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The CPSR Compiler - December 2005

The CPSR Compiler - December 2005 - 4.6 < <

Turning Thoughts to Actions

* * * *

* Annual End of Year President's Letter
* CPSR will not be staffed from December 23rd to January 22nd
* A brief report of CPSR@WSIS in Tunis, 16-18 November 2005
* Privacy International's Data Retention Campaign

* * * *

Dear Colleague,

For 24 years, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
(CPSR) has been working to promote public interest objectives
in the information and communication technology (ICT) arena.
In that time, we have grown from a small group of computer
scientists in Palo Alto, California who were deeply concerned
about the Reagan Administration's Star Wars program into a global
organization that could take on any ICT issues that our membership
cared to address.  Whether the pressing topics of the day have
been government surveillance and violations of privacy and civil
liberties, overly restrictive intellectual property rules,
industry concentration, telecommunications and mass media
regulation, unreliable voting technology, computers in the
workplace, the participatory design of technologies, the
Internet's development and governance, the global information
society, or something else, CPSR and its members have been there
---voicing concerns and raising awareness by writing policy
statements and reports, giving testimony, lobbying policymakers,
organizing events and campaigns, working in coalitions with
other public interest groups, and more.  Whether acting alone,
in ad hoc teams, or through our formal working groups, chapters,
and ongoing projects, CPSR members have made notable contributions on
these and many other fronts.

CPSR has been able to make a difference solely because of
our grass roots membership.  While we have hundreds of members
around the world, our financial resources---and by extension,
our office support---are very limited.  As such, we have no
central organization comprising paid professional staff to
plan and carry out programmatic activities; instead, we are
essentially a highly distributed network of people who volunteer
their technical expertise and effort to address the problems
that most concern them.  Our member-driven character and our
involvement in a broad range of local, national, and global
issues make us very different from the various staff-based
public interest groups working in the ICT arena.  We fill a
vitally important and complementary niche---a progressive
organization that computer professionals and other concerned
citizens can actually join and work through in order to connect
with colleagues that are interested in promoting free and
inclusive information societies.

To preserve this open platform for collective action,
we must strengthen CPSR's institutional and financial foundations.
That is a big challenge for volunteers who are invariably pressed
by the demands of other obligations, and in consequence CPSR's
fortunes have waxed and waned a bit over the years.  Lately though,
the Board of Directors and other dedicated members have been
working hard to put the organization on a sound footing for the
future.   In a similar letter sent during the 2004 holiday season,
I mentioned a number of priority initiatives we hoped to push in
the coming year.  During 2005, we achieved these objectives,
and more.  To note just the more prominent examples, we have:

*    Established a new Advisory Council (AC).  Composed largely
of committed veteran members who have experience with our inner
workings, the AC has provided the Board of Directors with insightful
input on ways to enhance CPSR's organizational management and
programmatic direction.

*    Produced a Strategic Plan (SP).  Written by three members
of the AC, the SP provides a valuable overview of CPSR's past,
present, and possible futures.  The SP has served as a vehicle to
prompt dialogue among the Board, AC and other interested members.
A draft version was posted for member comment on the website prior
to the Annual Weekend, and the final version, revised in light of
these and other comments, will be available there in January.

*    Held a successful Annual Weekend.  Our October gathering
in Palo Alto was an ambitious multi-part affair that included:
a special Board meeting on organizational management that was
facilitated by an expert in non-profit boards of directors and
supported by the Ford Foundation; a regular Board meeting
characterized by a renewed sense of commitment and shared direction; a
productive Board/AC dialogue on the SP; and a lively
and extended Members‚ meeting that focused in particular on program
and possible campaigns.

*    Strengthened the new website,  The transition
to the new site has been a very demanding and time consuming task,
but with support from the Ford Foundation, the capabilities we
wanted are now mostly in place.  The member comment cycle for the
draft SP and steps taken by some Chapters and Working Groups in
growing their respective portions of the site have demonstrated
the content management system's ability to facilitate member
initiatives and collaboration.  All we need now is for more
members to use these resources!

*    Reconstituted the committees that are responsible for
various aspects of CPSR's management and bring together
representatives of the Board of Directors and the general membership.
More information on this evolving effort will be available soon on
the website and in the CPSR Compiler.

*    Rebooted the publications program.  CPSR has a new Working
Paper Series, available on the website, that will soon release its
third publication.

*    Completed our first ever financial audit, which focused on
the 2003-2004 fiscal year but also highlighted some broader
structural issues.  The auditor gave us a clean bill of health and
drew our attention to practices that can enhance our ability to
make the best of our limited resources going forward.

*    Expanded our collaborations with other public interest
organizations. Productive linkages have been fostered in particular
with respect to global policy processes, e.g. the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) and Internet governance debates,
and there has been movement in the United States as well.

*    Increased our visibility and influence in the policy sphere,
again most notably at the global level through our involvement in
the WSIS and Internet governance.  CPSR members participated
actively in the global negotiations by making written and oral
interventions, lobbying governments, organizing side events, and
generating ideas and texts that fed directly into the
intergovernmental agreements.

In 2006, we plan to build on these gains to further strengthen
CPSR's organizational foundations.  In consultation with the AC
and other members, the Board of Directors is actively exploring
issues raised during the Annual Weekend and in the SP and is
considering new programmatic work. Voting technologies, censorship
technologies, and Internet governance  (broadly defined) seem like
particularly pressing options for one or more campaigns.
In parallel, we are considering institutional initiatives that
could help us to make better use of CPSR's scare resources.

In short, CPSR is making progress, and we enter into 2006 with
renewed energy and commitment to secure the organization's future.
It promises to be a very exciting time, but we very much need your
participation to make it a success.  There are two things you can
do to help us in this effort.

First, if you are not already, please get involved! While some of
our members have been very active in recent years, we really
need to get more people into the stream of things.  There is much
to do: for example, you could help get the new website up-to-speed;
join or form a working group on an issue of particular interest to
you; join or form a local, regional, or national chapter; start an
ongoing project and work with CPSR to seek financial support
for your efforts; join one of the committees that are responsible
for various aspects of CPSR's management; or stand for election
to the Board of Directors.  We will have several vacancies to fill
in the next election cycle, and are eager to get some new blood
that is committed to sustaining and growing the organization.
And of course, spread the word about CPSR. We need more members!

Second, this being the holiday season, please consider making
a financial contribution to CPSR.   We really need your support
at this crucial turning point in the organization's evolution.
Our finances have been in general decline since the crash,
we can just barely cover our staff and other operating expenses,
and we have little financial "cushion."   On the current
trajectory, and despite the continuing activism and contributions
of our members, CPSR could very well become unsustainable in
its current form within a year or two. Let's work together to
avoid that scenario playing out.  And remember, CPSR is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For those paying taxes in
the United States, your contribution is IRS deductible.
You can use the secure online form at

My best wishes for a happy holiday season, and thank you for
supporting CPSR.

William Drake

* * * *

CPSR's Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter can help
with questions about donations of stocks to CPSR:

Diane Roberts, 288 Meeting St.  4th Fl, Charleston, SC  29401

* * * *

CPSR will not be staffed from December 23rd to January 22nd.

* * * *

CPSR Bookstore

Buy books; support CPSR. It's that easy.

CPSR earns a percentage on books purchased through our links to
site. If you link to Powell's from our bookstore pages, CPSR receives a
percentage of the purchase price of everything you buy. So, every time
go to Powell's, do it through CPSR's website, and show your support for

If you have recommendations for additions to the CPSR Bookstore, please
submit them for consideration in the citation format used, including
ISBN number,  to webmaster(a), with Subject "Bookstore." See

* * *

A brief report of CPSR@WSIS in Tunis, 16-18 November 2005
by Bill Drake, December 2005

The second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
took place in Tunis, 16-18 November 2005.  According to the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which served as the
United Nations’ lead organizer for the WSIS, the Summit was
attended by 19,401 people, including 5,857 delegates from 174
governments and the European Community; 1,508 delegates from
92 international organizations; 6,241 delegates from 606 civil
society organizations; 4,816 delegates from 226 business sector
entities; and 979 people from 642 media organizations.  The
Summit concluded the WSIS process that began in the summer of
2002, and released two new documents that were negotiated by
government, private sector, and civil society participants during the
preparatory process.  The most important of these, the Tunis
Agenda for the Information Society, includes the hard-fought
agreements on Internet governance, financing of ICT for
development, and follow-up and implementation for the WSIS
process.  The Tunis Commitment is a brief reaffirmation of
governments’ diplomatic commitments to promote the objectives
contained in the other documents.  In addition, the Summit also
reaffirmed and re-released the Declaration of Principles and Plan
of Action adopted by the first WSIS held in Geneva in December
2003.  A huge amount of information about the WSIS, including
the abovementioned documents, press releases, negotiation texts,
and inputs from participants in the process, is available on the
ITU’s WSIS website,

CPSR was an active participant from the beginning of the WSIS
process in 2002.  Some illustrations:

*    CPSR sent delegations of about two dozen people to both
the December 2003 Summit in Geneva and the November 2005
Summit in Tunis;

*    CPSR members collaborated closely with other individuals
and organizations in the broad civil society coalition that worked
to promote global public interest objectives in the WSIS process;

*    CPSR members participated in the drafting of civil
society position statements and summit documents, made formal
interventions on behalf of civil society participants, and lobbied
government delegates at a number of the Preparatory Committee
(PrepCom) negotiation sessions;

*    CPSR members gave presentations at a number of related
meetings, including: WSIS regional preparatory conferences; UN
Information and Communication Technologies Task Force global
forums and working group meetings; Conference of NGOs in
Consultative Relationship with the United Nations information
sessions; United Nations Development Programme training events;
and parallel events held throughout the WSIS process that were
sponsored by other civil society organizations, national governments,
and international organizations;

*    CPSR hosts the listserv of the civil society Internet
Governance Caucus, which has swelled to almost three hundred
participants from all sectors (civil society/business/government/
international organizations) and become the most vibrant and
important open forum for online dialogue concerning the broad
terrain of Internet governance;

*    Two CPSR members, Bill Drake and Avri Doria, were
appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Working
Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) and were centrally involved
in producing the WGIG Report and WGIG Background Report
that figured prominently in the negotiations and helped pave the
way to a global political deal on Internet governance in Tunis.
In addition, Bill Drake edited a book that was released at the Tunis
Summit and contains contributions from over two dozen members
of the WGIG and its leadership and secretariat, Reforming
Internet Governance: Perspectives from the UN Working Group
on Internet Governance  (New York: United Nations Information
and Communication Technologies Task Force, 2005).

CPSR organized a number of parallel or side-events during the
PrepComs and the two Summits.

Going forward, CPSR members will remain involved in the
United Nations dialogues on the global information society and
Internet governance, in particular by participating in the WSIS
implementation and follow-up initiatives, the Global Alliance
for ICT and Development, and the Internet Governance Forum.

See report

* * * *

Bill Drake was appointed by the United Nations to the Start-Up
Group for the pending Global Alliance for ICT and Development.

Bill Drake gave a presentation on,  "Internet Governance: The
Tunis Agreement from a Civil Society Perspective," at the
Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the
United Nations (CONGO)'s Briefing for NGOs on the
Outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society,
Tunis Phase, Geneva; United Nations, December 7, 2005.

* * *

CPSR was a signatory to Privacy International's Data Retention

The European Parliament recently approved the Directive on data
retention.  A deal was established between the Council
and the two largest political parties that made it almost
inevitable that the directive would go through.

For more information on what happened and how the situation
arose, see data retention

My apologies if I overlooked any entries for this
Compiler issue, and/or if any of your questions/requests
to me have not been answered. Please feel free to send
me reminders, maybe with the Subject beginning - "NUDGE".
Thanks, Susan   evoy(a)

The CPSR Compiler is a monthly notice with short
updates on recent activities of our members and
opportunities to engage in the development of the
public voice through CPSR projects.

To report news for future issues, send a sentence or
two (and URL if available) to

CPSR provides a discussion and project space where
individuals can contribute to the public debate and
design of our global digital future. Through CPSR's
chapters and working groups, members focus on regional
and civic issues developing the public voice. To
insure a democratic future in a time of intense
globalization, the voice of the public must command
a prominent position on the world stage. CPSR frames
and channels the public voice.

When in doubt about how to get more out of your CPSR
membership, contact or refer to the
Activists Handbook at
to get help in getting the most out of your membership.

To get involved in policy work through CPSR, consider
joining one of CPSR's Working Groups
or contact about starting a new one.

CPSR-Activists is the main members forum of CPSR,
where the board and members discuss current policy
and organizational issues. Only subscribed members
can post to this list:

(c) Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility 2005.
Redistribution of this email publication - both internally
and externally - is encouraged if it includes this paragraph.

CPSR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Donations are tax deductible.

Pay Dues, Buy Tshirts, or Make Donations via

Find out about email discussion lists and Working Groups
hosted by CPSR at

The CPSR Compiler is emailed to CPSR members in
good standing, who have provided CPSR with their
email address.

Online Dues and Donation Form:
Susan Evoy * Managing Director
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717 * Palo Alto * CA * 94302
Phone: (650) 322-3778 * (650) 322-4748 (fax)

Created by hdihuyen
Last modified June 09, 2006 02:30 PM

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