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Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility


The CPSR is an alliance of computer professionals concentrating on certain areas of the impact of computer technology on society. It traces its history to the fall of 1981, when several researchers in Palo Alto, California, organized a lunch meeting to discuss their shared concerns about the connection between computing and the nuclear arms race. Out of that meeting and the discussions which followed, CPSR was born, and has been active ever since.(14)

The national CPSR program focuses on the following project areas:

  • Reliability and Risk This area reflects on the concern that overreliance on computing technology can lead to unacceptable risks to society. It includes, but isn't limited to, work in analyzing military systems such as SDI.

  • Civil Liberties and Privacy This project is concerned with such topics as the FBI National Crime Information Center, the growing use of databases by both government and private industry, the right of access to public information, extension of First Amendment rights to electronic communication, and establishing legal protections for privacy of computerized information.

  • Computers in the Workplace The CPSR Workplace Project has concentrated its attention on the design of software for the workplace, and particularly on the philosophy of "participatory design," in which software designers work together with users to ensure that systems meet the actual needs of that workplace.

  • @strong {The 21st Century Project} This is a coalition with other professional organizations working towards redirecting national research priorities from concentrating on military issues to anticipating and dealing with future problems as science and technology enter the next century.

For more information on the CPSR, contact them at:

 Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
 P.O. Box 717
 Palo Alto, CA  94302
 (415) 322--3778
 (415) 322--3798 (Fax)

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