News, Culture, Controversy on the Internet

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A World Gone Wired

According to new figures, 1994 has seen a worldwide increase of 81% in computer systems providing access to the Internet. Argentina is tops, with a jump of 8167% since the first of this year. A distant second: Ukraine, with a 994% increase. Iran had no gain. Slovakia lost 36% of its connections. While the U.S. showed a modest 38% increase, it still has by far the biggest presence on the web, accounting for 63% of all host computers.


Forty members of the House of Representatives have jumped onto the Internet, hoping to replace traditional constituent mail with lightning-quick electronic exchanges. But there's a catch: House security rules bar lawmakers from answering E-mail with anything but an automated thank-you to confirm receipt. The problem: no current system can guarantee that an E-mailer is who he or she claims to be. "Anybody can get on there and say they're Newt Gingrich, and newspapers will run with it," says House information-systems director Terry Nugent. To thwart potential cyberforgers, the House is waiting for improved digital-signature technology. Hackers found flaws in an earlier version of this federally approved security scheme.