world in
which conflicting points of view rather than orthodoxies are
prevalent and accessible.") (Mead, 1978, p 80) Michael understood
from Mead's work that within the vision of a new global community
there needs to be the space for the contributions of each
different culture. And he agrees with Mead when she writes,
"within the new vision, there must be no outsiders." All have to
be included as participants.

The vision of J.C.R. Licklider and then of users who Michael
recognized were netizens has helped to guide and spread a
participatory and interactive new form of communication

Part VII:

What is the relevance of the development of the netizen to the future
development of the Internet and as Jesien proposed, of European
construction? Jesien suggested the importance of looking at the 
phenomenon of the Netizen "with sympathy and attention." The principles
of the Internet's development and then of the emergence of the netizen
are not only new developments but also an actual set of experiences
that can be studied. The period before the commercialization of the 
Internet was a period where the new was concentrated. It provided a
rich laboratory for the development of communication and of democracy.
There are those like Manuel Castells (Internet Galaxy, Oxford, pp 282)
who realize the need for such experience and understanding. But they
do not realize that not only has a networking society developed but
also there are those netizens who have contributed to the birth of
this networking society. Jesien proposed the need to understand
the lessons from this process toward the continued construction of 
not only the Internet, but also of the European Union. He recognized
there was a social development which was the emergence of the netizen.
Michael pioneered this study and though he can sadly no longer continue 
it, his work provides a rich foundation that has been embraced by 
people around the world. The Internet and the EU are new and important
advances in our time. A new notion of democratic participation has
grown up with these new advances. How to view this new notion of 
democratic participaton with sympathy and attention is a serious
challenge that Jesien has posed to those interested in both democracy
and in European construction. The challenge is to determine whether these
lessons can be learned and will prove useful. A similar challenge
is presented to those who care about the Internet and its continued


1) The conference is the third annual conference of the Association 
of Internet Researchers, October 14 to 16 2002.

2) "We can only agree with Silvio Fagiolo the first chairman of
the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference under the Italian
Presidency. . . ." Leszek Jesien, "The 1996 IGC: European
Citizenship Reconsidered", Instituets fur den Donauraum und
Mitteleuropa, March 1997, page 2.

3) As Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum,
recently proposed. He writes: "The 21st century will be the age
of globalization. The technological revolution of the microchip
and the Internet have taught us that all types of "walls" have
crumbled in a world that is becoming more virtual than material.
The Web puts power in the hands of people in a way that the
voting ballot could never do. The 'netizen' replaces the
citizen." (See Challenges for the 21st Century, the American
Forum for Global Education, Issue 168, 2001-2002, p.2)

4) Licklider, J.C.R. and Robert Taylor. "The Computer as a
Communication Device." In Science and Technology: For the
Technical Men in Management. No 76. April, 1968. Pages 21-31.
Also reprinted in In Memoriam: J.C.R. Licklider: 1915-1990.
Report 61. Systems Research Center. Digital Equipment
Corporation. Palo Alto, California. August 7, 1990. Pp. 21-41.12

5) See also the Livingnet website
William Stewart the creator of the site writes:

"Joseph Carl Robnett 'Lick' Licklider developed the idea of a
universal network, spread his vision throughout the IPTO, and
inspired his successors to realize his dream by creation of the
ARPANET. He also developed the concepts that led to the idea of
the Netizen."

6) This interest is documented in the many papers from networking
researchers around the world presented in October 1972 at the
first International Conference of Computer Communications which
was held in Washington D.C. (Footnote papers and also the article
in 1975 AFIPS.)

7) Quarterly review meetings were held (rotated among the
different locations) and attended by all the participants.
Technical progress was reviewed at these meetings, technical
issues were discussed and resolved and plans for each succeeding
quarter were refined. Research issues and results were documented
and circulated in a series of informal working group notes. (Bob
Kahn, NTC page 45.1.5) Satnet "provided the means by which the
satellite processors were downline loaded and debugged, and the
means by which SATNET itself was controlled and monitored as it
was being developed."

8) Peter Kirstein in "Early Experiences with the ARPANET and
INTERNET in the UK" (

   Incidentally, the German, Italian and Norwegians did not
   pursue a similar route. In the late 70s, their growth of
   National Research networks was much slower, and quite divorced
   from any strong Internet links . . . For this reason it was
   not possible for a significant academic involvement from those
   countries with their US colleagues, until USENET, EARN and
   other similar Internet developments took off in the middle

9) In Europe there was the effort to create a protocol that would
be of European origin - OSI.

10) Mead, Margaret. (1978). Culture and commitment: The new
relationships between the generations in the 1970s. Garden City,
NY: Anchor Books/Doubleday. Page 77.
Hauben, Michael, and Ronda Hauben. (1997). Netizens: On the History 
and Impact of Useneet and the Internet, Los Alamitos: IEE Computer

Last Updated: September 30, 20002