24 Hours of Cyberspin?

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: TIME has learned that the White House scheduled the signing of the telecom bill Thursday to coincide with "24 Hours In Cyberspace" (http://www.Cyber24.com), a much-touted exhibition that intends to document the online world in the course of a day through pictures from 150 top photojournalists and material from thousands of volunteers in 31 countries. "They're trying to capitalize on this event, but they're doing it by signing a bill that is opposed by many in online world," reports San Francisco Bureau Chief David Jackson. "Another reason for the White House's eagerness to tie in with the project is that both Tipper Gore and the White House photographer are shooting pictures for this event." One project organizer told TIME that Vice President Al Gore's office notified "24 Hours" officials in advance that the White House wanted to sign the bill on February 8: "They want to surf our site live." Rick Smolan, the entrepreneur behind the event, told TIME that the timing of the Internet protest is "in some ways incredibly fortunate because it will show what the world would be like without this kind of connectivity."