3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

September 15, 1997 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 1997.
From this point you can link / jump up to the main page for,

3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

or to,

The FYI France Home Page

Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Enewsletter subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

--oOo--

The new Prime Minister -> Internet a priority of France

(A new FYI France Online Service subscription rate for students -- US $10 for one year -- goes into effect from today through December! Check it out, at http://www.fyifrance.com .)

In a speech remarkable both for libraries and for the Internet, France's new prime minister, Lionel Jospin, just has outlined his Government's plan to put his nation "en ligne". He specifically mentions new support for the Bibliothèque Nationale de France's online access and digitization projects. The speech is translated in what follows.

France is more typical of the "non - Anglo - Saxon" world in all of this than we might think. Notice the Prime Minister's concerns for equality of access, for controls and regulation, for competition with American culture and English - language domination, and his support for the very idea of government participation. At the ITU's "Telecom Interactive 97" in Geneva, last week, the same ideas were expressed.

These have not been leading American concerns in the Internet's development. This is the "rest of the world" talking. But now we in the US should listen: at least because increasingly these are the new patrons, clients and customers, now that so much of digital information is "going international" --

--oOo--

Speech of the Prime Minister, given at The Université de la Communication at Hourtin, Monday August 25 1997 (tr. JK):
 

"Preparing the Entry of France into the Information Society"

"I am pleased to be able to address you today in the special setting of the Université de la Communication at Hourtin, on a subject which is of particular concern to the communications sector: I would like to speak about the revolution in the technologies of information. This year you have chosen "Politics" as the theme of your reflections. Beyond its technical dimension, the emergence of an Information Society in fact represents a political challenge, and it constitutes, in this respect, an essential preoccupation of my Government.

1) The entry of France into an Information Society is a decisive event of our future.

We can speak today of the emergence of an Information Society due to three great transformations, which are part of a fundamental change in our society.

First: the generalization of the use of the technologies and networks of information. The "informatization" of society, which has come upon us since the end of the 1960's, today is a concrete reality which translates into this concept of an Information Society. The digitization of information, the "informatization" of modes of production and exchange, the increase of the "knowledge" component of wealth, and the development of new networks like the Internet all have strong repercussions which are economic but also social and cultural.

Second: the evolution of technology is more and more rapid, and is accompanied by an exponential development of its commercial market. Where it once took 10 years for the emergence of 25,000 Minitel servers, now nearly 100,000 Internet sites are created every month throughout the world.

Third: the globalization of information flows. Whether one speaks of satellites or of the Internet, the new multimedia networks no longer know any frontiers. This poses a considerable challenge for nation - states, which are accustomed to governing their own national affairs.

The emergence of an Information Society opens vast perspectives. The economic perspective is obvious. The multimedia industry, where one finds the computer, telecommunications, and audiovisual industries, today constitutes one of the significant motors of national growth and is an important source for jobs. Today the part played by the information technologies in the global economy has become more important than that of the automobile industry.

Information is becoming strategic wealth, one of the conditions of our competitive position. The products of intellectual activity already form, and will form even more in the future, a determining part of our collective wealth. To a great extent, we know, international competition in the coming century will be a battle of intelligence.

But the upheavals introduced by the technologies of information concern much more than just economics: the wealth of the new networks of information and communication offers promises which are social, cultural and, to be sure, political. The transformation of relationships of space and of time which are induced by information networks allow many new democratic hopes, whether one thinks of access to knowledge and culture, of regional development, or of the participation of citizens in local life. Still, this evolution must be controlled: I will return to this in a moment.

The Government is fully aware of these changes. What is our country's situation? More and more voices are raised now speaking of a French backwardness in the use of the technologies of information. Some statistics, such as the weak figures for households with computers, or the still limited number of French Internet users, bear effective witness to a backwardness which has several causes:


Our nation does have resources at its disposal, however, of which we must take advantage: sophisticated telecommunications networks, advanced research centers such as CNET [Centre de Recherche et Développement de France Télécom. JK.] and INRIA [Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique. JK.], an information industry and information services which are highly developed, and well - established experience with online services, of which the Minitel was an exemplary precursor.

The question of the future of the Minitel is important. Its simplicity of use and the security which it provides for transactions have offered an example of that which the users are seeking from new networks such as the Internet. But we now understand that the Minitel, a solely French network, is technologically limited, and that we risk its increasingly constituting a brake upon the development of newer and promising applications in information technology. I wish therefore for France Télécom to propose incentives and solutions favoring the progressive migration to the Internet of the vast and valuable collection of Minitel services, a migration in which the current administration ought to set the example.

I am convinced that we find ourselves, today, at a crossroads: we possess all of the means needed to make France a nation at the forefront of the Information Society.

2) Enthusiastic involvement by and support from the government is a necessity.

The Government has decided to put an ambitious action program into place. It will depend upon an inter - ministerial committee for its coordination. Its exact operation will be announced before the end of this Autumn. The Government will present an assortment of proposals to the nation, which will permit an emphasis on priorities and will put real measures into operation. The purpose of this action program will be to provide a reference point for administrators, but also and above all for the other members of society who need a willing, comprehensible and long - lasting intervention by the State.

In fact, and in spite of certain opinions on the current seemingly - irreversible retreat of the State, one can see throughout the world -- and particularly in the United States -- a very active presence by the State in aiding the development of technology and new services. Technology is only a means to an end: it ought to be put to the service of society.

The apprehensions raised by these upheavals are understandable. Fear in the face of the emergence of a new communications tool, far from being new, is a recurrent theme in history. But the possibilities offered by the Information Society justify our straightforward efforts to overcome these fears.

In saying this, I am aware of two dangers which must be avoided:


The Information Society will be whatever we decide it will be. This is why we must propose a project and a political vision to the French. This political vision is that of a united Information Society, one of solidarity.

We have decided to remedy the backwardness of France in information technologies, a backwardness which quickly could have grave consequences in terms of competitive position and employment. France and French culture ought to take their proper place in the global society of information.

But we refuse to permit a widening in the gulf which separates those of our citizens who master these new tools from the rest of the population. To facilitate the development of the Information Society in France while providing access for the greatest number to its new services: this is the ambition of my Government.

The action of the Government depends upon the opening of a public debate. I am convinced that the solutions cannot be imposed from the "top down". Whatever might be their importance, it would be illusory to wait for everything to arrive from public agencies. The State does not have the job of substituting itself for the other actors in the Information Society: individuals, companies, and organizations. This is why I intend for the government action program for the Information Society to be the object of a public debate in which everyone, and I think particularly here of associations, may react to our proposals. The mechanics of this will be given in detail at the same time as the action program is made public.

3) To be effective, our actions must be oriented around priorities.

The initiatives of the Government in preparing the entry of our nation into the Information Society respond to fundamental principles:


This policy, to be effective and understandable, must be oriented around a limited number of priorities:


First priority: the intelligence battle begins at school.

The development in a school setting of the use of information technologies meets a double objective:


I am convinced that information technologies constitute a path for the learning of knowledge and for access to culture. If this new knowledge is not provided at school, a gulf will open between young people whose parents can afford a computer and those who do not have this chance.

Three types of action are important and inseparable:


It is not enough to proclaim that all schools must be equipped and connected. This is an obvious objective, which I of course endorse. But the important thing is to understand how, in what rhythm and at what cost to do this equipping: without forgetting that we are speaking of a project which will be shared by the State and by local governments -- a close partnership with regional, département, and city governments consequently is indispensable.

Numerous organizations already benefit, thanks to the dynamism of some university or of some capable local government, from having the necessary means. My hope very much is to avoid the appearance of a "two - track" school system in which certain establishments will benefit more while others will be deprived of access to the technologies of information. This hope will guide, I know, the proposals which the Minister of "Education Nationale, de la Recherche et de la Technologie" will make soon in these areas.

But our efforts largely will have been in vain -- and the problems resulting from grand equipment plans in the past show us this -- if a considerable training effort is not undertaken at the same time. Many instructors have used these technologies of information already for a very long time. Now, pooling all these various skills, we must generalize the practice, as much at the level of initial training as at that of continuing education.

Finally, the effort in equipment and in training must be accompanied by support for the production of multimedia instruction programs, accessible on the Internet and via other distribution tools.

Second Priority: the development of our cultural presence on the new information networks must be assured.

We must have an ambitious policy of digitization for our cultural patrimony, which must be made accessible to the public on the open networks: written patrimony, architectural and artistic patrimony, scientific patrimony. It is in this spirit that we have urged, along with the Minister of "Culture et de la Communication", that the Bibliothèque Nationale de France from now on offer to the public free access, via the Internet, to some of its collections.

It is equally important that all current media firms, for which information already is their trade, should extend their activities to these networks. I think particularly of the printed press, which for these purposes could benefit from public support.

This cultural presence is indispensable to the international presence of France and of French culture, in partnership with the other francophone nations. This objective supposes the development of services offered in the French language, services which as of now are few. Our patrimony is an achievement of France. This is the way to show its value.

An active online presence must be accompanied, obviously, by great vigilance in avoiding the treatment of our culture on the Internet as an article of merchandise among many others. We must defend a cultural exception, with the same determination which we have exercised in the past on behalf of our audiovisual achievements. I know that the forces of artistic creation in graphic, audiovisual, and musical domains already are taking in these new tools.

In programs for the employment of youth [a major issue of the last national election, and a major party platform plank of M. Jospin's successful campaign. JK], the cultural effort must benefit from the presence of people adept at training others in the use of the new technologies.

Third Priority: electronic commerce must be developed, relying on private initiatives.

For this we must have confidence in the process, and therefore assurance that individuals and enterprises may undertake commercial exchanges on the Internet with full security. For this reason, I have decided to promulgate decrees liberalizing cryptography which will be announced shortly. A particular effort will be made to favor the cryptography known as "weak", which has been hampered until now by very restrictive regulation. I know that the Minister of "Economie, des finances, et de l'industrie" understands that priority is to be given to this progress in electronic commerce."

[In Part 2, to follow: some other French and foreign concerns which do not sound particularly American.]

[Continued translation of a speech delivered August 25 by the new Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin. In Part 1 he outlined the priority which his administration is giving to getting all of France online on the Internet, including a specific emphasis on the "informatisation" projects of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Here in Part 2, he provides the detail of encryption liberalization, business development incentives, and regulatory measures which can be expected. A commission has been appointed -- to report back this Fall -- the debates have begun. The concerns of the French significantly may sound unfamiliar to Americans.]

"It is equally important that all current media firms, for which information already is their trade, should extend their activities to these networks. I think particularly of the printed press, which for these purposes could benefit from public support.

This cultural presence is indispensable to the international presence of France and of French culture, in partnership with the other francophone nations. This objective supposes the development of services offered in the French language, services which as of now are few. Our patrimony is an achievement of France. This is the way to show its value.

An active online presence must be accompanied, obviously, by great vigilance in avoiding the treatment of our culture on the Internet as an article of merchandise among many others. We must defend a cultural exception, with the same determination which we have exercised in the past on behalf of our audiovisual achievements. I know that the forces of artistic creation in graphic, audiovisual, and musical domains already are taking in these new tools.

In programs for the employment of youth [a major issue of the last national election, and a major party platform plank of M. Jospin's successful campaign. JK], the cultural effort must benefit from the presence of people adept at training others in the use of the new technologies.

Third Priority: electronic commerce must be developed, relying on private initiatives.

For this we must have confidence in the process, and therefore assurance that individuals and enterprises may undertake commercial exchanges on the Internet with full security. For this reason, I have decided to promulgate decrees liberalizing cryptography which will be announced shortly. A particular effort will be made to favor the cryptography known as "weak", which has been hampered until now by very restrictive regulation. I know that the Minister of "Economie, des finances, et de l'industrie" understands that priority is to be given to this progress in electronic commerce.

Fourth Priority: the firms in the sector of technologies of information and communication are our fourth priority.

The firms in this sector, whether one thinks of industrial activity or of the production of content, constitute an important source of jobs. They offer promising possibilities for growth and for exports.

The development of information networks does not favor solely the consumption of services produced by others. The development of the French offering on the global market depends on a will to innovate, on active support of public and private research, and on special support for the small and medium - sized firms which develop new technologies.

Fifth Priority: the networking of public services is a step for democracy.

The improvement of relations between public administration and the citizen is the constant concern of the Government. In this area, I urge that the efforts under way to permit anyone to find administrative forms on the Internet be normalized and made uniform. The streamlining of formalities also is an important goal, both for companies and for individuals, one to be encouraged in the rapid extension of "tele - procedures". Eventually everyone ought to be able, for example, to complete and submit a tax form or the renewal of an identity paper online on the network.

To meet the democratic necessity of freedom of information, an increased ease of access to public information is indispensable. Over a period of nearly twenty years, access to administrative documents has become a true public liberty; today, technology facilitates their distribution as well.
Essential public data from now on must be accessible to all for free on the Internet. Therefore, since "ignorance of the law is no excuse", I am insuring that this will be the case for the contents of the "Journal officiel de la République française". [See http://www.journal-officiel.gouv.fr -- but see also Hervé Le Crosnier's suggestions for the improvement of such a service, and his thoughts about some of its current problems, at

http://www.univ-rennes1.fr/LISTES/biblio-fr@cru.fr/archives/76/msg00011.html

and those of Joel de Rosnay in "Monde diplomatique", cited by Le Crosnier, at

http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/md/1997/08/DE_ROSNAY/8969.html

--JK.]

An ambitious idea is popular now which favors the citizen's right to information: the international distribution of our public documents ought to be encouraged if only for this reason.

In addition to access to public administration information, the Internet can offer real services to our fellow citizens. I think for example of access to job listings of the ANPE ["Agence Nationale Pour l'Emploi". JK.], which is available from today on the Internet and which can assist in the recovery of our employment market.

The development of public services on the information networks should not translate, however, into a new inequality of access for the users. Equipping public places with the means for providing access to government online services, therefore -- for example in post offices and local government employment agencies -- is an indispensable corollary to this policy.

Sixth Priority: effective regulation is an important condition of the development of the information networks. This calls for the development of a legislative program and a protective regulatory environment, at both the domestic and the international levels.

The development of an open and global network such as the Internet calls forth fears which often are legitimate. The preservation of intellectual property rights -- without which there would be no inventions -- and guarantees for consumers, the protection of minors, the repression of what now is being called "cyber - criminality", the battle against racist and other propaganda, and the respect for private life, are among the imperatives.

The Internet is not, as is said from time to time, a zone exempt from the law. But the existence of a network without frontiers -- with 50 million users today and hundreds of millions tomorrow, each able to become a publisher in his or her own right -- obviously poses some new questions. Lacking responses for these questions, the Information Society will not be lacking in danger.

It falls in the first place to those now building the Internet to take matters into their own hands, and to develop some sort of regulation of the networks. Such measures, relying on self - imposed rules of conduct and a deontology, would conciliate both the resistance to the devolution of its own power to which the Internet is being subjected, and the respect for the freedom of communication which is creating its riches.

There must be, then, an organization of problems calling for State action at appropriate levels: that is, at the national level, at the European level, and beyond that -- often -- at the international level. The Internet poses, to both the public authorities and the courts, numerous questions of law; I therefore ask that the Conseil d'Etat study these questions in order to clarify our legislative and regulatory choices for the future.

France is a pioneer in protecting personal information: since 1978 it has possessed ambitious legislation in this area, notably with the establishment of an independent administrative authority -- the "Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés".

The extent of technological change over the past twenty years raises new questions to which legislation must respond. The necessity of re - working the European Community directive of 1995 on this subject offers a further reason for a re - examination of this legislation. This is why I have decided to confide to Monsieur Guy Braibant ["Vice - président de la Commission supérieure de codification" of the Prime Minister's office, "Président de section du rapport et des études au Conseil d'Etat", author of books on French administrative law, see interview at http://www.mygale.org/~scpo/ , in "La Tribune de la rue Saint Guillaume", avril 1997. JK], whose authority and competence in these areas are well - known, a mission of both reflection and the formulation of proposals.

I wanted today to express to you a political vision of the Information Society, to confirm the active involvement of the Government in it and the necessity of making clear choices. The action program and the debate which it will open are a forum which the Government proposes to the nation. It is in my opinion essential, for it is simultaneously the economic strength and the cultural flowering of France in the next century which are under discussion. France has all that it needs to play a major role in the development of an Information Society. As this century turns, the next few years will be decisive for our understanding, collectively and together, what part we will play."

--oOo--

Editor's comment:

The inhabitants of nations which are "leading" in some area often find it difficult to appreciate the desperation of others -- of "outsiders" -- who feel that they have to keep up. It is hard to admit that one is behind; even harder to figure out how to catch up.

The Internet and digital information, moreover, are a juggernaut which is rolling very rapidly -- 19.5 million hosts as of this July, up from 16 million only six months earlier (that's +22% over those six months, see http://www.nw.com ) -- and people, and nations, which try to catch it as it rolls by risk getting caught beneath the wheels.

The Prime Minister does a disservice to many able French information workers, and to many French accomplishments in the information arenas which date back at least as far and have been as significant as those of any nation. Even regarding the Internet, hosts in domain ".fr" now number 292,096, placing France firmly in the "top ten" among connected nations. (There were 245,501 French hosts in January -- a 19% increase in 6 months -- although it seems increasingly that French users are more than ".fr" and that not all ".fr" are French, as the domain name system loosens.)

The disservice may be deliberate, though. France's "12% national unemployment" is a far more significant figure than any statistic involving the Internet, and it certainly explains both the Prime Minister's repeated concern about job opportunities in his speech, and his general effort to "light a fire" under information workers, decision makers, librarians, and anyone else whom he can motivate. The British, the Russians, the Chinese, the Thais, all similarly will have such concerns, "peripheral" to Americans but which have become "central" to those people. One hopes that there will be patience and mutual understanding all 'round, despite the different local emphases. Most of all, one hopes that the "equity" issues which Jospin raises forcefully here will not get lost in the shuffling, racing, sound and fury.

Jack Kessler

--oOo--

FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter        ISSN 1071 - 5916

      *
      |           FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter,
      |           published since 1992 as a small - scale, personal,
      |           experiment, in the creation of large - scale
      |           "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material
     / \          written by me which appears in FYI France may be
    -----         copied and used by anyone for any good purpose, so
   //   \\        long as, a) they give me credit and show my e - mail
  ---------       address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if
 //       \\      if it is going to make them money, they must get my
                  permission in advance, and share some of the money
which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their
permission. FYI France archives are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search
fyirance), or http://www.cru.fr/listes/biblio-fr@cru.fr/ (BIBLIO-FR
econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com , or at
http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html . Suggestions, reactions,
criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all will be gratefully received
at kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

        Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.

--oOo--
From this point you can link / jump up to,

The FYI France Home Page ,

or you can link / jump over to:

1.00 FYI France: Print Libraries in France
2.00 FYI France: Digital Libraries in France
3.00 FYI France: E - Newsletter and Archive -- you just were here
4.00 FYI France: Publishers in France
5.00 FYI France: Book - Dealers in France
6.00 FYI France: Calendar
7.00 FYI France: Discussion and Debate
8.00 FYI France: La Francophonie
9.00 FYI France: Internet Training & Consulting
10.00 FYI France: Essai
11.00 FYI France: Translation Services
12.00 FYI France: Bibliographies / Resource Lists

or you can,

Return to the top of this page .

M. Eiffel

Copyright © 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
W3 site maintained at http://www.fyifrance.com by Jack Kessler.
Document maintained by: Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us
Last update: October 28, 1997.