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CPSR Newsletter Winter 1995


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by Marsha Woodburv
CPSR Board of Directors

CPSR News Volume 13, Number 1: Winter 1995


Will there be equal access to the Global Information Superhighway'? What can we do to lessen the gap between those who are "information-rich" and those who are 'information-poor?"

Questions like these concern people from New Zealand to Norway to Nigeria. An international conversation about these issues and much more began in earnest a few months ago when CPSR (Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility) started a listserv for that purpose, called CPSR- GLOBAL.

Initially, we envisioned a free-flowing exchange about a variety of issues, which we outlined as

  1. Decisions the USA will make on its national information infrastructure, or NII, that will affect the rest of the world, we want the NII to be a positive force for a global information infrastructure (Gil)
  2. Issues of national identity, "cultural pollution," and the promise of the GII for international communication and the GII
  3. New emerging GII world culture
  4. International issues of security and privacy and computer law
  5. International issues of computer development (keyboards, safety)
  6. Issues of design
  7. Issues of language
People are using the group to share news of their organizations and conferences, activities and visions, political viewpoints and cultural awareness. Common comments are that "it's a great resource" and "l felt so isolated before."

The enthusiasm (traffic) went crazy during the first week, swamping our server. As a result, the group is now moderated, and mailboxes are not overflowing. Al Whaley, who runs the server, deserves many thanks for all he's done to support this effort.

In the first weeks the group had a steep learning curve. We all have become more considerate of people who have very slow modems, outdated hardware, and financial constraints (having to pay for each byte downloaded).

The list membership is growing like the Net itself- we are up to almost 1000 members in less than a month. CPSR-GLOBAL uses English, because it's the lingua trance of the Net. Posts that are not "on topic" or inflammatory will be filtered out, and long posts will be sent back for summarizing. In order to help recipients sort their mail, CPSR-GLOBAL has its own logo, (@), in the subject line.

To join this discussion, write to

Anyone can join the conversation. We are also setting up a group mailer for cpsr affiliates and cpsr members who live outside the U.S.A.

The CPSR-GLOBAL World-Wide Web home page can be found at

CPSR, whose national office is in Palo Alto, California, has 22 chapters. You can learn more about CPSR at or by writing to with the email message HELP. CPSR began as a response to the Star Wars program, when members wrote reports and testified at hearings about the impossibility of providing a "fail-safe" network of nuclear missiles in outer space. Today CPSR is interested in all social issues related to the use of computers, from repetitive stress syndrome caused by keyboard use to the intrusion into privacy by government and business and others.

The 1,800 members of CPSR are keenly aware of the potential social benefits of computers, such as the ability to personalize the interface from a large impersonal society to the individual, but they also understand the potential risks inherent in the use of computers and computer technology by individuals, governments, and corporations.

The list owner and moderator, Marsha Woodbury, is a Director at Large for CPSR with a strong interest in international cooperation Her address is


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