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CPSR Newsletter Vol 18, No 2
Volume 18, Number 2 The CPSR Newsletter Spring 2000

A letter from the President by Coralee Whitcomb

Members and Friends of CPSR,

How appropriate that our Spring 2000 newsletter focus on Ethics and Computer Technology! This is the very premise our organization was founded on 19 years ago. It's take a while but having just weathered Y2K and with all eyes focused on the stock market, we finally have the public's attention.

The issue of privacy has finally arrived front and center on the national scene. CPSR was an early leader in identifying our loss of privacy at the hands of the computer way back in 1986 with the establishment of our Privacy and Civil Liberty Program, directed by Marc Rotenberg. This October we will be devoting our annual meeting in Philadelphia to the issue of privacy and challenging the presidential candidates to declare their plans for addressing this very personal and fundamental concern. And we will proudly award Marc our Norbert Wiener award for his outstanding contributions through CPSR and EPIC in keeping our privacy protected from the growing technological assault it faces.

Meanwhile, CPSR members are frantically working with the 4CITE coalition to defeat UCITA (Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act) at the state level. UCITA is a complicated change to the Uniform Commercial Code intended to standardize contract law with regard to "shrink-wrap" licenses. Most of industry as well as 26 attorney generals are in opposition yet, as of today, it has passed both Virginia and Maryland state assemblies.

Our DNS Working Group has been extremely active in the ongoing ICANN struggles. CPSR joined the Non-Commercial Domain Name Holder Constituency in an effort to install some public interest representation in an organization heavily tilted toward corporate self-interest. We have recently submitted comments on the development of new Top Level Domains. Elections for at-large board members will be held this fall and the working group is currently considering the best avenue for CPSR to take.

Our wonderful, insightful and prolific Andy Oram recently submitted comments to the Copyright Office on the issue of reverse engineering and he regularly writes articles on a wide range of topics for Web Review - citing CPSR as an affiliation.

This month (May 2000), the seventh biennial conference on Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing (DIAC) will take place in Seattle with the theme, Shaping the Network Society. The program is literally filled with stars from all over the world.

This November CPSR will hold its sixth biennial Participatory Design Conference in New York City, Designing Digital Environments--Bringing in more Voices. This event has become a highly respected tradition in the world of Participatory Design.

Internally, we have been busy as well. We are proud to introduce a new working group, Weapons and Peace, and announce revived interest in our Privacy Working group. Our web site is undergoing a re-design in both look and content. Having just completed this year's elections, a heartfelt welcome goes to our new board members, Dara O'Neil as the new Southern Regional Director and Gene Haldeman as Mid-Atlantic Director. Sush Gupta our new Director-at-Large is from Canada, the begins a new era of international representation on the board. Congratulations also goes to returning board members, Jean Camp, Harry Hochheiser, Steve Teicher. and Hans Klein. And, I'm happy to report that, due to your wonderful, ongoing support, we face the challenges of this year with our finances in order.

At last fall's DNS Conference, Governing the Commons, Ralph Nader asked me why a group like ours didn't have 20,000 members. The founders of CPSR were certainly on to something 19 years ago. As we head into our 20th year, CPSR is in a great position to become THE voice of the computer industry when it comes to the public interest. We've fought the good fight longer than anyone else. We have the talent and we're building the resources. Now, more than ever , we need you - as a member and an activist. If you haven't already joined the Activist List, please do - and help CPSR to become the Conscience of the Information Age.

Enjoy this wonderful newsletter!

Coralee Whitcomb

What's inside...

© Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
P.O. Box 717
Palo Alto, CA 94302-0717
Tel. (650) 322-3778
Fax (650) 322-3798

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