Tuesday, November 23, 2004


from Peter Harter

Dear Ron,

I am a better person for having known you and through you so many wonderful people. Over ten years ago you helped introduce me to the ways in which Washington, DC, works. It was the Communications Decency Act via Senator Exon. S. 1814 I think. From the CDA, to cookies at the FTC, to copyright on the Hill to za bunkair! And of course, the grand coalition we formed in 1996 to change export control laws on encryption. You were crazy enough at the time to jump in with both feet. So many others doubted anything could be done to turn the tide on key-escrow or to move the Administration. I recall taking many meetings with you on the subject. I think the most memorable was the meeting you arranged in the White House for my boss Roberta Katz with Vice President Al Gore. Greg Simon was your connection on the inside. To this day I remain in contact with Greg. Al Gore, however, does not return my emails. ;-)

Post AOL buying Netscape I'm afraid we lost contact. I regret that our work did not continue to keep us in close contact. I fondly recall many late evenings hunkered down in your offices (Piper Marbury at the
time...) with Jim Halpert, Julia Garcia and others from the early days of online law and policy, hacking away at the legislative process, crafting careful code that balanced interests along the wire connecting the Internet to the content people, the pipe people, and the software people. Parsing interests, ignorance, impatience, insecurity, and an i-revolution you really were a unique bird my friend.

And Stu Ingis put it best on Sunday afternoon - you touched people personally and professionally. Generous with your love of life and family you opened your home and weekend in Annapolis to me and Louisa Gosling, my girlfriend at the time visiting the US from Brussels. She is now in Melbourne and I've sent her a note with photograph from Marc Pearl of our infamous dinner. You are of course at the head of the table and Louisa is on the right.

Today I wonder why I did not make more of an effort to visit with you here in DC. I moved here in September and work a block from your office. After seeing so much of you in the faces of your friends on Sunday I do know that we can visit a bit each time your network of friends and colleagues meet.

All the best to you on your new journey.

Peter Harter

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