cr> CPSR’s New Cyber-Wrongs List


(Note from moderator: I will let Marilyn have her say below, and then
indicate what I think are the strengths of the new Working Group.  I
am not going to post any more messages on this thread, because I don't
think most people want to spend their time on this list discussing

Sender: •••@••.••• (Marilyn Davis)

CPSR's New Cyber-Wrongs List

> CPSR members are invited to subscribe to a newly-created action list for
> the Cyber-Rights National Working Group.  Interested members should send an

It's not clear from the announcement, will the new list have the same
mechanics as this one? Namely:

1.  It is moderated?  By whom?  How is he chosen?

2.  Will there be a small group of CPSR honchos who have the privilege
to post without moderation?  Who are these elite and how are they

3.  Will Audrie and perhaps other CPSR executives have the power to
pull the plug on the list, interfering with the natural democratic
online process, while they gather their thoughts and protect CPSR's
image?  Which executives have this power and under what circumstances?

>>From the announcement, two things are clear:

1.  *I* am not invited unless I swallow my democratic principles,
cough up some money, and wear the false label, "computer
professional".  (I support my democracy activism with earnings from my
two professions: teaching and waitressing.)

2.  This new working group has no power to act without sanction from
the CPSR hierarchy.


The call here, the *need*, is for an independent list: a list that can
develop its own online process, its strategies, methods and actions
without deferring to a non-virtual bureaucracy.

The meta-issue in cyber-rights, and in all rights, is democracy.  If
CPSR does not see the online community of a list as fit to make
decisions for itself, how can we expect the government to do any
Marilyn                               *
Marilyn Davis, Ph.D.-------------- * ---- eVote - online voting software


I thought I would take this opportunity to say what an effective
organization CPSR has been in the seven years I've been a member, and
in particular the excellent potential that I see for the new Working
Group.  I have to laugh when I contrast the dire speculations that
Marilyn has presented with the dynamic grass-roots organization that I
volunteer for.

CPSR members are organizing conferences, creating community networks,
writing books, and talking to politicians at many levels of society.
Not only is it a great place to learn and to share ideas with computer
people, but it's reaching out to non-techie organizations through
actions like the Telecommunications Policy Roundtable.  I've never
been in a national organization that gave individual members such
opportunities to express their talents.  If anything, I'd ask for more
guidance from the Board and National Office (they rarely post on this
list, for instance).

Now for the working group.  It's the most natural and common thing in
the world for an organization to set up a subcommittee to examine
particular issues.  We've got about eight members so far, some of them
very educated, and I expect we'll be getting active soon in the
current political issues of the day.  What individual members like me
have been struggling to find time to do will now be shared and
subdivided among a group.

As a couple points of information: there will be no moderator on the
small list, and as Audrie explicitly indicated, we'll be able to issue
statements and take actions in our own name.  It's obvious that the
new Working Group, with clear rules for membership and
decision-making, is better than the pre-existing system of haphazard
personal relationships.

The big challenges still lie ahead for people who want an open
exchange of ideas on electronic networks.  We've got to talk to states
and communities about their options when they negotiate with the
mega-corporations that will be coming around with new services.  We've
got to write comments for the FCC, which is mandated with carrying out
the (inadequate but still substantial) rules in the Telecom Act for
competition and universal service.

We need to build up our organization internationally.  (Did anybody
besides me see in the paper today how the U.S., Canada, the EC, and
Japan are talking about opening their telecom markets to each other?)
And most of all, we must continually to protect our freedoms
vigilantly.  CPSR has been dedicated to these goals for years, and the
new Working Group is the best instrument I could think of to carry
them out in the current period.


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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