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Friday Program for CPSR 2001 Annual Conference

Friday Program for CPSR Annual Meeting:
Nurturing the Cybercommons, 1981-2021

October 19-21, 2001
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Friday, October 19

2:00-3:30 Information Ethics in the Aftermath of 9/11 (West Hall 311)
Moderator: Coralee Whitcomb
Abdul Alkalimat, University of Toledo
Nathaniel Borenstein, University of Michigan
Jean Camp, Harvard University
Peter Hope-Tindall, dataPrivacy Partners

The unspeakable evils of September 11 have triggered a realignment of our our national politics and priorities. For information and computer professionals, they have also intensified, renewed, and fundamentally altered the terms of debate over some of the most important issues of the information age. Our specialized expertise is urgently required to help answer questions of critical national and international importance. For example:

  • What technologies, if any, can actually help prevent terrorism, and which are likely to prove expensive mistakes? (Examples: biometrics, national ID cards)
  • Are there any policies that could effectively control potentially dangerous informaton and information technologies? (Examples: encryption, bomb-making instructions)
  • Is there really a tradeoff between privacy and security? Or is privacy simply a costly illusion whose time has past?

In the wake of the recent terrorist acts, CPSR is seeking to restructure its program activity for the coming year to focus on the issues most relevant to an age of terrorism. In this open meeting, CPSR members and other interested parties will have an opportunity to discuss how we can best work towards a world in which terrorism is only a grim memory, but broad civil liberties are a universal reality.

4:00-5:00 What is an Information Commons and Why Should We Care? (Dennison 170)
Howard Besser
The heart of our society lies in a collective Commons. This Commons provides us with a shared literary heritage that facilitates learning and culture, and with spaces for public discourse where we can (hopefully) learn from one another. As our society has begun to migrate to a digital world, our Commons has done so as well. But recent legal and technical developments threaten to destroy our informational Commons. Special interest groups trying to promote changes in the realms of intellectual property, free speech and privacy are likely to marginalize or even eliminate our collective Commons.

In this talk, Howard Besser will explain why an information commons is critical to us as social beings. After tracing some history of the Commons, he will focus on recent attempts to fence off sections of our information commons, and will show that changes to copyright, free speech, and privacy threaten our very social fabric.

5:30-8:00 IT Zone Social
Conference attendees, join us at the IT Zone (330 E. Liberty St) for a little socializing before you head out for dinner. This is a good opportunity for CPSR members to meet, mingle with some of the Ann Arbor community and gather for the evening's meal and entertainment.

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