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The CPSR Compiler - December 2006

The CPSR Compiler - December 2006 - 5.6

Turning Thoughts to Actions

     - CO/PTO roundtable: WIPO Broadcasting Treaty, Jan. 3, 2007
     - ICAC 2007 State of the Net Conference, Jan. 31, 2007
     - FTC workshop: Net Neutrality, Feb. 13-14, 2007
     - 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit, Feb. 21-23, 2007
     - PISTA 2007, July 12-15, 2007



Thoughts on 2006: CPSR's Year of Transition

A New Year's message by Todd Davies, CPSR President

The past year has been an eventful one internally for CPSR.  Following the completion of our strategic planning process, funded by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation, the Board of Directors for CPSR decided that we needed to make some changes in the way we had been operating for many years.

When CPSR was founded in the early 1980s, the world of technology policy was very different.  There were relatively few ways in which well-informed computer professionals could advise policymakers and lawyers on issues that require both a technical and a social responsibility perspective.  Reliable information about the limits and dangers of technology was often difficult to find, and pertinent, peer-reviewed literature was scarce.  CPSR filled a glaring need at that time, and established itself as a trustworthy voice in a frightening new world, where software was being written that could have a devastating, global impact.

We will be celebrating and revisiting that early history as part of our 25th Anniversary events.  But the great name that the pioneers of CPSR established for us is still a powerful one in technology policy circles, and continued this year to add value in coalitions working on new sets of challenges -- to communication and information access, privacy rights, election security, and (still) peace-promoting rather than peace-inhibiting uses of technology -- where our mission is as vital as ever.  The many organizations that have joined our issue space in recent years keep telling us that we are vital and unique, in bringing an organized voice of progressive computer technologists into U.S. and global lawmaking.

A reputation like the one CPSR still has is not easy to establish, but it is unfortunately easy to lose.  Over the past few years, we were able to undertake initiatives, such as the Election Incident Reporting System and the Participatory Design Conference, despite declining membership and revenues.  This year, we realized that we cannot continue with an organizational model that, while it may have worked well in the past, is no longer suited to our changed environment.

We decided that we needed to be closer to other technology activist organizations, many of which did not exist ten years ago.  So we moved our office to the San Francisco Nonprofit Technology Center (incidentally saving 50% on our monthly rent!), and we reached out to our new neighbors at events such as the joint monthlies with Planetwork and the Technology and Politics "barcamp" we sponsored during our annual meetings this month in San Francisco.

We decided that the size of our Board should be reduced so that we would spend less money on travel expenses for our annual board meeting, and members approved the change to our bylaws in our June election.

We decided that the Board could work more efficiently with our primary staffer by streamlining its management role -- redefining our primary staff position to emphasize communication with members, organizations, and the public (rather than with the board itself), and encouraging staff to take on a more programmatic role in building the organization.

And we decided that the role of the Board should be advisory rather than administrative, recognizing that a rotating membership of volunteers who are geographically dispersed is unlikely to function as a reliable and coherent management committee.  Instead, we want to empower CPSR members with vision and commitment to undertake new initiatives and campaigns, connecting with other members locally, nationally, and globally, and with our growing network of outside relationships in the world of technology activism.

Board members and our Communication Director are planning new projects in the next year, e.g. on open spectrum, documenting our history, technology for underserved communities, and internal database changes to make it easier for members to connect with each other locally.  And we will continue to help build coalitions in areas such as Internet governance,
privacy, and net neutrality.

But if CPSR is to thrive, it is up to you, our members, to get involved:

 * Put on an educational event where you live and invite CPSR members to participate.

 * Start a working group on an issue of emerging importance.

 * Draft a letter or petition to policymakers on an issue you know and care about, and propose it for endorsement by the board and by other organizations.

 * Build some socially responsible technology and promote it through CPSR.

Your voice will be amplified if you let us work with you.

If I haven't persuaded you to take on a CPSR project, or to join one, or even if I have, you can always send us some money.  Donations made through our website ( or postmarked by December 30 are tax deductible for 2006, and will help us to build on the legacy of CPSR in the coming year.

In July, we had to say a fond farewell to our old office in Palo Alto and to our longtime Managing Director, Susan Evoy.  As the year passes, I want especially to acknowledge Susan's many years of dedicated service to CPSR, and to remember the great accomplishments of CPSR's past.  Being at Stanford myself, I am keen to make sure that the Peninsula and South Bay presence of CPSR is maintained.  At the same time, the Board and I have been excited to say hello to our new neighbors in San Francisco and to welcome Dan Krimm to CPSR in the new position of Communication Director, as we embark on what Doug Schuler calls "CPSR 2.0".  We hope these changes serve our members and the public well. Please help us to make good on that



  * CO/PTO roundtable: WIPO broadcasting treaty, Jan. 3, 2007
    USPTO Atrium Conference Room, Washington, D.C.

Participants in this roundtable meeting should be prepared to identify and discuss the issues and problems associated with the Revised Draft Basic Proposal for the Treaty.  At the September 2006 WIPO General Assembly, the decision was taken to convene two special sessions of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to clarify the outstanding issues, the first one in January 2007.  The special sessions of the SCCR shall aim to reach agreement on, and finalize, a signal-based approach, the objectives, specific scope, and object of protection with a view to submitting to a possible November 2007 Diplomatic Conference a revised basic proposal that will amend the agreed relevant parts of the Revised Draft Basic Proposal (Document SCCR/15/2).  Members of the public are invited to attend the roundtable, but due to space limitations, attendance is limited to the first 40 respondents. Those wishing to participate in the discussion on the topics outlined in the Federal Register notice should submit requests to participate, preferably by email or fax.

 - Deadline for requests to participate:  5 pm, December 29, 2006

  * ICAC 2007 State of the Net Conference, Jan. 31, 2007
    Hyatt Regency, Washington, D.C.

The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee (ICAC) is presenting its 3rd annual State of the Net Conference at the end of January.  This conference is a premier stage-setting forum for the policy debates that will challenge the new session of Congress.  This full-day event will incorporate keynote addresses by prominent speakers and concurrent breakout sessions featuring experts on issues and covering various topics of concern.  Panel discussions will also be populated with government staff to allow attendees to hear directly from the policymakers themselves, along with those that influence policy direction.

The State of the Net will spotlight three different issue tracks that will be of particular importance during the 110th session of Congress, including privacy and security, intellectual property and innovation, and media convergence and the Telecom Act.  Other potential panel topics include patents and energy crisis in tech.

The 2007 Conference will culminate with the 10th Annual Internet Caucus Kickoff Reception & Technology Fair from 5 - 7 pm in the Hart Senate Office Building.

  * FTC workshop: Net Neutrality, Feb. 13-14, 2007
    FTC Conference Center, Washington, D.C.

In this workshop on "Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy" the FTC will bring together experts from business, government, and the technology sector, consumer advocates, and academics to explore competition and consumer protection issues relating to broadband Internet access, including so-called "network neutrality."  The workshop will explore issues raised by recent legal and regulatory determinations that providers of certain broadband Internet services, such as cable modem and DSL, are not subject to the FCC's common carrier regulations.  The workshop will also address the potential effects of network neutrality regulation on innovation and competition in the market for broadband access.

The event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration for this workshop is not necessary, but is encouraged.

 - Deadline for requesting to be a panelist: January 15, 2007
 - Deadline for filing a comment: February 28, 2007
 - Press release:

  * 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit, Feb. 21-23, 2007
    Oakland, California

The 2007 Nonprofit Software Development Summit, organized by Aspiration, will be a first-of-its-kind convening to bring together the range of developers, technologists, managers, eRiders, integrators, users and other practitioners who self-identify under the umbrella of "nonprofit software development".  The event will provide an opportunity both to gather as a community and to take stock of the field, while building connections and capacity.  Additional code sprints and collaborations may be scheduled in the days following the event.

The current session agenda falls into three major tracks:

 - Practices, Processes and Community will address concepts, themes and essential issues in the nonprofit software development realm.
 - Software Engineering Topics and Trends will dive deep on a host of technical and strategic issues relevant to nonprofit software developers.
 - Going Vertical: Application Focus Areas will explore specific "vertical" categories of nonprofit software.

These tracks are guaranteed to morph and evolve as participants weigh in and build out the agenda.

Event wiki:

  * PISTA 2007, July 12-15, 2007
    Sheraton World Resort, Orlando, Florida

The 5th International Conference on Politics and Information Systems, Technologies and  Applications (PISTA 2007) in the context of The International Multi-Conference on Society, Cybernetics and Informatics (IMSCI 2007) will take place in Orlando, Florida, USA, from July 12-15, 2007.

Invitation to Participate:  In order to accomplish the purpose of contributing to get an approach between ICT and Sociopolitical communities, ICT researchers are invited to present their research results.  Practitioners and consultants are invited to present case study papers and innovative solutions.  Corporations are invited to present political information systems and software based solutions.  Public servers are invited to present case studies, information systems developed for specific purpose, and innovative ideas and designs.  Political and social scientists are invited to present research or position papers on the impact and the future possibilities of ICT in Social systems and political processes.  Politicians and political consultants are invited to present problems that might be solved by means of ICT, or solutions that might be improved by different approaches and design in ICT.  All are invited to organize panel or invited sessions. Panel sessions with panelists coming from both: ICT researchers/practitioners and political consultants or politicians are highly encouraged.


  * About the CPSR Compiler:

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, email a sentence or two (and URL if available) to cpsr (at) -- please begin your subject header with "FOR COMPILER: " for reliable recognition.

  * About CPSR:

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 ensure 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.

  * Members:

When in doubt about how to get more out of your CPSR membership, refer to the Activists Handbook or email [ cpsr (at) cpsr (dot) org ] 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 email [ cpsr (at) cpsr (dot) org ] 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 2006.
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.

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Created by dkrimm
Last modified December 27, 2006 09:10 PM

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