Ladies & Gentlemen,
I am writing to suggest that you include Brewster Kahle of San Francisco, California on the Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security. I understand that nominations close today.
The issues confronting the Committee, and the Commission, are important, complex, and controversial. The Advisory Committee will be best able to navigate those issues if it includes not only consumers and policymakers, but also other thoughtful people who bring a deep understanding of the technical and businss issues implicated by the Committee's deliberations.
Mr. Kahle developed the Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS) standard. That standard ("the first Internet publishing system") helped pave the way for Gopher and World Wide Web standards, and ultimately resulted in a commercial enterprise (WAIS, Inc.) that worked with Dow Jones, the New York Times, Government Printing office, and DoD to bring them onto the Internet. WAIS, Inc. was ultimately acquired by AOL, where Mr. Kahle served as Internet Strategist. These pioneering experiences on the infrastructure and commercial sides of the Internet give Mr. Kahle a unique perspective on the issues likely to come before the Advisory Committee.
After his work with AOL, Mr. Kahle founded Alexa Internet, which archives and datamines the World Wide Web. Now bundled into Netscape and the Internet Explorer browser, the Alexa tool has become part of the Internet's infrastructure. By developing Alexa and enabling the "archiving" of the World Wide Web, Mr. Kahle has creating an important tool for preserving, documenting, and understanding the growth and evolving use of the Web. Alexa is now part of amazon.com, providing Mr. Kahle with another key role in the evolution of e-commerce.
During the five years I worked on Capitol Hill (1989-1993), I staffed or participated in my fair share of Committees and Commissions. I learned early the value of having people on these Committees that not only know what they're talking about, but who also can get along with their colleagues and help get the real work done. Brewster Kahle is just that kind of person.
His accomplishments clearly demonstrate Mr. Kahle's intelligence, but it's important to note that Brewster is also blessed with the equally rare gift of common sense, not to mention a wonderful sense of humor. He is thoughtful and well able to integrate technical, commercial, and public policy considerations in his analysis of the kinds of issues the Advisory Committee will be debating.
Furthermore, his personable nature will also enable him to help educate members of the Committee who lack a technical background to understand those aspects of the Committee's work, and will make him a valued colleague to those with whom he serves. He will speak his mind, but will also listen. I can think of no one who could contribute more to this important task. Mr. Kahle can be reached at:
If you have any questions or need additional information, please reply via e-mail or give me a call at 502/774-7552 during business hours.
Kerry A. Walsh Skelly
P.S. Please note that while this e-mail originates from my office computer at Brown-Forman Corporation in Louisville, Kentucky, I am acting in my individual capacity and not speaking as a representative of my employer.