Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth [Updated December 20, 2005] [open pdf - 206KB]
"In the decade between 1994 and 2004, the number of U.S. adults using the Internet increased from 15% to 63%, and by mid-2005, stood at 72%. From electronic mail to accessing information to online purchasing ('electronic commerce'), the Internet touches almost every aspect of modern life. The extent to which use of the Internet continues to grow, however, may be affected by a number of technology policy issues being debated in Congress. First is the availability of high-speed - or 'broadband' - Internet access. Broadband Internet access gives users the ability to send and receive data at speeds far greater than Internet access over traditional telephone lines. With deployment of broadband technologies accelerating, Congress is seeking to ensure fair competition and timely broadband deployment to all sectors and geographical locations of American society. Next are a range of issues that reflect challenges faced by those who do use the Internet, such as security, privacy (including spyware and identity theft), unsolicited commercial electronic mail ('spam'), protecting children from unsuitable material (such as pornography), and computer security, including the vulnerability of the nations critical infrastructures to cyber attacks. Other issues include the governance of the Internets domain name system (DNS), which is administered by a U.S.-based nonprofit corporation called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). With the Department of Commerce currently exercising legal authority over ICANN, and in reaction to calls for greater international control over the Internet, the 109th Congress has expressed its support for maintaining U.S. control over the domain name system."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-67