Personal tools

The 2004 Winner

This year’s top CPSR contest winner, Jim MacAulay, is a student at Pennsylvania State University. Investigating e-voting, he told us, helped him to think beyond the technical aspects of computers and technology, to consider the role of technology in society. Often that meant confronting the skepticism of his friends, who viewed technology more narrowly as computer languages and coding.
Jim MacAulayHis winning essay is E-voting: A Trail of Money, Lies and Deceit.

It was a freshman-year course on database privacy and data theft that first got Jim interested in information technology policy. MacAulay finds the field "new and exciting," he said, because "computer technology is evolving faster than most policies and codes of conduct for usage."He believes it's important to bring "all the stakeholders to the table, such as consumers, business, non-profits and politicians, in hopes of creating a constructive dialogue." He tries to keep up with current issues by browsing web sites such as, EFF, and EPIC.

    Where does he go from here? "I am still trying to decide," Jim confesses. He might go to graduate school or work for a non-profit group. "I would really love to get involved with the legal aspects of e-commerce and intellectual property law," he explains, adding that if he finds a way to work abroad helping a developing nation deal with computer technology and telecommunications, "this would truly be an amazing experience."
    Whatever happens, Jim's goal is to keep trying to bring public awareness to such issues. During his undergraduate years politics became a passion with him, "something I have grown to love," as a way to highlight issues the mainstream has passed by, and to keep decision-making from excluding groups that should be represented.  

    "I can not emphasize enough about how important it is to not become apathetic to anything you feel strongly about," he concludes. "Change has to start somewhere, no matter how small you think your cause may be." MacAulay is convinced that its dangerous and threatens our democratic values to "accept everything that happens around you without questioning or establishing a voice throughout the decision-making process." A key to making career choices, he says, is "remaining open-minded and tolerant to new ideas,... determining your values and staying true to them."

More about the

CPSR Essay Contest Winners 2003-2004, and their essays

Essay Contest Rules for 2004-2005

Created by nbrigham
Last modified March 26, 2005 06:31 PM

Sign up for CPSR announcements emails


International Chapters -

> Canada
> Japan
> Peru
> Spain

USA Chapters -

> Chicago, IL
> Pittsburgh, PA
> San Francisco Bay Area
> Seattle, WA
Why did you join CPSR?

I strongly support the work of CPSR in humanizing computer technology.