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The CPSR Compiler - January 2006

The CPSR Compiler - January 2006 - 4.7 < <

Turning Thoughts to Actions

* * * *

* Convergent Usability Evaluation: A Case Study From
   The EIRS Project
* Volusia County Dumps Paperless Electronic Voting
* CPSR at EPIC'S Privacy Coalition Annual Meeting
* Recommendations/Opportunities

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Thank you to members who generously supported CPSR through
giving to our  Annual Appeal or renewing after a lapse in

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As the chair of the CPSR Publications Committee, I'm happy to
report that we have now published on "Convergent
Usability Evaluation: A Case Study from the Election Incident
Reporting System (EIRS) Project," the third paper in our new
Working Papers series. It's linked from  the top of the home page
at, along with an introduction that summarizes
relevant concerns around voting rights.

As you may know, the EIRS is a Web application that CPSR
members developed with another non-profit organization to help
monitor U.S. elections.  What you may not know is that the
mostly-volunteer team had only four months to put it together.
The paper describes the usability evaluation methods used for the
EIRS project and discusses how they converged to provide a more
complete picture than we could have obtained by conventional

Hopefully you'll find this report interesting, and we can build on
this experience in future elections.

I'd also like to remind you that this Working Papers series is
designed to highlight the scholarly work of CPSR members.
Our website,, gets high rankings in Google, and is a
good way to make your work more visible. We will consider for
publication papers that have been presented in other contexts as
well as new work, including papers that could subsequently be
published elsewhere.

If you are working on something that might be appropriate for this
series or would like to write something specifically for the CPSR
Working Papers series, please contact me at nbrigham at
<>  Thanks.

Happy New Year,
Nancy Brigham
Publications Committee

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Convergent Usability Evaluation: A Case Study from the EIRS Project
By Jeff Johnson, Catherine Marshall, and Erik Nilsson

Two non-profit organizations developed a Web application to help
monitor U.S. elections: the Election Incident Reporting System
(EIRS). The mostly-volunteer team had only four months to
develop a workable system. The aggressive schedule, limited
budget, and distributed team-structure challenged us to find
creative ways to evaluate and improve EIRS' usability.
We used an approach that combined expert UI review with
opportunistic exploitation of venues for gathering data on EIRS'
usability. This approach, which we call convergent usability
evaluation, had, in the non-profit environment, advantages over
the more formal methods typically used for commercial projects.
In this paper we describe the usability evaluation methods we used
for the EIRS project and discuss how they converged to provide a
more complete picture than we would have obtained by
conventional methods.

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December 16, 2005: Volusia County, Florida today voted to dump
paperless electronic voting machines made by Diebold, choosing
instead to ultimately use more trustworthy machines from ES&S
that provide a voter-verifiable paper ballot. In a move widely seen
as a victory for trustworthy voting advocates, the county council
chose equipment that both meets the needs of disabled voters and
preserves the integrity of election results.

Earlier this year, CPSR signed an amicus brief in a related court
case, opposing a lawsuit that would have forced Volusia County
to buy Diebold equipment. The amicus was written by EFF and
signed by several organizations. See an Orlando Sentinel news article

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A list of former Board members by year(s) of service has been
posted at  Please contact
webmaster at if you have questions.

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Paul Hyland and Lisa Smith attended EPIC's (Electornic Privacy
Information Center) Privacy Coalition Annual Meeting on January
27, 2006 in Washington DC, and Lisa once again participated on
the panel on new technologies and their impacts on privacy.
James Bamford was the keynote speaker, and there was a great
deal of discussion about the recent revelations regarding
warrantless surveillance of Americans by the NSA and what we
can do about it.  The biggest refrain, repeated over and over, is to
emphasize that attacks on civil liberties hurt our security, rather
than helping it, and that we would be much better served by
focused investigations rather than fishing expeditions.

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L'Enfant Plaza Hotel Washington, DC, USA
May 2-5, 2006


The Program Committee of the Sixteenth Conference on
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CFP2006) seeks your
proposals for innovative conference sessions and speakers.

The Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference has been a
leading venue for public debate on the future of privacy and
freedom in the online world for a decade and a half. Each year,
key representatives from government, business, education, and
non-profits including the legal, law enforcement, security, media,
consumer, and individual hobbyist communities have gathered
together to anticipate policy trends and issues and to help map the
future of society in the online world.Attendees will meet again this
coming May to address cutting edge questions and issues in
computing, freedom and privacy.

They welcome proposals on all aspects of computers, freedom,
and privacy. They strongly encourage proposals that explore some
of the most important issues facing the Internet and freedom,
including:  intellectual property and intellectual freedom; copyright
versus technologies that make copying cheap or free; global
activism; technology and monopoly; voting technology and
democracy; technology and weapons; ICANN and
Internet governance; borders and censorship; digital divide;
biometric systems; consumer privacy; wireless privacy and
security; hacktivism; digital rights management and privacy; public
records and private lives.

They are seeking proposals for tutorials, plenary sessions,
workshops, technical demonstrations, and birds-of-a-feather
sessions. They are also seeking suggestions for speakers and
topics. Sessions should present a wide range of thinking on a
topic by including speakers from different viewpoints. Complete
submission instructions appear on the CFP2006 website at:

All submissions must be received by January 31, 2006. Proposals
will be reviewed by the CFP2006 Program Committee and
Advisory Board. The Program Committee will notify submitters
of the status of proposals no later than March 1, 2006.

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Jeff Johnson is updating his book, GUI Bloopers (originally
published in 2000), and is seeking new examples of user-interface
bloopers in desktop software, web-based applications, and
websites. A blooper is a user-interface design problem that makes
the application or website difficult or frustrating to use. To send
Jeff a blooper, email him at <jjohnson at>
explaining the problem, attaching images to illustrate it. For
website bloopers, just send the URL and instructions about how
to see the blooper. Please don't send images of unreleased
software, internal corporate web-applications, or proprietary
information. If Jeff uses an example you submit, you will get a
free copy of the book when it is published.

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The connection between NSA wiretapping and telephone industry
By Andy Oram

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Consider participating in an online survey about the future of the
internet. You can find the survey at
And you can take it by entering the PIN 1000.

The Project's web-based survey asks respondents to assess a
number of predictions about the future impact of the internet on
social, political, and economic activities. It follows a 2004 survey
of nearly 1,300 people who assessed the expected impact of the
internet over the next decade (results can be viewed at And
our report can be viewed at:

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New Ethical Careers Briefings Tackle Military And Corporate
Involvement In Science And Technology

How can ethically-minded science and engineering graduates stick
to their principles once they're thrown into the employment
market? Help is provided in two new briefings published today by
Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR). The first briefing
covers the extensive military involvement in science and
technology - where nearly a third of public R&D funding is
military. The second briefing focuses on the issues raised by
large-scale corporate involvement in these fields, as shown by the
fact that nearly two-thirds of scientists work in the commercial
sector. Both briefings discuss the related ethical issues and how
they affect career choice for students and professionals.

The two briefings are the latest of SGR's very popular series
'Ethical careers in science, design and technology'. The military
briefing was written by Dr Chris Langley, author of the acclaimed
report 'Soldiers in the Laboratory: military involvement in science
and technology - and some alternatives'. The corporate briefing
was written by Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of SGR.

Dr Stuart Parkinson said: 'Both the military and corporate sectors
have huge influence on science and technology, and their
involvement raises a wide range of ethical issues. These briefings
will help students and professionals navigate these issues and
make career choices which have a positive impact on society.'

Contact: Dr Stuart Parkinson, Tel: 07 941 953 640, Email:

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WITI's Conference in San Diego on February 13th and 14th
"is all about helping you succeed, getting you connected
and helping you clarify what steps you need to take to make your
dreams a reality"  See

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The 13th Annual 2006 Politics Online Conference hosted by The
George Washington University is for anyone interested in staying
current with how political campaigns and advocacy groups are
using the Internet, and with the market opportunities that are
emerging as a result.  March 7-8.

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ICANN's At-Large Advisory Committee has started a consultation
on the establishment of the European Regional At Large
Organization, a new umbrella entity that is meant to coordinate
European user organizations and active individuals and to select
their representatives in ICANN. The consultation is aimed not
only at the organizations that have been accredited by ICANN as
European At-Large Structures, but also to any interested party
(especially those groups who might be thinking about
applying for accreditation). (kindly hosted by ISOC Belgium) and
use the web forum to read the proposed structure of the new
organization and post comments, by 15 February.

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ITU's 2006 Young Minds in Telecoms essay-writing competition
Deadline for applications is 17 March 2006.

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(a)

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 cps(a) or refer to the
Activists Handbook 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 cpsr(a) about starting a new one.

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(c) Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility 2006.
Redistribution of this email publication - both internally
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Susan Evoy * Managing Director
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P.O. Box 717 * Palo Alto * CA * 94302
Phone: (650) 322-3778 * (650) 322-4748 (fax)
Created by hdihuyen
Last modified June 09, 2006 01:41 PM

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