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CPSR: Wiener Award to Peter Neumann

Peter Neumann Receives
Norbert Wiener Award

September 16, 1997

Peter Neumann, a national authority on computer security and risk, will be given the prestigious Norbert Wiener Award for excellence in promoting socially responsible use of computing technology. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) annually honors an outstanding leader for personal dedication to increasing the public awareness of the social and political consequences of the uses of technology. Dr. Neumann will be honored October 4, 1997 at the CPSR Annual Conference in Berkeley, CA.

"Peter Neumann is a remarkable scholar and social activist", said CPSR president Aki Namioka. "His contributions to our knowledge about the risks and reliability of computing technology are widely published in scientific journals, but even more importantly he initiated the public dialogue through open discussion in one of the most widely read computer online USENET newsgroups, RISKS Forum (comp.risks)."

"Dr. Neumann is a pioneer in linking the risks in using technology to our most cherished rights to privacy and our need for a secure environment", stated Namioka. "CPSR is extremely proud to present the Norbert Wiener Award for 1997 to a truly important citizen, an activist and a distinguished scientist. He was one of the early members of CPSR and helped bring public awareness to the major flaws in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during the Reagan administration."

The Norbert Wiener Award was established in 1987 by CPSR in memory of the originator of the field of cybernetics. Norbert Wiener was among the first to examine the social and political consequences of computing technology. His book, The Human Use of Human Beings, pointed out the dangers of nuclear war and the role of scientists in weapons development in 1947, shortly after Hiroshima.

Dr. Neumann's research on the implications of computing gained wide recognition when he created the ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes in 1976 with considerable attention to risks issues, and then created the online Risks Forum in 1985. He was also co-author of the National Research Council (NRC) report, Computers at Risk, in 1990.

Dr. Neumann is the author of Computer-Related Risks, published in 1995 by The Association for Computing (ACM) and Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. Computer-Related Risks summarizes many real events involving computer technologies and the people who depend on those technologies, with widely ranging causes and effects. It considers problems attributable to hardware, software, people, and natural causes. More information about this book can be found at:

His expertise in the issues of privacy and cryptography are demonstrated in his role as an author of the seminal study, Cryptography's Role in Securing the Information Society for the NRC. He served on the Expert Panel of the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. He is a member of the U.S. General Accounting Office's newly formed Executive Council on Information Management and Technology.

Over five decades, Dr. Neumann, Principal Scientist at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, has been concerned with critical computer and communications systems issues such as security, reliability and human safety. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard and was a Fulbright scholar at the Technicsche Hochschule, Darmstadt, Germany. He has worked in the computer field since 1953. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was the recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award in 1996 and the ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

More information and access to many of his writings may be obtained at his webpage,

CPSR was founded in 1981 by computer professionals in the Silicon Valley concerned about the use of computers in nuclear weapons systems. CPSR has grown into a national public interest alliance of computer scientists, information technology professionals, and others concerned about the critical choices facing society in the applications of computer related technology. CPSR has 22 Chapters throughout the United States and is based in Palo Alto, CA.

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This page last updated on Tuesday, September 16, 1997 by Chris Mays.

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