The Information Society


Letter from the Editor-in-Chief Rob Kling
14(1) 1998

This issue of The Information Society, 14(1), inaugurates a new page size format. The publisher, Taylor and Francis, has shifted the page size of several of its journals from 7"x10" to 8-1/2" X 11." This shift offers us some advantages, including a bit more article space for each issue. 

This issue of TIS includes four regular articles, one Forum article, and two book reviews. The issue opens with " Socioeconomic Implications of Telecommunication Liberalization: India in the International Context" by Ben Petrazzini and Girija Krishnaswamy. Telecommunications restructuring have evolved differently in Asia and Latin America. Latin American nations have implemented radical ownership and market transformations while Asian governments have moved cautiously. The Indian telecommunications reform falls between these two general regional trends. The authors identify the likely implications of the Indian reform on key economic and social issues, such as the cost of services, cross-subsidies, network interconnection, private investments, universal services, employment, and the possible rise of an information-intensive economy. Their analysis hinges on careful comparrisons between the Indian experience and dominant reform strategies elsewhere in the developing world. 

In "How Electronic Publishers are Protecting against Privacy" Puay Tang examines the strengths and weaknesses of technical systems of protection. Technical systems of copyright protection are increasingly perceived as a supplement to the law against piracy of electronic publications. Tang analyzes the protection methods employed by UK electronic publishers, and examines their views on technological protection and the increasing prospect of digital piracy. He finds a divergent range of instruments of protection, and that technological protection is not a preferred method. He also finds that the concern with piracy is of secondary importance to publsihers when compared to their desire to improve their products' 'time to market.' 

In "A Gendered Perspective on Access to the Information Infrastructure" Leslie Regan Shade examines access issues as they affect women; discusses public policy work on gender equity to national information infrastructure initiatives; and provides recommended reforms towards increasing gender equity to the information infrastructure. 

In the fourth article, "The Politicization of Environmental Organizations through the Internet," Joseph Zelwietro reports a study of four hundred environmental organizations in ten countries (Canada, Australia, France, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, U.K., and U.S). The study measured the organizations' information interchange through the Internet specifically and other media in general. Zelweitro's data indicate that there is a distinction between online and offline groups and suggests that the online groups are more politicized. 

TIS's Forum features "Myth-ing Links: Power and Community on the Information Highway" by Vincent Mosco. Mosco argues that we cannot understand the place of computer communication technology without taking account of some of the central myths about the rise of global computer communication systems, particularly those identified with the Internet. He notes that myths are not simply false beliefs. Myths are important both for what they reveal, in this case a genuine desire for community and democracy; and for what they conceal, here the growing concentration of communication power in a handful of transnational media businesses. 

TIS issue 14(1) concludes with two book reviews: Technology and the Politics of Knowledge, edited by A. Feenberg and A. Hannay and Alternative Modernity: The Technical Turn in Philosophy and Social Theory, by A. Feenberg. 

TIS issue 14(2) is a special issue that will focus on Virtual Societies for which Prof. Magid Igbouria served as the guest editor. Its table of contents and article abstracts are available on TIS's web site. Please check our web site for news on forthcoming issues, calls for papers, and abstracts of articles from previous issues. 

I am pleased to invite four new members to TIS's editorial board. 
* Professor Bo Dahlbom of Goteborg University is a leader in the information systems field in Scandinavia. He was educated as a philosopher and shofted to information systems in the 1980s. 

* Dr. Linda Garcia was a senior policy analyst in the (now closed) U.S. Congress's Office of Technology Assessment. She lead assessments about the social issues in national scale and rural computer networking before the Clinton Administration popularized its NII programs. She now works with the Foundation for Rural Science. 

* Professor Toru Ishida of Kyoto University adds an important Japanese perspective to TIS's editorial board. Professor Ishida's also adds an important kind of technological expertise through his interests in computer ssytems that support complex social interactions. 

* Prof. Dr. Herbert Kubicek leads the Telecommunication Research Group, University of Bremen and adds important expertise in telecommunications policy with a special understanding of European issues and perspectives. 

You can find a current list of TIS's 26 editorial board members and ways to contact them on the Editorial Board page on TIS's web site. If you're writing an article that you would like to submit to TIS for possible publication, I'll try to honor any requests that you make to have a specific editorial board member act as the Associate Editor for your article. You may also discuss your paper with editorial board members when you are planning or writing your article. 

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