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This paper is an overview of policy concerns for data networks and a discussion of the security issues that underlie them. It defines certain relevant terms, then establishes a partial taxonomy of data networks, characterizes them by various attributes, reviews security as a federal policy and standards issue, and finally suggests various policies that will be desirable, if not essential, to protect the networks that the United States will create as it moves into the age of a National Information Infrastructure (NII). The paper does not recommend specific policy positions or offer draft policy statements.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.