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Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Presents:

Getting the Technology You Deserve:
Community Participation in Regional Cable Franchise Policy

CPSR Annual Meeting

Norbert Wiener Award Dinner for Mitch Kapor

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Daybreak Star Cultural Center, Discovery Park
Seattle, Washington, USA

secure online registration form

Getting the Technology You Deserve:
Community Participation in Regional Cable Franchise Policy

8:30 am - 6 pm

Why should you care about cable franchise policy or broadband telephone linesharing? Because these obscure-sounding topics will probably determine the future of internet access.

- The FCC seems to think that the only competition we need in the Internet access market is one big cable company versus one big phone company. A series of recent FCC decisions have already squeezed out most of the small ISPs, and the few remaining in the game are fighting for their lives.

- While public policy at a state and local level encourages telecommuting, cable companies are moving toward a pricing structure that penalizes the corporate Virtual Private Networks that make telecommuting possible.

- While smaller ISPs often encourage the piggybacking of free local wireless networks onto their services, cable companies and telcos (telephone companies) typically ban any such resale or sharing of bandwidth.

Within a few years, nearly all Internet access in the US will probably be high speed access. A cable company / telco duopoly of this service will almost certainly mean:

- Higher costs of access
- Reduction in choice of types of services
- Near-elimination of opportunities for small business in the infrastructural side of the Internet.

It could also mean restrictions on content: John Gilmore's dictum that "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it" will not hold if all content moves through a tiny number of cable company and telco chokepoints.

The only way this will be prevented is informed citizen action.

This conference will focus on teaching you how to take back the media, in your own community:

Join us for a day of policy, practice and ACTION for community broadband access in Seattle and King County. Experience the "real thing" with the Seattle case study and the CPSR 2003 Annual Conference.

- Communities can, and have, built their own broadband networks for internet, data, television, telephony and much more. All around Seattle, communities are doing this today.

- Seattle and King County are in the midst of their franchise renewal periods. Citizen action can influence our elected representatives to make sure these franchises meet our community needs, not the needs of the cable companies.

- Our cable franchises can be an engine for economic growth, but only if citizen action creates a community-based technology plan and a franchise based on open access and community needs.

We will engage you and inspire you with a series of interactive discussions and presentations from the top practitioners in the field.

  • National, International and local experts framing the policy issues - why is community broadband access important and what are the ways to get it.
  • Activists share how broadband access impacts social change, cultural diversity, and supports community goals
  • Native and Rural community leaders telling how it can be done even in "impossible" situations.
  • Building a coalition for change in Seattle and King County. Join our 'hearing' as we ask our elected leaders: why not the best from our local cable franchises?
  • YOU participate in a mock public hearing on our technology future
  • YOU walk away with ideas and tools to improve your cable franchises and get the technology infrastructure you need in YOUR community.
  • Get involved in helping to plan our future, and make it happen

If you will live in the FUTURE, then attend this Conference!

Tentative Conference Schedule, Program, and Speakers

Be part of the solution!

Conference Sponsorship
Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust

secure online registration form

All registrations for the conference include coffee, lunch, beverages, and snacks.

Pre-conference discussions of broadband issues will take place via CPSR's Broadband discussion list and/or the CPSR-AM2003 discussion list. Participation on the Broadband discussion list is only for CPSR members. CPSR-AM2003 is available to the public.

CPSR's Annual Meeting - - Free and open to the public.

6:00-7:00 pm

Members and the public are invited to learn more about Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.


Members are also invited to an earlier free discussion session

Globalization and CPSR:
Changing Issues, Changing Organization

Organized by: William J. Drake

6 - 9 pm, FRIDAY October 24, 2003
The Watertown Hotel
4242 Roosevelt Way, NE

Please use the secure online registration form, to let us know if we should expect you to attend either or both of these free events.

Norbert Wiener Award Dinner for Mitch Kapor, internet pioneer and philanthropist, Founder of Lotus Corporation, and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation - Defending Freedom in the Digital World

7:00-9:00 pm

"Mitch has long been a role model for anyone seeking to succeed in the cut-throat world of high tech business without sacrificing integrity and conscience. There are too few people who even attempt to combine these two kinds of contribution, and even fewer who succeed. Mitch Kapor is the best role model I know of for bright young engineers and scientists seeking to make a positive difference in the world." - Nathaniel Borenstein, CPSR President.

Mitch Kapor's work

Learn more about the Norbert Wiener Award

Dinner registration is available for those not attending the conference.
secure online registration form

NOTE: Space and food will be limited. After Monday, October 20th, registrations will only be accepted on-site at the conference. We highly recommend registering by October 20th to avoid possible disappointment.

logistical information


Metro Trip Planning at . You will be able to select times and get trip info.

Map from Daybreak Star Center

If you would like to be added as a sponsor, volunteer, or otherwise help with the events, send a message to Mike Weisman at

CPSR is an international public-interest alliance of computer scientists and others interested in the impact of information technology on society. CPSR attempts to direct public attention to difficult choices concerning the applications of computing and how those choices affect society. CPSR was founded in 1981 by computer professionals in the Silicon Valley concerned about the use of computers in nuclear weapons systems. CPSR has working groups and chapters throughout the world.

Archived CPSR Information
Created before October 2004

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?

CPSR seems to be the more important association for me - certainly it concentrates more on the issues that matter to me than the mainstream professional bodies