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[liberationtech] CPSR dissolution and Gary Chapman, Winner of CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award

Katitza Rodriguez katitza at eff.org
Thu May 23 10:16:13 PDT 2013


Agreed with Lauren. I learned about all this wonderful community via 
CPSR in the earlier days of the digital rights movement, I'll say! 
Thanks Doug for your hard work on this one!.


On 5/8/13 11:50 AM, Lauren Gelman wrote:
>
> This was a bittersweet task, but nicely done.  Thanks for all your work.
>
> Lauren Gelman
> @laurengelman
> BlurryEdge Strategies
> 415-627-8512
>
> On May 7, 2013, at 6:50 PM, Doug Schuler wrote:
>
>> Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility Dissolution and
>> Gary Chapman, Winner of CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award for Social and 
>> Professional Responsibility
>>
>>
>> It is my unenviable task to announce that Computer Professionals for 
>> Social Responsibility (CPSR), a non-profit educational corporation, 
>> has been dissolved.
>>
>> CPSR was launched in 1981 in Palo Alto, California, to question the 
>> computerization of war in the United States via the Strategic 
>> Computing Initiative to use artificial intelligence in war, and, soon 
>> after, the Strategic Defense Initiative --- "Star Wars". Over the 
>> years CPSR evolved into a "big tent" organization that addressed a 
>> variety of computer-related areas including workplace issues, 
>> privacy, participatory design, freedom of information, community 
>> networks, and many others.
>>
>> Now, of course, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of 
>> organizations and movements that are concerned not only about the 
>> misuses of ICT by governments and corporations (and others) but also 
>> about trying to develop approaches that help communities work 
>> together to address issues related to economic and other inequalities 
>> and environmental degradation --- as well as broader issues such as 
>> war and peace.
>>
>> CPSR to me provided a vital link to important ideas and to 
>> inspirational and creative people. These people believed that 
>> positive social change was possible and that the use of ICT /could/ 
>> play a significant role. For example, in 1993, CPSR developed a 
>> document designed to help shape the National Information 
>> Infrastructure (NII) program promoted by the Clinton/Gore 
>> administration to help guide the evolution of networked digital 
>> communication. Through a variety of conferences, workshops and 
>> reports, CPSR encouraged conversations about computers and society 
>> that went beyond hyperbole and conventional wisdom.
>>
>> Although in many ways the issues that CPSR helped publicize have 
>> changed forms they generally still remain. The ethical and other 
>> issues surrounding the computerization of war, for one thing, have 
>> not gone away just because they're not prominent on the public 
>> agenda. CPSR's original focus on the use of artificial intelligence 
>> in "battle management" etc. and the possibility of launch on warning 
>> is probably still pertinent. The advent of ubiquitous and inexpensive 
>> drones definitely is.
>>
>> Apparently, as many people know, the age of the participatory 
>> membership organizations is over --- their numbers are certainly way 
>> down --- and we in CPSR had certainly noticed that trend. I 
>> personally suspect that this development is not necessarily a good 
>> thing. I certainly would welcome another membership organization with 
>> CPSR's Big Tent orientation.
>>
>> On the occasion of CPSR's dissolution we've developed two small 
>> projects for keeping CPSR's spirit alive.
>>
>> The first is that it would be a good opportunity to catalog the 
>> groups and organizations around the world that would be natural 
>> allies to CPSR if it still existed. We've started this cataloging 
>> (see http://www.publicsphereproject.org/civic_organizations) but 
>> presumably have only captured a small fraction of these 
>> organizations. Please open an account on the Public Sphere Project 
>> site and add the information about your organization.
>>
>> The second is less concrete but probably no less important. To help 
>> the current and future generation of activists as we envision 
>> possible futures and interventions, we'd like to put these two 
>> related questions forward: /What applications of ICT are the most 
>> important to human development and sustainability?/ And, on the other 
>> hand, /What are the strongest challenges to these applications?/ 
>> Please email me your thoughts on this and I will do my best to 
>> compile the thoughts and make them public.
>>
>> *********
>>
>> With this note I also want to announce that CPSR's final Norbert 
>> Wiener Award for Social and Professional Responsibility winner is 
>> Gary Chapman, who served as CPSR's first executive director from 1985 
>> to 1992. The award recognizes outstanding contributions for social 
>> responsibility in computing technology. Named for Norbert Wiener 
>> (1894-1964), who, in addition to a long and active scientific career 
>> that brought the word "cybernetics" (and, hence, cyberspace) into the 
>> language, was also a leader in assessing the social implications of 
>> computerization. Writing in Science (1960) Wiener reminds us that, 
>> "...even when the individual believes that science contributes to the 
>> human ends which he has at heart, his belief needs a continual 
>> scanning and re-evaluation which is only partly possible. For the 
>> individual scientist, even the partial appraisal of the liaison 
>> between the man and the historical process requires an imaginative 
>> forward glance at history which is difficult, exacting, and only 
>> limitedly achievable...We must always exert the full strength of our 
>> imagination."
>>
>> Gary who died in 2010, spent nearly three decades working towards 
>> peace and social justice as it related to information technology. As 
>> Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center 
>> (EPIC) stated, Gary "made many people stop and ask hard questions 
>> about technology. Not just 'Is it cool?' but 'Does it make our lives 
>> better, or more just? And does it make our world more secure?' "
>>
>> Gary's technology column, "Digital Nation," was carried in over 200 
>> newspapers and websites. He taught and lectured all over the world, 
>> most recently as a guest faculty member at the University of Porto in 
>> Porto, Portugal. Since his time at CPSR he had been involved in a 
>> multitude of related projects including the International School for 
>> Digital Transformation (ISDT) that he and others at the University of 
>> Texas convened annually in Porto, Portugal.
>>
>> Gary was on the faculty of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public 
>> Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. On the local level, he 
>> also worked to bridge the digital divide, the gulf between those with 
>> access to technology and those without. In 1995, for example, he 
>> worked on the successful grant application that led to the 
>> establishment of Austin Free-Net (www.austinfree.net 
>> <http://www.austinfree.net/>), which installed the first public 
>> access Internet stations in Austin, and continues today as a national 
>> model for bringing digital opportunities to low-income and digitally 
>> challenged residents. And in 2010, Gary co-founded Big Gig Austin 
>> (www.biggigaustin.org <http://www.biggigaustin.org/>), which anchored 
>> the successful community campaign to bring the Google gigabit fiber 
>> network to Austin.
>>
>> Gary was a principled and untiring advocate for the use of the 
>> Internet a tool for collaboration and other means to bring people 
>> together. Also, as a former medic with the Army Special Forces, Gary 
>> was especially concerned about the uses of computing in warfare. In 
>> his articles in the CPSR Newsletter, he warned that "Automating our 
>> ignorance of how to cope with war will produce only more disaster." 
>> With David Bellin he co-edited "Computers in Battle: Will They 
>> Work?", a book on the implications of computer technology in war, and 
>> was involved for many years in a rich collaboration with the 
>> Pugwash-USPID (Unione Scienziati Per Il Disarmo)-ISODARCO 
>> (International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts) 
>> community in Italy and elsewhere.
>>
>> Gary contributed chapters to several books that I was involved with. 
>> Most recently, he contributed /The Good Life,/ one of the patterns 
>> (publicsphereproject.org/patterns/lv 
>> <http://publicsphereproject.org/patterns/lv>) in /Liberating Voices/, 
>> a book that I wrote (with the help of 85 others). The verbiage from 
>> the pattern card abridged from the full text 
>> <http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/print-pattern.php?begin=3> 
>> reminds us of Gary's humane values, and serves as an important 
>> challenge for all of us:
>>
>> People who hope for a better world feel the need for a shared vision 
>> of the "good life" that is flexible enough for innumerable individual 
>> circumstances but comprehensive enough to unite people in optimistic, 
>> deliberate, progressive social change. This shared vision of The Good 
>> Life should promote and sustain conviviality and solidarity among 
>> people, as well as feelings of individual effectiveness, self-worth 
>> and purpose. A shared vision of The Good Life is always adapting; it 
>> encompasses suffering, loss and conflict as well as pleasures, 
>> reverence and common goals of improvement. An emergent framework for 
>> the modern "good life" is based on some form of humanism, 
>> particularly pragmatic or civic humanism, with room for a spiritual 
>> dimension that does not seek domination. Finally, the environmental 
>> crises of the planet require a broad vision of a "good life" that can 
>> harmonize human aspirations with natural limits. All this needs to be 
>> an ongoing and open-ended "conversation," best suited to small 
>> geographic groups that can craft and then live an identity that 
>> reflects their vision of a "good life."
>>
>> Although this will be CPSR's final Weiner award, the work that Gary 
>> and other activists from CPSR and other organizations helped launch 
>> over two decades ago is now being carried forward by scores of 
>> organizations and thousands of activists all over the world, as 
>> digital information and communication systems have assumed such a 
>> central location on the world's stage.
>>
>> Several projects including a Festschrift or other book project or 
>> event related to CPSR and social responsibility have been discussed 
>> although no firm plans have been made.
>>
>> Gary Chapman was patient but persistent in his pursuit of progressive 
>> goals and a better life for all. Sadly, Gary left us before he could 
>> see his vision brought to fruition. He'll be missed but we all must 
>> push forward with his vision.
>>
>>
>> *********
>>
>> *CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award for Social and Professional 
>> Responsibility Winners*
>>
>>
>> *2013 - Gary Chapman*
>> /For his tireless efforts to promote human values within an 
>> increasingly computerized world./
>>
>>
>> 1987 - David Parnas
>> For his work to promote software reliability and his campaign to 
>> raise public awareness of the technical infeasibility of the 
>> Strategic Defense Initiative.
>>
>> 1988 - Joe Weizenbaum
>> For his work to promote the human side of his computing, as expressed 
>> in his book Computer Power and Human Reason.
>>
>> 1989 - Daniel D. McCracken
>> For his work in the late 1960s to organize computer professionals 
>> against the deployment of ABM systems.
>>
>> 1990 - Kristen Nygaard
>> For his pioneering work in Norway to develop "participatory design," 
>> which seeks the direct involvement of workers in the development of 
>> the computer-based tools they use.
>>
>> 1991 - Severo Ornstein and Laura Gould
>> For their tireless energy to guide CPSR through its early years.
>>
>> 1992 - Barbara Simons
>> For her work on human rights, military funding, and the U.C. Berkeley 
>> reentry program for women.
>>
>> 1993 - Institute for Global Communication
>> For using network technology to empower previously disenfranchised 
>> individuals and groups working for progressive change.
>>
>> 1994 - Antonia Stone
>> For her work in founding the Playing To Win organization, which has 
>> brought computer skills to many people who have long been 
>> technologically disadvantaged.
>>
>> 1995 - Tom Grundner
>> For his pioneering work in establishing the Free Net movement, which 
>> has provided access to network technology to entire communities who 
>> would otherwise be unrepresented.
>>
>> 1996 - Phil Zimmermann
>> Inventor of Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). PGP allows the average person 
>> to encode his or her email. Previously, only governments or large 
>> corporations could make their email secure.
>>
>> 1997 - Peter Neumann
>> Editor of the RISKS Digest, for his outstanding contributions to the 
>> field of Risk and Reliability in Computer Science. Read his Notes on 
>> Receiving CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award
>>
>> 1998 - The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
>> A large open international community of individuals, engaged in the 
>> development of new Internet standard specifications, for its 
>> tremendously positive technical and other contributions to the 
>> evolution and smooth operation of the Internet.
>>
>> 1999 - The Free Software & Open Source Movements
>> This movement profoundly challenges the belief that market mechanisms 
>> are always best-suited for unleashing technological innovation. This 
>> voluntary and collaborative model for software development is 
>> providing a true alternative to proprietary, closed software.
>>
>> 2000 - Marc Rotenberg
>> For his ongoing efforts through CPSR and the Electronic Privacy 
>> Information Center to protect the loss of public's privacy through 
>> technological innovation.
>>
>> 2001 - Nira Schwartz and Theodore Postol
>> For their courageous efforts to disclose misinformation and falsified 
>> test results of the proposed National Missile Defense system.
>>
>> 2002 - Karl Auerbach
>> For pioneering democratic Internet governance.
>>
>> 2003 - Mitch Kapor
>> For being a role model for anyone seeking to succeed in the 
>> cut-throat world of high tech business without sacrificing integrity 
>> and conscience.
>>
>> 2004 - Barry Steinhardt
>> For being a prominent advocate for privacy and other civil liberties 
>> in the face of technologically-oriented threats.
>>
>> 2005 - Douglas Engelbart
>> For being a pioneer of human-computer interface technology, inventor 
>> of the mouse, and social-impact visionary.
>>
>> 2008 - Bruce Schneier
>> For his technical achievements and passionate advocacy for privacy, 
>> security, and civil liberties.
>>
>>
>>
>> Douglas Schuler
>> douglas at publicsphereproject.org <mailto:douglas at publicsphereproject.org>
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Public Sphere Project
>> http://www.publicsphereproject.org/
>>
>> Creating the World Citizen Parliament
>> http://interactions.acm.org/archive/view/may-june-2013/creating-the-world-citizen-parliament
>> Liberating Voices!  A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution 
>> (project)
>> http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/lv 
>> <http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/>
>>
>> Liberating Voices!  A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution 
>> (book)
>> http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11601
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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-- 
Katitza Rodriguez
International Rights Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
katitza at eff.org
katitza at datos-personales.org (personal email)

Please support EFF - Working to protect your digital rights and freedom of speech since 1990

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