The CPSR Newsletter
Volume 9, No. 3 COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Summer 1991
CPSR/Boston Hosts 1991 Annual Meeting at MIT
On October 12 and 13, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility held its Annual Meeting for
1991 at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With eighty people at the Saturday sessions, attendance at
the meeting was comparable to the attendance at the last Boston-area meeting four years ago.
The first event of the weekend was a reception Friday night at the MIT Faculty Club to celebrate the
tenth anniversary of CPSR. Approximately sixty people attended the reception, which featured two
principal speakers. The first was Harvey Silverglate, chief legal counsel for the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. Harvey warned the audience about the growing tendency for government to exercise control
over the professions, citing examples affecting lawyers, doctors, the clergy, and the press. Within the
last few years, government has begun to notice that computers, particularly as they are used to
facilitate widespread network communication, represent a new area in which professionals can
exercise their freedom, and this is likely to become a central battleground for new government efforts
The second speaker was former CPSR President Terry Winograd, who began by noting the growing
interest over the last decade in issues of social responsibility within the computing profession. As an
example of this increased interest, he described the National Conference on Computing and Values,
which was held this August in New Haven, Connecticut. In his keynote address at that conference,
Winograd offered three metaphors for ethical decision-making: the angel-devil model, which holds that
ethical decisions are made by resolving the internal debate between one's conscience and one's
temptations; the ethical computer model, in which ethics is seen as an algorithmic process of weighing
moral benefits and costs; and a much more organic, interactive model, which Winograd likened to a
team of jugglers. To him, the juggling metaphor seemed most appropriate to understanding ethics in the
context of society, since it emphasizes that fact that the system is dynamic and depends for its success
on the cooperation and shared understanding of the group.
As has been true in previous years, the Annual Meeting was divided into a `'program day" on Saturday
and a "members day", on Sunday, at which we could collectively address organizational issues of
concern to members of CPSR.
John Shattuck Addresses Government Information Policy
The Saturday program began with a presentation on "The Past, Present, and Future of Government
Policy in the Information Age" delivered by John Shattuck, Vice President for Government, Community,
and Public Affairs at Harvard University and a member of the CPSR National Advisory Board. Shattuck
offered a historical overview of legal trends concentrating on two general areas of CPSR concern:
privacy and access to information.
Privacy has three components, said Shattuck: (1) individualism; (2) self government; and (3) private
property. Privacy is embodied in the Bill of Rights in the first [freedom of speech], third [no
quartering of troops], fourth [private property], and fifth [liberty to withhold information]
There are many kinds of privacy today, argued Shattuck, but the Bill of Rights is not always uniformly
applied. There is a privacy of place. The body and the home are protected but not streets or cars. There
is supposed to be privacy of information. Databases are supposed to be protected, but private
information is often abused. There is privacy regarding decisions. Abortion and birth control are
currently protected, but not sexual preference. And there is a privacy concern related to groups. The
Constitution provides for freedom of association and freedom of expression within groups.
Some see privacy as a collection of rights, others as a single coherent concept, said Shattuck. Adherents
of the latter focus on the right to be left aloneÑto withdrawÑ and are inward-looking. This view of
privacy is less likely to relate to technology. Adherents of the former view privacy as a communicative
right and tend to be outward-looking. Shattuck suggested that the mission of CPSR could be to bring
understanding to national leaders and the public about the communications revolution and suggestions
about how to update laws to ensure the protection of privacy rights.
Open government has long been taken for granted in the United States, Shattuck went on. However, the
government has been using "national security" as a pretext for restricting communication over the past
forty years. The rationale for restrictions is embodied in the `'mosaic theory'' of technical information,
which states that certain forms of technological information, though harmless in isolation, are
dangerous because they can be pieced together into a dangerous aggregate. For example, the design for a
hydrogen bomb published in The Progressive magazine was assembled from publicly accessible
information. Although some categories of information do perhaps need to be restricted, the current
policy goes far beyond what is necessary, said Shattuck. The results of the government's restrictions on
information include curtailment of conferences, limitation of collaboration between American and
foreign scientists, a continually expanding classification system, and the potential for stagnation in the
American scientific and technical communities.
A member of the audience asked what to do about "rogue" governments, such as that of Iraq. Shattuck
agreed that some categories of information may need to be restricted, but he maintained that the current
policy is excessive. Another member of the audience questioned whether the Freedom of Information Act
should apply to personal information. Shattuck drew a distinction between government/social
information and personal information. There needs to be openness of governmentÑ"accountability goes
with visibility," he saidÑbut the individual should have control over personal information. Shattuck
summed up by saying that he believes the extension of privacy rights will take place in legislatures and
not in the courts.
Judith Perrolle on Electronic Communication
Shattuck's talk was followed by a provocative presentation by Judith Perrolle, Associate Professor of
Sociology at Northeastern University, on "The Personal and the Political in Electronic Communication."
Perrolle began by examining more critically the vision of the world of network communication as an
"electronic frontier" marked by the rugged individualism associated with the opening of the West in the
last century. As was perhaps especially appropriate on Columbus Day weekend, Perrolle reminded the
audience that the original occupants of that frontier were not so fortunate, and that, for them, the
history of the frontier days was characterized by increasing government regulation, the closing of the
open preserve, and broken treaties. She argued that the pioneers of the "electronic frontier" are likely
to follow more of that history, and she conjured up a vision of the once free travelers within the open
networks of today consigned to small electronic ``reservations" under the control of the Bureau of
Information Affairs or overwhelmed by giant corporations pursuing monopolistic control of network
Perrolle commented that politics can be defined as the ways people make decisions that are binding on
the group. It is not usually a rational process of getting information, evaluating it logically, and then
making a decision. People have their own agendas, she said, such as getting attention. There is also
emotional information that is typically conveyed, necessary for building solidarity and a feeling of
belonging. Electronic communication will not convey raised eyebrows or other physical attributes, so
the sense of belonging to a group convened electronically may be weak. On the other hand, Perrolle said,
democracy is also participation, so perhaps taking away emotional information in electronic
communication will make it harder to discriminate, because, for example, the race and sex of the
participants will typically be unknown.
The way people get involved in electronic communication may be a function of the structural
organization of the workplace. Depending on the managers, participation may be equal or hierarchical.
There is a common concern that participants in electronic communication will get "out of control." It
was Perrolle's observation that if left alone, participants will form their own social structures. There
have been many times in the past when technical innovations in communication have caused concerns
about the impact on society. Plato thought that writing would be dangerous. The Church objected to the
printing press because people could read and make their own interpretations of the Bible. Parents and
educators have had concerns about television. What economic, political and military forces will drive
electronic communication? Perrolle was not optimistic about the eventual social impact of electronic
communication. For example, she believes that the primary goal of television is to convey advertising.
All other programming is influenced by that goal. She reemphasized the point that to project a social
result of a technical innovation, one has to examine the interests that the technology serves. She said
that at the moment, electronic communication is not headed in the direction of serving the public, but
instead of large institutional forces such as corporations, advertisers, government, and the military.
In the question period, Perrolle opened up an interesting controversy by describing her vision of how
information and privacy might best be managed in a utopian world. Drawing on the model of the small-
town community, Perrolle suggested that the ideal world might be characterized as one in which people
had access to information about others but collectivelyÑessentially as part of the social contractÑ
agreed not to abuse that knowledge to the detriment of the individual. This suggestion led to a lively
debate in which many people took issue with the proposed vision itself, even setting aside the question
of whether the idea had any practical reality.
Controversial Talk on Education by Herb Gintis
In each of the past several Annual Meetings, CPSR has tried to include a presentation that addresses
issues of general social concern to CPSR but reflects a completely different perspective on the issue.
This year, an invitation was extended to Herb Gintis, Professor of Economics at the University of
Massachusetts, Amherst, to address the issue of "Educational Equity and the International Economy in
the Information Age" from the viewpoint of economics. Gintis identified several areas within the
educational system in which radical change was required, calling for, among other things, increased
educational equity and greater funding of education at the federal level.
Countries that do well have a competitive market economy but also government regulation and financial
support for building infrastructure and skills, said Gintis. Scandinavian countries have strong
governments and strong unions. The Pacific Rim countries are more conservative but have a strong
commitment to health and education. Without reform in the workplace there is little hope of reform in
the school system, he said. "Schools are places that teach students to take orders," in part, because that
is how the workplace operates.
Gintis proposed: (1) moving from local/state financing of education to federal financing; and (2)
allowing for competition in education by instituting a voucher system and requiring schools to compete
for students. He believes that a competitive market will increase choices and increase innovation in
education. Gintis said there is the potential for both small-scale local initiatives and huge corporate
franchise (e.g., McDonald's schools). In Gintis' proposed system, the delivery of services would be
local, but the federal government would regulate the industry to set uniform national standards, like a
national health care system.
This was certainly the most controversial talk of the day. Some members of the audience took issue with
Gintis' proposal, claiming that it sounded in many ways like some currently controversial voucher
proposals, and could promote inequality among students. Gintis defended his argument, claiming that it
was different, and that "many right-wing plots have been changed into innovative programs in the
past." By allowing federal funding but local delivery of education, Gintis said that there would a
potential synergy instead of the traditional dialectics between self-interest and altruism, and between
market forces and state control.
Saturday's sessions ended with a series of short presentations on public interest programs involving
¥ An overview of CPSR's programs and operations, presented by CPSR President Eric Roberts.
¥ Mass OnLine, a project of the Boston Computer Society designed to enhance public access to computing
networks, presented by Tracy Licklider, president of the Boston Computer Society.
¥ Community Bytes, a project of the MIT Community Fellows Program to integrate computer
instruction into the Boston Public Schools, presented by Laxmi Ramasubramanian, a Research Associate
with the Community Fellows Program.
¥ The Electronic Frontier Foundation, presented by Craig Neidorf and Danny Weitzner of the EFF
¥ The CPSR Computing and Civil Liberties Project, presented by Marc Rotenberg, Director of the CPSR
CPSR President Eric Roberts Describes Organization's Status On Sunday, the "members day" program
began with a "state of the organization" report from CPSR President Eric Roberts. The good news is that
CPSR has just completed its first decadeÑa decade in which the organization managed to accomplish
quite a bit for a group as small as CPSR. The bad news is that the combined pressures of a recession,
changes in the geopolitical landscape that affect certain historical interests for CPSR, and the fact that
the organization is no longer able to attract "startup" funding have left CPSR in a difficult financial
situation. Roberts explained that CPSR is responding to those problems, but the actions taken have at
times been painful. The organizational budget has been cut and the size of the staff reduced, with further
cuts likely in the future. In the next few years, it is probable that CPSR will continue to fight difficult
economic times, and it will become increasingly important to shift the work of the organization toward
the grassroots level: to the volunteer leadership, to the chapters, and to the members themselves.
This report was followed by a general membership meeting at which several important themes were
stressed. The first of these was that more effective outreach has to become a goal of CPSR. The
membership stands now at 2,163, which is down considerably from the 3,100 members CPSR had in
1988. The group consensus seemed strongly to favor broadening the constituency of CPSR to include a
broader spectrum of people involved with computers. To reach that expanded constituency, we need
more materials that address the concerns of specific audiences and a more focused outreach campaign.
Another common theme was that CPSR needs to articulate a stronger and more concise vision of its
program and its goals.
To focus attention on these topics, the meeting divided into four small groups to consider the topics of
outreach and program focus in more detail. These groups then reconvened to share the results of their
discussion. The following is a list of the major points that came up in the meeting:
Provide more materials
¥ Expedite sharing and distribution of those materials
¥ Exploit e-mail communication
¥ Provide information on how to make contacts and follow-up
Convey to members their own importance in outreach
¥ Assign greater responsibility to chapters
¥ Make outreach a priority
¥ Build on coalitions with other groups
¥ Try to determine why people don't join CPSR
¥ Provide replicable models of outreach (e.g., student-member drive)
¥ Encourage people to be ambassadors for CPSR
¥ Articulate clearer visions for CPSR
¥ Build better connections with trade magazines and columnists
¥ Emphasize pro-active work
Concentrate on our visions for the organization
¥ Tension: restrict our focus vs. need for openness
¥ Tension: more concrete actions vs. better high-level expression
Suggested focus areas
¥ Technologies of control/technologies of democracy
¥ National networks
¥ Computers and social change
¥ Intellectual property rights
The meeting ended with small group sessions on the major program areas within CPSR: Civil Liberties
and Privacy, Computers in the Workplace, the 21st Century Project, Computers and Networks, and
Computers and Social Change.
According to the informal reports that came back from those who attended the meeting, this year's
Annual Meeting was both interesting and productive. The scheduling was deliberately kept less intensive
this year to allow more time for participation by the members, and this change seemed to work out
well. The small groups in the Sunday schedule also provided greater opportunities for individual
participation and were well received by those who participated.
The success of the events were due to the efforts of many people, both inside and outside of CPSR. In
particular, CPSR Cambridge Office Director Gary Chapman and Director of Development Barbara
Thomas deserve considerable thanks for organizing the Saturday program and the Friday night
reception, respectively. Thanks are also due to all of the speakers, to the volunteers who helped staff
the various events, and to the cosponsoring organizations, the Boston Computer Society and the MIT
Community Fellows Program.
This report was prepared by Benjamin Pierce and Pod Nord of CPSR/Pittsburgh, and CPSR President
Eric Roberts in Palo Alto.
Rockefeller Foundation Awards $100,000 to The 21st Century Project
In a major breakthrough in foundation support for CPSR work, The 21st Century Project has been
awarded a one-year grant of $100,000 by the Rockefeller Foundation in New York. The grant was
announced on November 5th, and will start in December. News of the award was featured in Information
Week and Computer World magazines.
The 21st Century Project is the product of over a year's worth of preparation, principally by former
CPSR executive director Gary Chapman, now coordinator of the Project and CPSR members Joel Yudken
of Rutgers University, Lenny Siegel of CPSR/Palo Alto, and other members of the Project's steering
committee. Preparation of the Project has been supported by $50,000 in seed funding from three
foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation. The recent award will allow the Project to start up
its projected program, beginning with the development of publications about the purpose and direction
of The 21st Century Project. Further fundraising will continue, as the Project has a first-year budget
of about $340,000.
The 21st Century Project will be a national campaign to redirect U.S. government technology policy
toward peaceful, productive, and environmentally sound goals. Details of the Project were covered in
the last issue of The CPSR Newsletter. The Project will have three phases of work. The first phase, to
commence as soon as the Rockefeller Foundation grant is received, will be to develop publications about
the Project and its purpose for distribution throughout CPSR, among sympathetic organizations, and to
interested citizens and the press. The second phase will convene four national working groups that are
meant to help build a new national agenda for research and development funding. The four groups will
address Democratic Management of Technology Policy; Sustainable Development; The Quality of Work in
the Information Age; and Computers and Communication Infrastructure. The four working groups will
spend a year contributing to an R&D program with these issues as examples of new priorities, and each
group will issue a report with recommendations. In addition, during this phase the Project will attempt
to promote and help coordinate grassroots activities designed to support the working groups, activities
that will help provide democratic input into the development of a new technology policy. The Project is
dedicated to grassroots activity informing its research program, so members of CPSR with innovative
ideas for incorporating local efforts into the Project should contact Gary Chapman at the CPSR
Finally, the third phase of the Project, to last six months, will be an intense public outreach campaign,
directed at the news media, major opinion leaders, editorial boards, magazine writers, and other public
Progress on the Project will be reported in The CPSR Newsletter as well as through electronic media
channels. For more information, write Gary Chapman, Coordinator, The 21st Century Project, CPSR,
19 Garden Street Cambridge, MA 02138. The telephone number is (617) 497-7440, and Chapman
can be reached by electronic mail on the Internet at the address chapman@saffron.Ics.mit.edu.
Guest Editor: Doug Schuler, Northwest Regional Representative, email@example.com
Revolving Editorial Board: Paul Hyland, Jeff Johnson, Ivan Milman, and Doug Schuler.
Welcome to Inside CPSR! Inside CPSR is a new regular column that is designed to promote grassroots
efforts and communication. Programmatically the chapters have often been the source of many ideas
that ultimately became CPSR programs. The local chapters are also important in terms of building
membership in CPSR. If you are interested in learning more about any of the activities described below
contact the individuals listed, the chapter contacts, the national office in Palo Alto, the regional
representatives, or any of the revolving editorial board.
New CPSR SecretaryÑAt the October meeting of the CPSR Board of Directors, Todd Newman (CPSR/Palo
Alto) was appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Steve Adams. Steve had been elected in
June of 1990 as Secretary by the CPSR membership for a three-year term, but found that his
responsibilities in graduate school did not permit him to continue to fulfill his duties. Todd responded to
an e-mail call for volunteers (in fact, he responded within minutes of that call) and, at the October
Board meeting, was appointed to serve the remainder of Steve's term. Todd is a software developer at
Silicon Graphics, Inc. He is a life member of CPSR, a member of the CPSR/Palo Alto steering
committee, and has been active in the Palo Alto Civil Liberties working group.
Increasing CPSR's Effectiveness ÑWith CPSR's current belt-tightening, the Board is developing new
approaches to increase our effectiveness. One new approach is the development of a "National Working
Group" which is midway between a chapter working group and a national program. This idea is explored
in more detail in a document entitled "How Do New Programs Emerge?" Some possible topics include the
environment, the arts, The 21st Century Project, ethics, economics, community networks, and
education. The Board is also striving to make the Board committees into more effective working
committees. We have recently begun to reexamine the roles of each committee with an eye towards the
development of long-term responsibilities. Also, non-Board member activists are joining various
committees to help work with national projects and goals. We are also working to re-establish good
chapter communication. For example, Lesley Kalmin, the Western regional representative, has
volunteered to begin putting together "chapter packets" to send out monthly to all the chapters. These
packets will contain current news about the organization and any relevant news clippings.
Calling Number ID ActivityÑSeveral CPSR members around the U.S. have been participating in state
public utility hearings on whether proposals by telephone companies to offer a Calling Number
Identification (CNID) service should be approved. The states in which CPSR members have participated
include California, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and there has been CPSR activity in the
District of Columbia as well.
The basic position taken by CPSR members has been that enthusiasm for CNID taps a legitimate desire
for more effective methods of controlling intrusions caused by phone calls. Unfortunately, CNID is not
well suited to this task, and diminishes citizens' control over the disclosure of personal information.
Alternative services are feasible that would be more useful to residential call recipients than is CNID,
and that allow citizens to retain control over disclosure of personal information. If CNID is offered, free
per-line blocking should be the default. Phone companies and their regulators should cooperate to
design a package of reasonably-priced services to curb harassing calls.
Victor Paschkis, Originator of Professional Societies for Social ResponsibilityÑVictor Paschkis, an
engineer who spent much of his life prodding scientists to examine the social consequences of their
work, died June 23rd in Frederick, PA. He was 93 years old. Dr. Paschkis, a Quaker and pacifist,
founded the Society for Social Responsibility (SSR) in Science in 1948.
Dr. Paschkis was born in Vienna and earned degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering there at
the Institute of Technology, then moved to Germany. He left Germany in about 1933, shortly after
hearing a speech by Adolf Hitler. Later, Dr. Paschkis turned down an offer to work on the Manhattan
Project, which developed the atomic bomb. At Columbia University, he refused to build an analog
computer to do research into the mechanics of heat transferÑhis specialtyÑuntil the school agreed not
to use the computer for military applications. Some of his work was later used in the NASA
SSR was created during a 1948 meeting at Haverford College. By the time it was formed, seven Nobel
Prize-winners, including Linus Pauling and Albert Einstein, were members. Although SSR no longer
exists, the idea of professionals taking personal responsibility for the way they use their skills lives
on in similar societies, many of which have a direct link with Dr. Paschkis' group. Although CPSR's
founders did not know Dr. Paschkis, he certainly helped create precedents that led to CPSR.
[Summarized from an obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 23, 1991]
Activities in the chapters are creative, intellectually stimulating, socially important, and wide-
ranging. In addition there is evidence of a wide variety of organizational approaches. On the other hand
we realize that we need to strengthen the chapters and the communication between them, and throughout
the national organization. Some chapters are somnambulant if not moribund. In some chapters the
original organizers have moved on. In others the members were unable to focus on shared interest
areas. In still others, members are content to support the work being done at the national level.
If you're a member of a chapter that hasn't met in a while you might want to consider activities like
those mentioned below. Contact people who are involved, your chapter contacts, the regional
representative, or the national office for more information. You also might want to schedule a winter
holiday potluck or other get-together as one way to begin regrouping for spring.
CPSR/Acadiana is looking into providing direct service on computerization for local nonprofit
organizations. The organizations they are most interested in assisting are those that work on
institutional change and address the needs of minority groups and other disempowered people.
Their goal is to set up an independent nonprofit organization that can employ several people. They have
received a grant of $1,000 from the Campaign for Human Development of the Diocese of Lafayette in
Louisiana. They plan on applying for incorporation soon. The tentative name for this organization is The
21st Century Institute, because they expect to maintain a close connection with CPSR's 21st Century
Project, whose purpose is to help the nation redefine national policy for research and development in
science and technology, to give more attention to social and environmental needs.
They are setting up a community-wide program for local professionals in which they'll demonstrate
interesting and innovative computer technology. One possible application would be developing video
animation on an Amiga computer for TV broadcasting. They are starting to aggressively develop this
process, and hope to involve many more business and professional people.
They continue to meet at noon on the first Wednesday of each month. The upcoming meetings will focus
on their current project.
The Berkeley chapter has formed a new working group around Gulf War issues, the Peace and Justice
Working Group, which is now discussing new areas in which to continue its work. The Electronic
Freedom and Privacy Group is a joint effort with the Berkeley Macintosh Users Group (BMUG),
organized by Judi Clark. They also set up CPSR's public conference on the Well, an electronic
communication service. In addition, the Berkeley chapter intends to help with planning for the 1992
Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing (DIAC) conference. Patti Schank and Judy Stern will
be the co-chairs for the conference. The Peace and Justice working group of the Berkeley chapter is
planning to do a workshop at DIAC-92 on a "technology platform" that would frame a progressive,
popular technology program that could be presented to candidates and used in public discussions around
the 1992 electoral campaigns.
The past eight months have seen quite a flurry of activity in the Boston area. Starting with the move by
Gary Chapman to the East coast, a working group on The 21st Century Project has begun with a series
of informational get-togethers that will ultimately produce a solid core of support for setting the
Project into motion. The chapter has started a working group on technology policy, and in November
sponsored an evening of talks by Professor Lewis Branscomb of Harvard and Professor Kosta Tsipis of
MIT, both of them speaking on "dual use" policy. In January the working group will host a talk by
Robert Kuttner, nationally syndicated columnist and economics editor of The New Republic.
On the legislative scene, the chapter has been involved in the support of the first ever legislative bill
regulating the use of electronic monitoring in the workplace. Members have presented testimony to the
legislature, pounded the pavement to the representatives' offices and participated in a phone network of
legislative alert. They have also presented testimony to the Department of Public Utilities on the Caller
ID service which happily resulted in a decision to offer per-line blocking to all customers.
This year Cambridge was the site of the Annual Meeting which was attended by members from all across
the country. It was a beautiful fall weekend and the weather cooperated to make the meeting both
pleasant and productive.
As a chapter they are taking a new approach to the membership. They have dispensed with attempts to
have monthly meetings and have cut back the newsletter production to quarterly. In June they had a
well attended meeting to discuss various projects, both current and proposed. An electronic mailing list
including about half the area members has been established. It has proven to be successful in giving
many people an increased voice in chapter activity.
In August, CPSR/LA had a potluck dinner and planning meeting, with CPSR President Eric Roberts as
guest. In September, along with local ACM and IEEE groups, CPSR/LA co-sponsored a panel on voicemail
security. in October, they heard about Soviet computer networks and their use during the August coup.
In coming months, they hope to have show excerpts from the videotapes of CPSR's Computers, Freedom,
and Privacy conference, and hear presentations by Jan Zimmerman, author of Once Upon the Future: A
Woman's Guide to Tomorrow's Technology, The Technological Woman: Interfacing with Tomorrow and
co- founder of a woman-owned software company working in voice recognition. Future events include
Paul Eggert speaking about the League for Programming Freedom; a talk by Michael Schrage, author of
Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration and a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, and a
speaker on California's "drive-by-wire" research.
In September the chapter had a meeting on privacy with State Representative Marlin Schneider, Eve
Galanter of Senator Herb Kohl's office, and Tad Pinkerton from the University of Wisconsin. The focus
was on legislative action; Schneider has just pushed through an appropriations bill creating a `'privacy
advocate" position. Jo Ann Oravec of CPSR was on the special committee that wrote the bill.
In October the chapter sponsored two talks on algorithm patents and intellectual property rights. The
first was given by a Madison patent attorney, the second by Richard Stallman of the League for
Programming Freedom. They're still trying to decide who to believe!
Chapter member Sam Bates recently got a rather interesting request from a friend that has started a
group called the Campaign for Progressive Toys and Games. He is looking for games that do not glorify
war or violence or acquisitiveness. He wants to know about computer or video games that: involve
cooperation or conflict resolution; have community or international elements; have environmental
themes; or are in accord with "progressive principles of peace and justice;" this includes games that
recognize the contributions to society by minorities and women, games that explore other cultures, and
so on. Sam has agreed to collect information on this as he becomes aware of it.
The New York chapter has continued to work on the MEMBERS Project, a software package for nonprofit
organizations for use in managing membership information. The software code is 100% complete, the
documentation 80% completed, and the application is currently used by several organizations.
The chapter held two general meetings about the Gulf War. "CPSR and the Gulf War" was a discussion
about CPSR's controversial decision to refrain from taking a position on the war. A second meeting,
"Rethinking High-Tech Weapons: Lessons Learned from the Gulf War," was a discussion about what
CPSR members can say about the use of high-tech weapons in the warÑhow successful were those
weapons and what are the effects of the war in terms of the direction of technological priorities?
Bernard Greening has assembled a high-tech weapons clipping file that can be used as a resource in this
field. As a result of this meeting the chapter is forming a working group which will begin meeting in
The November chapter meeting will be "Computing Technologies for the Disabled: Pitfalls and
Opportunities" which will feature a trip to the Special Technology Center in Mountain View.
Jeff Johnson is planning a Benefit Holiday Concert and Party for December 14 featuring Richard Royall
"Duck", Baker, a multi-style acoustic guitarist.
Palo Alto Computers in the Workplace Group
The Computers in the Workplace Group has changed its focus to computer monitoring. They are
beginning by contacting other groups, including trade unions and research centers for workplace
issues, to find out what has been done to date and who may want to share in future projects.
Digital Equipment Corporation's Community Relations Committee recently awarded $541.00 to the
CPSR/Palo Alto Workplace Project. The objective of the DEC Community Relations Committee of Palo
Alto/Mountain view/Cupertino is to enhance the health and well-being of the Northern California
community through the support of a variety of nonprofit, educational, cultural, and civic organizations.
DEC employees Lesley Kalmin and Todd Newman submitted a proposal to fund the Workplace Project's
newsletter, working papers, and other informational materials. We encourage all members to think
about similar opportunities (e.g., community grant programs, matching gift programs) at their own
companies. Thanks, Todd and Lesley!
Palo Alto Civil Liberties Study Group
The Civil Liberties Study Group continues with its work on "active badges," the workplace privacy bill
in the Congress, automatic vehicle identification and bridge tolls, and the Medical Information Bureau.
Also, the FBI has started the next round of design work on the National Crime Information Center, and
study group members are gearing up to review that. CPSR has also been invited to discuss privacy and
technology in the California State Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on privacy.
Palo Alto Nanotechnology Group
Palo Alto also has a working group on nanotechnology, called "The Assembler Multitude", to discuss new
technical developments, social consequences, and potential dangers of nanotechnology.
The Pittsburgh chapter recently hosted a talk by Barbara Simons on research funding of computer
science. Topics covered included the historical background of computer science funding, some
comparative figures, and a discussion of the effect of funding policy on universities, faculty, students,
and the overall direction of the field. The chapter also recently elected a slate of new leaders. Longtime
CPSR/Pittsburgh activist Benjamin Pierce is moving out of the country, but hopes to continue his good
work for CPSR from his new base in Scotland.
Members of CPSR/Portland are very busy with caller ID issues.
CPSR/Seattle is continuing its monthly program and its monthly newsletter. Ken Berkun is the new
editor. The chapter's recent programs have included a report on the locally produced Third World-
oriented newspaper, Subtext, by the publisher, Tresy Kilburn; a talk by Len Tower of the League for
Programming Freedom; "Participant-Observer Studies of Interface Design and Development," a
presentation given by Steve Poltrock; and "Natural Language Processing: The Reality and the Myth,'' a
talk by Aki Namioka. The chapter sponsored a picnic this summer in Olympia, about midway between
Seattle and Portland. Several Portland people showed up and a good time was had by all. This summer
chapter members organized a "Virtual Reality" night in which they viewed the controversial videotape
from the VR panel at DIAC-90 in Boston. Several people from the Human Interface Technology (HIT)
Laboratory, the local VR lab, showed up and offered their thoughts on the future of VR as well as their
comments on the videotape. This tape is available for screenings at chapter events and has already been
shown at several locations.
CPSR/Seattle is considering hosting the CATE (Computers and the Environment) II Conference but no
firm commitments have yet developed. Some chapter members are also interested in doing something
with community networks and in sponsoring some small workshops. David Blatner designed some great
"10 Years on the Electronic Frontier" T-shirts which have been selling nationwide. They're still
available for chapters at much reduced prices. Jon Jacky spoke at the November meeting on ``High Tech
Weapons in the Gulf War." The talk was videotaped and other chapters can borrow the tape.
Richard Ladner at the University of Washington and CPSR/Seattle chair, Aki Namioka, worked on a
project to give a CPSR informational packet to all the computer science graduate students at the
University of Washington. The chapter is currently working on a plan to put similar packets in the
hands of other students in the Northwest region and around the country. If you are interested in helping
to spread the CPSR message to students please contact Richard, Aki, or Doug Schuler.
CPSR/Washington, D. C.
The Washington, D.C., chapter has had a busy year. Dianne Martin organized a visit by representatives
of the chapter's sister chapter/organization in Irkutsk, USSR, a group called Computers, Nature, and
Humans. They concentrate on applying computer technology to the severe environmental problems of
their region, particularly those of Lake Baikal. The chapter is exploring ways to assist them with
equipment or technical help.
The Election Project, headed by Eva Waskell, has completed its sourcebook on the uses of computers in
elections. When it is printed, members of the project see an opportunity in Texas to start applying
some of the sourcebook's recommendations.
The other ongoing project within the chapter involves providing assistance to David Burnham of the
Transactional Records Analysis Clearinghouse (TRAC); Burnham, a member of the CPSR National
Advisory Board, obtains government transactional records data in raw form and then with statistical
analysis uncovers trends in law and agency enforcement, funding, etc., as an aid to researchers and
In addition to these projects, meetings were held featuring a speaker from the National Holocaust
Museum, on the use of personal data systems and census data by the Nazis, and the viewing of a videotape
of a debate at MIT on the subject of intellectual property law and software.
The D.C. chapter has also held a vigorous debate over the communication between the national
organization and the chapters, and the responsiveness of the organization to local needs. The end result
was an affirmation of the chapter's relationship with the national leadership, but several good ideas for
improving the relationship between the national program and the chapters emerged from this debate.
Marilyn Welles moved on from her position as chapter chair to pursue work involving technical
assistance with the Soviet Union. Larry Hunter and Joel Wolfson are serving as co-chairs.
Although not actually a CPSR chapter, the electronic computer networks that link a good proportion of
our members must not be overlooked. We are currently looking at ways to expand this chapter. That is,
we are investigating ways in which we can increase our effectiveness by using electronic distribution
and communication. For example, the Board of Directors has proposed a way in which its decision-
making can be facilitated electronically.
There are lots of complicated issues that arise in this area. These include (1) ensuring that people
without electronic mail remain involved and "in the loop;" (2) preventing duplication of information
and dissemination of excessive "junk e-mail;" (3) supplying the right mix of access-unrestricted
"talk'' models versus moderated discussion groups or "announcements only" models. Many CPSR issues
now revolve around the use of "cyberspace."
Some CPSR chapters such as CPSR/PDX (Portland) and CPSR/Berkeley already distribute their
newsletters electronically to an audience that transcends their immediate area. Other efforts are
underway. Judi Clark of CPSR/Berkeley has started a conference on the Well for the "Freedom, Privacy
and Technology Special Interest Group." Erik Nilsson of the Portland chapter has collected and
distributed a compendium of electronic newsgroups and addresses that are related to CPSR concerns.
CPSR is currently looking into the idea of an electronic list server. This capability would allow people
to electronically fetch documents such as position papers, publication lists, press releases,
bibliographies, membership applications, upcoming events, and the like. The list server would also
allow us to have one or more electronic distribution lists which e-mail users could subscribe or
unsubscribe to at will. Paul Hyland of CPSR/Washington, D.C., is working on developing the system
itself while Ronni Rosenberg of CPSR/Boston has volunteered to help develop documentation that will
help us use these tools.
Speaking of cyberspace, the CPSR office in Washington, D.C., has begun publication of an online
newsletter called CPSR Alert. The purpose of the newsletter is to keep CPSR members and other
subscribers informed on the activities of CPSR's Privacy and Civil Liberties program. As of this
writing, four issues have been distributed (1.01-1.04). If you are not receiving CPSR Alert and would
like to, send e-mail to Marc_Rotenfirstname.lastname@example.org. Incidentally, this address reveals that
CPSR is now a registered node on the Internet.
CPSR has many important events scheduled for the remainder of 1991 and for 1992. The organizers of
these events welcome both your attendance as well as participation in the organization. Also if you are
planning to attend an event which involves any CPSR related issues, we'd love to have you act as an
emissary and distribute our literature.
March 18, 1992ÑSecond Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy; Washington, D.C.
May 2-3, 1992ÑConference on Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing (DIAC'92);
Nov 6-8, 1992ÑSecond conference on Participatory Design of Computer Systems (PDC'92);
Thanks to Sam Bates, Gary Chapman, Jim Gawn, Jim Grant, Rodney Hoffman, Paul Hyland, Jeff
Johnson, Lesley Kalmin, Patti Lowe, Ivan Milman, Benjamin Pierce, and Coralee Whitcomb for the
information collected here.
Volume 9, No. 3 The CPSR Newsletter Summer 1991
Secret Service Releases Documents on Computer Crime to CPSR
The Secret Service's response to CPSR's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has raised new
questions about the scope and conduct of the Operation Sun Devil investigation. The documents disclosed
to CPSR reveal that the Secret Service monitored communications sent across the Internet. The
materials released through the FOIA include copies of many electronic newsletters, digests, and Usenet
groups including "comp.org.eff.talk," "comp.sys.att," "Computer Underground Digest" (alt.cud.cu-
digest)," EFFector Online, Legion of Doom Technical Journals, the Phrack electronic newsletter, and
Telecom Digest (comp.dcom.telecom). Currently, there is no clear policy for the monitoring of network
communications by law enforcement agents. A 1982 memorandum prepared for the FBI by the
Department of Justice indicated that the FBI would consider monitoring on a case by case basis. That
document was released as a result of a separate CPSR lawsuit against the FBI.
Additionally, CPSR has found papers that show Bell Labs in New Jersey passed copies of Telecom Digest
to the Secret Service.
The material released to CPSR (approximately 2,500 pages) also suggests that the Secret Service's
seizure of computer bulletin boards and other systems during the Operation Sun Devil raids may have
violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and the Privacy Protection Act of 1980.
Two sets of logs from a computer bulletin board in Virginia show that the Secret Service obtained
messages in the spring of 1989 by use of the system administrator's account. It is unclear how the
Secret Service obtained system administrator access. It is possible that the agency accessed this system
without authorization. The more likely explanation is that the Secret Service obtained the cooperation
of the system administrator. Another possibility is that this may have been a bulletin board set up by
the Secret Service as a "sting" operation. A "sting" bulletin board was previously established for an
undercover investigation involving pedophiles.
The documents CPSR received include references to the videotaping of SummerCon, a computer hackers"
conference that took place in St. Louis in 1988. The Secret Service employed an informant to attend the
conference and use hidden cameras to videotape the participants. The documents also show that the
Secret Service established a computer database to keep track of suspected computer hackers. This
database contains records of names, aliases, addresses, telephone numbers, known associates, a list of
activities, and various articles associated with each individual.
In a related matter, there has been an interesting development in CPSR's Freedom of Information Act
lawsuit requesting documents concerning Operation Sun Devil. In June the government claimed it needed
sixty days to assemble information concerning "judicial sealing orders" which, if they exist, would
restrict the release of the search warrants requested by CPSR. The government was granted the extra
time and then filed a motion to dismiss the case and surprisingly made no mention of the sealed
CPSR responded with a motion to determine the existence or non-existence of the phantom sealing
orders (it is known that some of the material involving Sun Devil searches was sealed for only ninety
days and there is reason to assume that all such seals would have been for a limited time period). The
government responded with a motion for a protective order.
A hearing on the issue was held before Judge Thomas Hogan on November 18. The judge expressed his
utter confusion over the government's position and asked for an explanation of the government's
reversal on the issue of whether or not the warrants are (or were) sealed. Government counsel
responded that they made a "litigation decision" not to rely on the sealing orders, but to rely solely on
FOIA exemptions (ongoing investigation and privacy). Counsel represented that 22 of the 26 warrants
at issue are, in fact, "sealed indefinitely." The judge seemed skeptical of the government's claim and
ordered the Secret Service to file an affidavit in ten days detailing the nature of the alleged sealing
orders. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for December 17.
CPSR is continuing its efforts to obtain government documentation concerning computer crime
investigations conducted by the Secret Service. These efforts include the litigation of several FOIA
lawsuits and attempts to locate individuals targeted by federal agencies in the course of such
CPSR Network Policy Meeting
As part of CPSR's ongoing work to shape a public interest program for the development of a new
national computer network, CPSR hosted an informal working group meeting on Saturday, November
23, in the CPSR Washington Office. The meeting brought together representatives from the Center for
Policy Alternatives, the Institute for Policy Studies, the National Federation of Local Cable
Broadcasters, the Advocacy Institute, Apple Computer, the American Library Association, the
Association of Research Libraries, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, educators, and local CPSR
Meeting participants explored recent developments within the National Research and Education Network
program, prospects for rural and regional networks, the Paperwork Reduction Act and information
access through libraries. They also examined critical themes for the network world, including civic
leadership, ÒOpen Roads," the strengthening of progressive networks, and the promotion of public
participation in network policy development.
A copy of a draft CPSR proposal on "Citizen Design of the National Public Network" is now available to
CPSR members. Contact CPSR staff member Richard Civille at email@example.com.
Scientists and Engineers Begin Global Network for Social Responsibility
November 29th through December 1st over 1,700 scientists and engineers from around the world met
in Berlin, Germany, to attend a congress entitled Challenges, a meeting about redirecting science and
technology to peaceful and environmentally responsible goals in the wake of the Cold War. Representing
CPSR were Gary Chapman, coordinator of The 21st Century Project and director of the CPSR Cambridge
office; Professor Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT; and Diego Latella, a CPSR member based at the Italian
central research institution in computer science in Pisa. Chapman participated in a workshop on The
21st Century Project, and Weizenbaum cochaired a workshop on electronic and computerized warfare,
both sponsored and organized by FIFF, or Forums InformatikerInnen fur Frieden und geselleschaftliche
Verantwortung, CPSR's German counterpart organization and an organizer of the conference.
The congress also featured the founding meetings of the International Network of Engineers and
Scientists for Global Responsibility, or INKS. This is a new attempt at linking the work of science and
engineering organizations working for peace and environmental quality around the world. The founding
members of INKS include, from the United States, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Federation
of American Scientists; Science for Peace in both Germany and Canada; Scientists Against Nuclear Arms
in the United Kingdom and Sweden; the Committee of Soviet Scientists for Global Security in Russia;
Engineers for Peace in Hungary; the Asia Peace Research Association; and the African Peace Research
Institute. Representatives were also present at the founding meetings from Argentina, Brazil, Egypt,
Poland, Israel, and India, among other countries. CPSR became a provisional member of the new
network, pending approval by the CPSR Board of Directors.
The founding statement of INKS reads, in part:
"It is now time to establish a multidisciplinary international network of scientists and engineers for
global responsibility to promote the following aims:
¥ to encourage and facilitate international communication among scientists and engineers seeking to
promote international peace and security, justice and sustainable development, and working for a
responsible use of science and technology, including:
¥ to work for the reduction of military spending and for the transfer of resources thus liberated to the
satisfaction of basic needs,
¥ to promote environmentally sound technologies, taking into account long-term effects,
¥ to enhance the awareness of the ethical principles among scientists and engineers and to support those
who have been victimized for acting upon such principles.
"In order to accomplish these aims members and bodies of the network will:
¥ promote collaborative and interdisciplinary research relating to such issues,
¥ facilitate and undertake expert and responsible contributions to relevant policy debates,
¥ publicize relevant research and inform the public and professional colleagues, and
¥ advocate changes in the national and international policies pertinent to the above aims."
The concrete details of the network's operation have yet to be worked out, and so do the details of its
financial support. In the short term there appears to be support available from the German
government, so the network will have its first headquarters in Berlin. The founding members of the
network selected a governing Council, of which Gary Chapman is a member, and an executive committee.
The Council will meet in one year in France.
For more information about INKS, write to either Reiner Braun, Tegetthoffstr. 7, 2000 Hamburg 20,
Germany; or Professor Hartwig Spitzer, DESY, Notkestr. 85, 2000 Hamburg 52, Germany.
Notes from the CPSR Board Eric Roberts--CPSR President
For CPSR, the year 1991 has been a time of both excitement and change. Some of the excitement has
come from the fact that we celebrated the tenth anniversary of our founding this year. It was ten years
ago this fall that a group of researchers at Xerox PARC started the "antiwar" electronic mailing list so
that they could discuss their shared concerns about the connections between computing and the nuclear
arms race. The fall '91 issue of The CPSP Newsletter (currently scheduled for early 1992Ñwe're
slowly catching up) will include reflections on the first ten years of our history as well as visions for
the years to come.
It has also been an exciting year for CPSR's programs. Our program in privacy and civil liberties has
continued to grow and to reach out into new areas. Some of the new initiatives, including our lawsuit
against the Secret Service under the Freedom of Information Act, are described elsewhere in this issue.
We also managed to attract major foundation funding for The 21st Century Project as described in the
cover story for this issue. CPSR's program is alive and well.
But 1991 has also been a year of change. In the context of a continued economic recession and a
weakened climate for fundraising, CPSR, like so many other nonprofit organizations, has been forced to
streamline its operations through staff reductions and other cost-savings programs. These have been
difficult times, especially for those people to whom we have had to say goodbye. We particularly want to
extend our thanks to Barbara Thomas, who worked as CPSR's Director of Development from March
1990 through October 1991. Barbara did a tremendous job in providing direction to our fundraising
program and in helping to manage the office during a time of significant transition. As we have come to
understand the limits imposed by these recessionary times, however, it became increasingly clear that
our staffing priorities lie in other areas, particularly in the administrative management of the
Some of the changes have been happier. There is good news on the financial front. We ended the 1990-
91 fiscal year with a fund balance of $4,809Ñadmittedly a modest sum for an organization of CPSR's
sizeÑbut up substantially from the previous year's balance of $101. We have paid off all of our
existing debt to individuals and have paid back almost all but the last quarterly installment of our
internal debt to the chapters. Judging by the last few months of data since our staff reduction, we are
increasing our cash reserve at the rate of approximately $5,000 per month, which will make it
possible for us to hire a managing director at some time around March or April of 1992.
During the year, we have also seen some changes on the CPSR Board. In this year's election, we
welcomed several new members. Jeff Johnson of CPSR/Palo Alto, formerly Executive Committee
Member-at-Large and one of the co-chairs of the Participatory Design Conference in 1990, was
elected CPSR Chair. Dan Williams (CPSR/Boston) was elected as Director-at-Large, and three new
Regional Directors were elected as well: Lesley Kalmin (CPSR/ Palo AltoÑWestern Regional Director),
Coralee Whitcomb (CPSR/BostonÑNew England Regional Director), and Paul Hyland (CPSR/DC--
Middle Atlantic Regional Director). In October, Todd Newman (CPSR/Palo Alto) was appointed by the
CPSR Board to be the new National Secretary for the remaining term of Steve Adams, who resigned to
devote more time to his thesis. The Board also appointed Cathy CookÑan expert in communications,
public relations, and strategic planningÑto one of the Special Director positions on the Board. Karen
Wieckert was named Executive Committee Member-at-Large.
Of all the changes that happened during the last year, l believe that the most exciting one is that we have
finally turned the corner on the financial problems that have troubled us over the last few years. We
have reduced expenditures and attracted enough additional foundation support so that our bank balance
is going up and not down. This change alone means that we can look forward to a year when we can
undertake some new initiatives and projects for CPSR and not spend all of our time struggling for
survival and searching for the next budget item to cut. This shift in focus will make us all feel better
about our work with CPSR and begin to restore our collective morale. 1992 should be a good year, and
we look forward to working with all of our members and chapters to make that happen.
CPSR Celebrates Tenth Anniversary in Mountain View
On Monday, September 16, CPSR celebrated its tenth anniversary with a reception and dinner at Sun
Microsystems in Mountain View, California. Attended by approximately 100 members and supporters
(including representatives from Seattle, Boston, and Washington D.C.), the evening program consisted
of several speakers who offered both reflections on CPSR's past and visions for its future.
CPSR President Eric Roberts welcomed the attendees. While noting that CPSR's formal incorporation
did not occur until early 1983, Eric explained that this evening had been scheduled to commemorate an
earlier event that was to provide the impetus behind CPSRÑthe establishment of the Xerox/PARC
"antiwar" distribution list in 1981; The participants in that discussion, sensing that they had found an
issue that struck a responsive chord among many computer scientists, went on to hold discussion
meetings and to lay the groundwork for the organization that was to become CPSR.
Taking an informal discussion group and turning it into a national organization was a task that required
considerable initiative and dedication on the part of a number of people. Two people, however, have a
special place in CPSR's early history: Laura Gould and Severo Ornstein. It was Severo who sent the
original message that initiated the antiwar distribution list, and it was Laura and Severo together who
put in the enormous amount of time necessary to give CPSR its start. It was their commitmentÑ a
commitment so strong that they retired from Xerox/ PARC to devote their full-time energies to this
new organizationÑthat made CPSR possible.
To recognize their unique contribution to CPSR, the Board of Directors decided to award the 1991
Norbert Wiener Award for Social Responsibility to Laura and Severo. Established in 1986, the Norbert
Wiener Award honors members of the computing profession who, by their own example, have made
critical contributions to social responsibility within the computing profession. Past recipients of the
award are David Parnas, for his work against the SDI; Joe Weizenbaum, for his long-standing
commitment to understanding the relationship between computers and the human being; Daniel
McCracken, for his work in the 1960s organizing computer scientists to oppose the ABM; and Kristin
Nygaard, for his pioneering efforts to bring workers into the process of systems design. Laura Gould
and Severo Ornstein have made a contribution at least as great, and past president Terry Winograd
presented them with this year's award.
Laura and Severo then each offered their reflections on the early years of CPSR. Laura recalled it as a
time marked by a certain loss of innocence. Raised by her parents (1) never to talk about money, and
(2) never to use personal connections to support her own pursuits, Laura realized in retrospect that
she was completely unprepared for the work that goes into maintaining a public-interest organization.
In this respect, those early years were a learning experience. But the learning obviously took hold. By
1984, CPSR had raised over $90,000 from foundations, and was in a position to hire its first
Severo followed with some reflections on both the history of CPSR and the state of the world today. He
admitted that much of the motivation for getting CPSR started came from fearÑthe fear that the nuclear
arsenals of the superpowers were an accident waiting to happen, particularly as they came under
increasing computer control. For him, the chance of averting a nuclear disaster seemed extremely
small. Even so, one has no choice but to struggle against such overwhelming odds, just as a shipwreck
victim clinging to a board in mid-ocean continues to stay afloat and paddle. Rescue seems unlikely, but
there is nothing else to do. And throughout it all, there is always a little bit of hope.
Severo noted that, despite enormous changes in the world in the last decade, he still feels fearful. The
nuclear threat has receded with the ending of the Cold War, but he remains very frightened by the
deteriorating state of the United States, politically and socially. The problems that seem uppermost to
him now, however, seem less directly related to computers, and his energies have therefore shifted to
Following Laura and Severo, the evening continued with brief reminiscences by several of the people
involved in the early years of CPSR. Brian Smith, who served as the first president of CPSR, talked a
little about how CPSR's evolution has proceeded along lines that were not at all anticipated by its
founders. While part of that evolutionary direction reflects changes in the world situation and a
broadening of organizational focus, Brian offered the interesting proposition that it also reflects the
fact that our discipline has evolved in unexpected ways. Ten years ago, many of those who worked in
artificial intelligence believed that the principal impact of computers would come in the form of
intelligent agents. The idea that computers, usually without any programming that we would see as
being part of the Al vision of the time, would become so ubiquitous and so change our modes of operation
(Brian cited word-processing as an example), was not something that could be anticipated clearly ten
years ago. That change in the technology has precipitated some changes in the focus of CPSR. Brian also
echoed some of Laura Gould's comments about how much there was to learn in CPSR's early days. After
all, not only was there little experience among the organizers about what it meant to run an
organization, there was also relatively little direct expertise in many of the areas in which CPSR
worked. For the most part, CPSR members were not the leading experts in military technology, and we
were entering an arena of policy debate in which such expertise was critical.
The next speaker was Lucy Suchman, who served on the CPSR Board from its founding in 1983 all the
way through until 1990. Beginning where Brian had ended, Lucy observed that CPSR members did
learn about the world of computers in the military. Ten years ago, she would not have thought it
possible that she would be writing articles for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on "Strategic
Computing." But this is precisely what did happen. CPSR members discovered that they could use their
background in computer science to become knowledgeable about issues of military technological and to
play an important role in policy debates. Even though much of her participation in CPSR has been at the
national level, Lucy recalled that, for her, much of the value of CPSR has come from her work at the
chapter level. Discussing new issues and hearing about new areas of CPSR concern has proven to be both
interesting and challenging over the years, and has been a critical part of the self-education process.
Moreover, the range of views within the organization and the space the organization offers to people
with different perspectives and priorities, increases the value of that education and the strength of
The next speaker was John Shoch, former director of Xerox's Office Systems Division and a long-time
CPSR supporter. John's talk looked briefly at three historical times: twenty years ago in the period he
labeled B.C. (Before CPSR), ten years ago at the time of CPSR's founding, and earlier this year. Twenty
years ago, there was much concern about computers and the military, which reached its heights in the
large protest movements about war research at Stanford. But computer scientists had not found their
own voice. John then recalled the early days of CPSR, when the profession began to speak on its own. He
also reminded the audience that, even though much has changed, there are common threads. He brought
in the first newsletters from 1983, and noted that the second issue included a piece entitled 'What is
Our Real Focus?" in which the author suggests broadening the scope of CPSR's activities beyond the
threat of accidental nuclear war. This debate, and the underlying question of what topics CPSR should
address, continues to this day. John closed by recalling, a congressional committee hearing on computer
system security issues in which he participated earlier this year. In his mind, he began to compose a
statement which he would give on his next turn to speak, encouraging the committee in the strongest
terms to contact CPSR and to seek out its expertise on the issue. His train of thought was broken when
he heard a committee staffer express, in equally strong terms, the importance of seeking out CPSR's
participation and that this process had in fact begun. This suggested to John that CPSR has already
established its place in the policy-making process.
The last speaker in the reminiscences phase of the evening was Joe Weizenbaum, professor emeritus at
M.I.T. and winner of CPSR's 1988 Norbert Wiener Award for Social Responsibility. Joe told several
delightful stories that illustrated how difficult it is to predict the course of computing technology. The
frontier is always changing, and it is important for CPSR to be able to respond to those changes. What is
common throughout those changes is that computer professionals, as the designers and builders of the
tools that others will use, have enormous power in society. With that power, comes a responsibility to
use our skills with professionalism and sensitivity to human concerns. CPSR has accomplished quite a
bit over its first decade, and Joe expressed his own hope that we could go on to make an even more
important contribution in the next ten years.
At this point, the evening turned to presentations on the future of CPSR from the CPSR Project
Directors in Cambridge and Washington, D.C. Gary Chapman, CPSR's Executive Director from 1985
through 1990 and the current director of The 21st Century Project, gave an overview of that project
and the importance of redirecting computer technology to serve social needs, and not simply to address
military priorities. (The 21st Century Project is described in the most recent issue of The CPSR
Newsletter.) But Gary could not resist telling a few stories of his own about CPSR's history, and he
recalled some of the lighter moments, including CPSR's first mention in The National Enquirer and
uncannily appropriate fortune cookies after meetings of the Executive Committee.
Marc Rotenberg, Director of the Washington Office and CPSR's program in Privacy and Civil Liberties,
talked briefly about some of CPSR's recent work in the Washington office, including Richard Civille's
international teleconference for Hiroshima Day and David Sobel's requests and lawsuits under the
Freedom of Information Act, most recently to force the Department of Commerce to reveal whether
computer technology has been exported for use in domestic surveillance by other countries. Marc also
provided an excellent segue to the final event of the evening with a subliminal appeal to "please give
At the conclusion of the evening, Eric Roberts noted that CPSR success in the coming decade depends
more than anything else on the participation and support of CPSR members throughout the organization.
At age ten, CPSR is no longer eligible for startup grants, and our foundation support is largely limited
to specific project activity. Members must support the ongoing operation of CPSR: the newsletter, the
chapters, expansion into new areas, and outreach in the computing community. He thanked those
individuals and corporations who had contributed to the The evening raised over $13,000 beyond
expenses, and was a tremendous success. This kind of support is critical to CPSR's future and is an
excellent way to celebrate its tenth birthday. Even if you missed the event, you can join in the spirit by
sending in your own contribution to the National Office, at CPSR, P.O. Box 717, Palo Alto, CA 94302-
0717. In this way, we can assure that the next ten years of CPSR work will be even more productive
and rewarding than the first decade.
IFIP Working Group 9.2 Explores "Social Citizenship" Diane Whitehouse and Colin Beardon
Sixty participants representing over twenty countries met at the first IFIP WG 9.2 Summer School
held at Brighton Polytechnic in the south of England In July and August. It was organized collaboratively
by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Working Group (WG) 9.2 and by
Brighton Polytechnic. The theme of the Summer School was "Social Citizenship in the Information Age."
IFIP WG 9.2 was founded in 1977 and is concerned with Computers and Social Accountability. It held a
conference in June 1988 which led to the "Evolving Landscapes" publication.' Afterwards several
people observed the lack of younger participants and so the idea of a Summer School, based loosely on
the work of that conference, grew.
Throughout the week the participants took on the challenge of giving meaning to the idea of "social
citizenship. The issue of citizenship proved to be a topical one as the Prime Minister of Great Britain
had recently appropriated the term for his "Citizen's Charter." Social citizenship, as discussed at this
Summer School, emerged as a rather different concept, including all those areas of citizenship other
than the legal and political, hence concentrating on such issues as education, health and welfare, and
The opening speaker, Frances Morrell (UK), presented a simple, unifying interpretation of
citizenship, though several participants saw the concept as a contentious one Marshall's concept of
citizenship, as providing a safety-net for the disadvantaged and the opportunity for equality for all,
became the foundation of the modern welfare state. It is now true that, at least in Britain, this concept
is coming under attack from two sources. On the one hand there is the view that the welfare state is
redundant. This is Margaret Thatcher's view that "there is no such thing as society" and the duties of the
responsible citizen are to maintain self-discipline and act benevolently towards the less fortunate. On
the other hand there is the view that the welfare state is failing because it merely provides the formal
conditions for equality, and this has proved inadequate to stop even greater inequality emerging in
recent years. It is argued that a positive Bill of Rights is required to safeguard the positive benefits of
Accountability of IT Professionals
Against this background the overriding concern of the Working Group was introducedÑthe
accountability of professionals working in information technology (IT) fields. In its work over the
years the work of the Group has converged on four aspects of the social impact of IT which were
reflected in the overall program of the week.
The first was the effect of IT on the distribution of power and wealth. In particular, the role of
technological aid in increasing the dependence of Third World countries was described by Mayuri Odedra
(Kenya) and Chrisanthi Avgerou (UK), and schemes for the training of technologists within their own
environment were explored. Vincent Mosco (Canada) raised the question of the increasing control
exercised over what we hear, especially during events such as the Gulf War. The distribution of power
was also addressed in the workshop on Empowerment and IT run by a representative of the Women in
The second theme was the emerging "culture of the artificial"Ñthe belief that the computer has heralded
a period of major philosophical confusion in which there is no a priori legitimacy for action. The
result, according to Romain Laufer (France), is that we must resort to pragmatics, which means both a
return to the model of free competition within a market economy and the emerging science of
management whose task it is to create legitimacy for actions when there is no acceptable system of
The third theme was that of social vulnerability and the risk to society. Peter Nilsson (Sweden)
considered this from the perspective of the state sector and Simone Fischer-Huebner and Morton
Swimmer (Germany) raised ethical questions concerned with activities such as hacking. Dick Sizer
(UK) produced data showing the gigantic failure rate of systems and reflected on why this knowledge
does nothing to modify the behavior of those responsible for system implementation.
The fourth topic addressed Marx's famous dictum that "the point, however, is to change the world!"
Despite the wide range of topics discussed and the wide variety of experiences brought together, there
were positive models and programs put forward. The human-centered systems group at Brighton
Polytechnic (Karamjit Gill and Tania Funston) outlined their views on human as opposed to machine-
centered technology and the role of technology as a medium, rather than as a product (for example, the
topic of study should be ``computer mediated communication" rather than "human-computer
interface"). The philosophy and practice of participatory design was explained by Frank Land (UK) and
the Women in Computing group provided further models of positive action. Particularly effective was
the participation of two members of the British Computer Society Disabilities Group who succeeded in
raising not only the possibility of technological solutions, but also in conveying the problems of
disability to a wide group of people.
The organization of the Summer School reflected the values of the working group. Presenters were
divided equally between men and women, and the students had a much higher ratio of women to men than
most computer meetings. There were no distinctions in rank made between scholars and students.
IFIP WG 9.2
The aims of IFIP WG 9.2 are:
1) helping make computer professionals and system designers and others aware of the social
consequences of their work;
2) developing criteria to determine how well the public is served when it comes into contact with
computerized systems; and
3) enabling and encouraging designers and users of computer systems to make a human choice, that is, a
choice which takes into account human needs and wishes.
IFIP WG 9.2 meets at least twice a year, and communicates in the interim by means of electronic mail.
The group has some thirty active members, hailing from ten countries. For further details on I FIP WG
9.2's activities, contact: Professor Jacques Berleur, Chairperson IFIP WG 9.2, Institut d'Informatique,
Facultes Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Rue de Bruxelles 61, 5000 Namur, Belgium.
A 1992 Summer School is being planned for the Netherlands. For further details, contact: Dr. Colin
Beardon, Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities, Brighton Polytechnic, Grand Parade, Brighton BN2
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