Monday, December 15, 2008

Session ideas

Got some ideas for sessions that you haven't turned into proposals yet? Please share them here!

Keynote speaker suggestions?

CFP's keynotes are quite varied, including

- politicians who's been fighting the good fight for civil liberties, for example Patrick Leahy in 2006
- significant policy addresses, for example Konstantinos Karachalios of the European Patent Office in 2008
- "big picture" thinkers, for example Clay Shirky's closing keynote from 2008 (video here, notes here)
- wry observers focused on the future, for example Bruce Sterling in 2002

Who to invite this year? Suggestions welcome!

New submission deadline: January 9

The deadline for the CFP09 all for presentations, tutorials, and workshops has been pushed back to January 9. We'll also be kicking off some threads on the blog to collect ideas for keynote speakers and session topics. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2009: Call for participation

CFP logo

From conference co-chairs Cindy Southworth and Jay Stanley's Call for presentations, tutorials, and workshops:
The 19th annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference is now accepting proposals for panels, workshop sessions, and other events.

CFP is the leading policy conference exploring the impact of the Internet, computers and communications technologies on society. It will be taking place in June 2009, just months into a brand new U.S. administration -- an exciting moment in history, as we look into the future and ask, "Where do we go from here?" For more than a decade, CFP has anticipated policy trends and issues and has shaped the public debate on the future of privacy and freedom in an ever more technology-filled world. CFP focuses on topics such as freedom of speech, privacy, intellectual property, cybersecurity, telecommunications, electronic democracy, digital rights and responsibilities, and the future of technologies and their implications.

We are requesting proposals and ideas for panels, plenaries, debates, keynote speakers, and other sessions that will address these and related topics and how we can shape public policy and the public debate on these topics as we create the future.

More information, and a link to the submission form, here.

This year’s Computers Freedom and Privacy conference will be in Washington, DC, June 1-4, 2009. Please join us!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Videos up on the conference web site -- and more coverage

Videos of the opening plenary session (continued in part 2), Breaking the Silence, and Clay Shirky's closing keynote are up on the conference web site. There's also an audio-only track of the opening session. Thanks to Brian Pauze of Yale Law School for the assistance -- and with luck, more AV will be coming over the next few weeks.

Coverage of CFP continued last week, most noticeably with For McCain, A Switch On Telecom Immunity? by Jonathan Weisman and Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post. This article wound up getting discussed both on Daily Kos and on National Review Online's The Corner, which published a rebuttal from Doug Holtz-Eakin of the McCain campaign. Please track the wiki page for updates -- and please add references if you see any!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On Slashdot!

Julian Sanchez' ArsTechnica story on the opening plenary session is on Slashdot's front page as McCain vs. Obama on Tech Issues, submitted by eldavojohn

"Ars is running a brief article that looks at stances from Chuck Fish of McCain's campaign and Daniel Weitzner from Obama's in regards to technical issues that may cause us geeks to vote one way or the other. From openness vs. bandwidth in the net neutrality issue to those pesky National Security Letters, there's some key differences that just might play at least a small part in your vote. You may also remember our discussions on who is best for geeks."
w00t, w00t!


PS: please see the CFP 2008 coverage page on the wiki for other coverage of this and other panels.

PS: To answer the obvious question that's already come up in the Slashdot thread: the Clinton campaign was invited to send a representative as well but couldn't make the scheduling work.

Monday, May 26, 2008

CFP08 Feedback/CFP09 thoughts?

Everybody knows that directly after a conference, while we're still recuperating and it's all fresh in our mind, is the best time to gather feedback and thoughts about next years' conference -- which is going to be in Washington DC in spring or summer 2008, specific date still TBD.

Please use this thread for feedback, ideas of what you want to see more or less about, thoughts about topics and formats for workshops or tutorials, and anything else about the conference that crosses your mind.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Signature thread for the open letter to the presidential candidates

The first step of Dear Potus 08 is an open letter from CFP attendees and our allies to the presidential candidates, asking for their help in sparking a national discussion.
  • If you'd like to make a short (150 words or less) statement as part of signing on, please use this thread. (You can also put your name down on the wiki, and we'll circulate some paper signature sheets at the conference on Friday.)
  • Please use the discussion and dissent thread for additional discussion -- and if you choose not to sign on, please let us know why!
Final draft:

May 23, 2008

Dear presidential candidates:

We call on your help to seize the momentous opportunity that the 2008 elections provide to spark a nationwide discussion on how information technologies (IT) and the knowledge economy impact traditional policy areas such as education, health care, social welfare, and civil liberties.

Our "Dear Potus 08" project is a series of web-based, interactive and open letters to the next President. This work, along with the accompanying broad dialog online and off, will cover topics that touch everybody in our nation, and in the process both engage and educate the public as well as industry and policymakers.

The topics we'll be discussing include

The participatory open letter format, along with accompanying discussions in online and offline forums, allows citizens to engage in the political process in a more deliberative way. We hope to pave the way and refine the methods for ongoing interactive communications between the general public and our government in the new administration. This effort will also help people develop a shared national vocabulary while gaining a deeper understanding of the complexities and challenges of the role of technology in the issues and concerns of Americans.

If you think this is a valuable goal and interesting approach, you can assist us by highlighting the importance of these issues, and your positions, as you're campaigning. Just as importantly, please challenge the media -- "old" and "new" -- to cover the issues with the depth they deserve and the attention currently paid to the sound-bite and horse race aspects of the campaigns.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We look forward to hearing what you and the technology policy experts in your campaign think of it.


see the wiki page for the current signature list

Discussion/dissent thread for the open letter to the presidential candidates

The first step of Dear Potus 08 is an open letter from CFP attendees and our allies to the presidential candidates, asking for their help in sparking a national discussion. The current version of the letter is here.
Update, May 27:
see the press coverage by Elise Ackerman in the San Jose Mercury News

Please use this "discussion and dissent" thread for additional discussion -- and if you choose not to sign on, please let us know why!

If you'd like to sign on to the letter, please use the signature thread or add your name directly to the letter on the CFP community wiki.

More coverage!

And as before, if you're blogging about CFP -- or if you see other coverage -- please add it to the wiki. Thanks!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Internet Freedom & Censorship

Don't miss the sessions tomorrow on bloggers in Iran and measuring threats to online internet freedom

Of interest to those attending the session is the new publication - The Internet Freedom Alert an ongoing publication that covers online developments related to censorship, Internet Governance and freedoms online. The alert is a bi-weekly summary of the bookmarks posted on internet freedom on Delicious

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Coverage for May 21

If you're blogging about CFP -- or if you see other coverage -- please add it to the wiki. Thanks!

Get it on Slashdot!

  1. ????
  2. Get it on Slashdot
  3. Profit!

What techniques make it more likely for larger blogs to cover your story -- or link to you?

It's an example of Charismatic Content ... an important question for activists ... and something that several of us tried to solve last year at CFP as part of the Stop Real ID Now activism campaign, where despite working with the EFF, ACLU, and having folks like Bruce Schneier at the conference, we just couldn't get the story picked up by Slashdot until the very last moment.

So let's figure it out. And in the spirit of learning by doing, as an initial experiment, we're going to focus on Slashdot. Can we them to pick up Mike Godwin's recent article for Jewcy, I seem to be a verb: 18 years of Godwin's Law?

Initial ideas are on the CFP community wiki. Your thoughts welcome -- either here on the blog or the wiki!

PS: We'll also be discussing this at the social network workshop on Thursday

CFP08 on Twitter!

For those who have a twitter account, you can sign up to use this by 'following' the CFP08 channel at

For those who have never used twitter - this is seriously the simplest technology you will encounter in a while.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No trolling, flaming, and hate speech, please

With any luck at all, we'll be having some heated conversations about controversial topics. Please show respect for other participants, even if you disagree with their ideas, and for the readers of this blog. And please avoid trolling and flaming, as well as various forms of hate speech: racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-phobia, attacks on any religion or nationality, etc. etc.

Of course, the blogosphere being what it is these days, some people will probably ignore this. If they do, please don't respond to attacks; and please don't feed the trolls.

For definitions and additional discussion, see the resource page on dealing with hate speech, flaming, and trolls.

CFP coverage in the blogospheres, press, etc.

Blogging about CFP? Or have you seen some articles or posts about CFP?

We're tracking CFP coverage on the wiki. Please contribute!

Also, if you're blogging about CFP -- or adding entries to digg,, or other sites, please remenber to use the tag cfp08. Thanks!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Schedule for Social Network workshop

The schedule for Thursday's Workshop on Activism and Education Using Social Networks is now up on the wiki.

9:00 - 9:15 - Introduction by Deborah

9:15 - 9:45 Eric - the ACLU's experiences with activism and education campaigns

9:50 - 10:20 Jon - examples of social network activism, trolls, flaming, etc.

10:20 - 10:45 - Alex - Facebook

10:45 - 11:00 open discussion, Q & A

11:00 - 12:30 - multiple simultaneous hands-on sessions: create profiles, explore various social networks, Greg on promoting books, questions, other topics based on participants' interests

12:30 - 1:30 - lunch break

1:30 - 3:00 - multiple simultaneous hands-on sessions, create profiles, explore various social networks, Jon on dealing with trolls (etc.), questions, other topics, other topics based on participants' interests

3:00 - 3:30 - afternoon break

3:30 - 5:00 - closing discussion, led by Elizabeth: brainstorming - questions going forward, including how best to evolve social networks for activism purposes, and countering legislative threats

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Resources on hate speech and trolls

One of our goals for the Dealing with hate speech and trolls module I'm leading at the social network workshop next Thursday is to create a useful resource page. There are a lot of techniques that can help bloggers and moderators; and call me an optimist, but I really believe a shared understanding of past thinking and research in this area, and the facts and different perspectives in a lot of real-world experiences, can make a huge difference.

We'll hopefully have an online component to the workshop; specific technology (and the exact time of this session) still TBD.

But why wait? The resource page is up on the wiki now, with eight tips, links to a half-dozen experiences (including Kathy Sierra, Blackamazon, my own writeup of a successful community defense against trolls), some good references including foundational work from Susan Herring and Clay Shirky, and a selection of "best practice" moderation policies and tactics.

If you've got other suggestions, please add them -- directly on the wiki, or as a reply here.

And please also send this send this link around to others who might be interested .... Hate speech and trolling are huge problems right now in many areas of the web, and pooling our knowledge is a good first step for making some progress on it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dear Potus 08

Update, May 27: see the initial open letter to the presidential candidates, press coverage by Elise Ackerman in the San Jose Mercury News, and the overall Dear Potus plan.

From the in-progress page on the program wiki:

If the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy community wrote a letter to the next President of the United States about our priorities for technology policy, what would we say -- and how would we get him or her to read it?

There's only one way to find out.

At this year's conference dinner, we will launch a collaborative effort to write a short letter to the next President from the CFP '08 attendees. We'll get these initial results up on a wiki for comments and evolution, and refine them over the follwing 36 hours. By Friday morning, if we've managed to converge on something plausible, we'll start circulating the current draft for signatures. At the end of the conference, we'll mail the current draft to the presidential campaigns and invite their response.

We'll also put it all up on the web - with a Creative Commons "by" (attribution) license - and invite others to use it for whatever purposes they want as we revise our initial draft, get broader involvement and discussion, and try to get our voice heard amidst the din of the campaigns.
We'll be using this blog as a big part of the "Dear Potus 08" project, both to update the details -- currently described as "mostly TBD" -- and to discussparticular topics. The 9.5 theses thread is the best place to get involved with the technology policy discussion right now.

In this thread, any questions or thoughts about "Dear Potus 08" -- or links to similar projects?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clay Shirky to Deliver Closing Plenary

We are pleased to announce that Clay Shirky will deliver the closing plenary keynote at CFP Technology Policy '08.

Since the 1990s, Shirky has written, taught, and consulted on the social, cultural, and economic effects of Internet technologies and social media. His most recent book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, evaluates the significant role being played by technological advances on the formation and experience of modern group dynamics, citing such examples as Wikipedia and MySpace to demonstrate the Internet's power in bridging geographical and cultural gaps.

Shirky is an adjunct professor in NYU's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), where he teaches courses on the interrelated effects of social and technological network topology -- how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.

See more about Shirky at Wikipedia, BoingBoing, and on the Colbert Report.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Announcing: Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2008!

18th Annual CFP conference
May 20-23, 2008
Omni Hotel
New Haven, CT

What should the technology policy priorities of the next administration be?

As the choice of presidential candidates becomes clearer and election year moves towards a comparison of the candidates' platforms on the issues, technology policy is increasingly relevant to the forefront of public debate. In the areas of privacy, intellectual property, cybersecurity, telecommunications, and freedom of speech, topics that were once confined to experts now appear in the mainstream of political issues. We now know that our decisions about technology policy are being made at a time as the architectures of our information and communication technologies are still being built.

This year, the 18th annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference is focusing on those issues at the forefront of technology policy this election year. With plenary panels on the "National Security State and the Next Administration" and "The 21st Century Panopticon?" the discussions taking place look towards our present and future priorities.

CFP: Technology Policy '08 is an opportunity to participate in shaping those issues being made into laws and regulations and those technological infrastructures being developed. Policies ranging from spyware and national security, to ISP filtering and patent reform, e-voting to electronic medical records, and more will be addressed by expert panels of technologists, policymakers, business leaders, and activists. The panel topics are listed below and full panel descriptions are available on the conference website.

The CFP: Technology Policy `08 conversation has already begun in the virtual spaces connected to the conference: the CFP community wiki, a Facebook group, a LinkedIn group, and this blog. Even if you are unable to attend the conference this year, there are several opportunities to participate remotely. The guiding principles that ought to guide our policies are being debated on the conference blog -- see the 9.5 theses thread for an early example. The Yale Journal of Law and Technology is hosting a call for essays on the priorities of the next administration,. And the Workshop on Activism and Education using Social Networks has already started accumulating resources on the wiki, and will include remote participation during the conference.

Of course, if you can make it, it's even better being there in person.
We look forward to seeing you in New Haven on May 20-23.

Eddan Katz
CFP: Technology Policy '08 Program Chair

Hotel Conference Discount Deadline: May 1, 2008
Early Bird Registration: Fri., May 2, 2008
YJoLT Tech Policy Essay Contest: Mon., May 5, 2008

Conference program

Plenary sessions

  • Presidential Technology Policy: Priorities for the Next Executive
  • The 21st Century Panopticon?
  • The National Security State and the Next Adminstration

  • A Short History of Privacy
  • Constitutional Law in Cyberspace
  • e-Deceptive Campaign Practices: Elections 2.0
  • Maintaining Privacy While Accessing On-line Information

  • Activism and Education Using Social Networks

Panel sessions
  • Breaking the Silence: Iranians Find a Voice on the Internet
  • Charismatic Content: Wikis, Social Networks, and the Future of User-Generated Content
  • Filtering Out Copyright Infringement: Possibilities, Practicalities, and Legalities
  • Filtering and Censorship in Europe
  • Hate Speech and Oppression in Cyberspace
  • Interoperability at the Crossroads?: The "Liberal Order" versus Fragmentation
  • Law, Regulation, and Software Licensing for the Electronic Medical Record
  • Measuring Global Threats to Internet Freedom
  • Network Neutrality: Beyond the Slogans
  • New Challenges for Spyware Policy
  • Patents: The Bleeding Edge of Technology Policy
  • Privacy, Reputation, and the Management of Online Communities
  • Rights & Responsibilities for Software Programs?
  • States as Incubators of Change
  • "The Transparent Society:" Ten Years Later
  • Towards Trustworthy e-Voting: An Open Source Approach?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Workshop: Activism and Education Using Social Networks

As well as providing ways to stay in touch with friends and make new connections, social networking technologies are increasingly important for activism and education. This interactive workshop will look at social networks and other innovative avenues such as blogs, wikis, mashups, and virtual worlds - as well as the role of more traditional online communication mechanisms like email and discussion forums. It will cover these technologies and their larger implications; techniques for engaging others while dealing with challenges such as trolling, flaming, and privacy invasion; and a nuts-and-bolts introduction to utilizing these tools.

The Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Workshop on Activism and Education Using Social Networks will run in parallel with the concurrent sessions on Thursday, May 22. To accommodate those will be attending -- or presenting at! -- other sessions for different parts of the day, we're organizing the bulk of the workshop as a series of independent modules, covering different skills, and best practices for educators and activists. We'll also cover success stories, brainstorm challenges faced by attendees, and construct groups for CFP attendees to stay in touch as well as profiles and groups for several organizations attending.

Confirmed modules include Facebook and Promoting books (and potential books) on social networks. Other potential topics include mashups, screencasting, getting your site found on Google, and effective use of social network sites like Ning, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, and SecondLife. We're using the Modules page on the wiki to help organize this; please check it out for the current status -- and if you've got suggestions, please add them, either on the wiki or as comments on this thread!

One of our goals for the workshop is to make it valuable both for in-person participants and the 99.99999% of the world that will not be at CFP on that day. If technology allows it, we will set up the room so that people can participate remotely. Even more importantly, we'll be collecting information on the wiki, and encouraging discussions on various blogs and social network sites.

In the spirit of which, a couple of questions to kick things off:

  • what are some particularly good examples of educators and activists using social networks?
  • what skills or techniques do you think are important -- and are there any good online references?
Other topics welcome, of course. And please forward this on to others you think might be interested!

Reminder: deadlines this week

Hotel Discount Rate extended to today, Apr. 28, 2008
Early Bird Registration: Friday, May 2, 2008
YJoLT Tech Policy Essay Contest: Monday, May 5, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yale Information Society Project's 9.5 Theses for Technology Policy in the Next Administration

The theme of the 18th Annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference is "Technology Policy '08." To help shape public debate in this election year, the Information Society Project at Yale Law School recommends the following policy principles -
The 9.5 Theses for Technology Policy in the Next Administration

1. Privacy. Protect human dignity, autonomy, and privacy by providing individuals with control over the collection, use, and distribution of their personal information and medical information.

2. Access. Promote high-speed Internet access and increased connectivity for all, through both government and private initiatives, to reduce the digital divide.

3. Network Neutrality. Legislate against unreasonable discrimination by network providers against particular applications or content to maintain the Internet’s role in fostering innovation, economic growth, and democratic communication.

4. Transparency. Preserve accountability and oversight of government functions by strengthening freedom of information and improving electronic access to government deliberations and materials.

5. Innovation. Restore balance to intellectual property rules and explore alternative incentives to better promote innovation, freedom, access to knowledge, and human development.

6. Democracy. Empower individuals to fully participate in government and politics by making electronic voting consistent, reliable, and secure with voter-verifiable paper trails.

7. Education. Expand effective exceptions and limitations to intellectual property for education to ensure that teachers and students have access to innovative digital teaching techniques and educational resources.

8. Culture. Ensure that law and technology promote a free, vibrant and democratic culture, fair exchanges between different cultures, and individual rights to create and participate in culture.

9. Diversity. Limit media concentration and expand media ownership to ensure a diverse marketplace of ideas.

9.5 Openness. Support innovation and fair competition by stimulating openness in software, technological standards, Internet governance, and content licensing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bloggers wanted!

We're looking for bloggers:
  • before the conference, to discuss the issues and highlight relevant news stories; and
  • 'at the conference', to make information available to the people who aren't there

If there's a session that interests you, please add your name either in a comment here or on the wiki page along whether you'll be doing pre-conference or at-conference blogging (or both, of course) -- and feel free to include links to your blog!

No worries if there's already somebody else covering a topic; it's always good to have multiple perspectives.

So, jump in!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We're delighted to announce four tutorials scheduled for Tuesday, May 20:
Remember that you need to sign up for tutorials when you register ... and speaking of registration, remember that the early bird option goes on until May 2, one short week from now!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Program up on the CFP site

The tentative program has been posted on the CFP site, featuring four tutorials on Tuesday May 20; four plenary sessions and a total of 16 concurrent sessions on Wednesday May 21-Friday May 23; and an all-day social network workshop in parallel with the sessions on Thursday May 22.

Information is still very sketchy; details about the sessions will gradually be filled in as topics and speakers finalize. Please watch the CFP program page, the blog, or the Facebook group for more information.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Call for Essays on the Technology Policy of the New Administration

The Yale Journal of Law & Technology (YJoLT) is seeking essay-length submissions concerning the technology policy platform of the new American presidential administration. Essays selected for publication will appear in the Fall Issue of YJoLT (publication date November 2008).

Ideal submissions will discuss the priorities and guiding principles that American technology policy should follow. Submissions analyzing a particular technology policy issue in depth will also be accepted.

Essays of less than 5,000 words are preferred. Please submit all essays to yjolt.submissions(at) In the subject line of the email, please include the words CFP Essay.” The authors of essays selected for publication will be notified on a rolling basis. Any questions can be directed to Lara Rogers,

  • Deadline: Monday, May 5

Funding for Journalists - Deadline Monday

The Yale Law School Law and Media Program (LAMP) is offering an opportunity for journalists to receive full funding to attend CFP: Technology Policy ’08. CFP ’08 will begin with a full day of tutorials and programming specifically geared toward journalists writing about information technology and policy, followed by a networking reception for journalists and other participants in the Law and Media Program.

Journalists writing on privacy, intellectual property, telecommunications and cyberlaw are encouraged to apply for conference funding, which will include travel, hotel, meals and any registration fees for the full conference.

To apply, please send a cover letter explaining your interest in the program, along with your resume and three writing samples (by e-mail or hard copy) to Tracey Parr (tracey.parr(at), Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208215, New Haven, CT 06520-8215, by March 31, 2008. Up to twenty journalists will receive conference funding. Applicants accepted for conference funding will be notified by April 4, 2008.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Potential Session: Silicon Valley in Washington D.C.

Given the technology policy focus of the meeting, it would be useful to bring together industry representatives to share with us the concerns and goals of Silicon Valley's major companies with respect to Congressional legislation and at the administrative level.

I would imagine bringing together the public policy counsel from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Sun, and Apple to discuss their views of current goings on in D.C.

We could follow an "interview" format, with a moderator asking questions, such as:

1. What bills are you currently promoting or would you like to see in the future?

2. What are the biggest threats among the current legislative proposals?

3. Where are the largest differences of opinion among Silicon Valley-type companies?

4. What concerns do you have at the foreign or international level? Do you follow developments at WIPO closely?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Program committee introductions

The members of the program committee have their bios on the wiki; we'll also use this thread to introduce ourselves informally.

(Originally posted March 23; bumped to the top on March 26. Thanks to the one dozen program committee members who have introduced themselves so far.)

The unofficial reading list thread

What are the articles, papers, books, blogs people should think about reading before CFP? Ideally we'll have some pages on the wiki that track this ... for now, let's collect initial situations here in this thread.

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Oh drat": the post-deadline idea/discussion thread

The submission deadline has now passed, and we all know what's going to happen: people will suddenly start coming up with other great ideas for topics and speakers. Oh drat. Still, who knows -- maybe there will be be opportunities to integrate them with sessions being planned, or to replace speakers who have to drop out for some reason.

So please use this thread:
  • if there's a speaker you think would be great, please give a couple-sentence description of why, along with which topics they'd cover.
  • if there's a topic or session that you're worried we'll overlook, pleasedescribe it - along with ideas about potential people.
In either cases, links out to where you can find out more information are appreciated.

Potential topic: the matrix of oppression and the blogospheres

In sociology, the term "matrix of oppression" refers to the intersections of different dimensions of social inequality -- race, gender, etc. Race-related discussions of 2008 US presidential race provide concrete examples in the differing perspectives on statements [see below] by Michelle Obama, Geraldine Ferraro, Jeremiah White, and Bill O'Reilly in the women of color, black, feminist, and (largely white male-dominated) progressive and conservative blogospheres.

After an introduction to the concept and the context for the various statements, the panel will continue with:
  • a qualitative survey of the different reactions, highlighting both typical reactions and outliers
  • a quantitative analysis, using tools such as Microsoft Research's BLEWS
  • thoughts on the implications for discussions of technology policy: how to ensure that the different voices are heard?
By collecting links to primary sources and discussions on a wiki, this session will also assemble a valuable corpus that’s useful for anybody doing research in this area.

Update, March 26: Skewz, which describes itself as "a media rating site for political bias", is also an interesting potential source for quantitative analysis. I'm sure there are lots of others too. Please add suggestions as comments!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Potential topic: Voces Contra La FARC

The anti-FARC protests on February 4 involved millions of people throughout Columbia and around the world ... and were organized in about one month, starting on Facebook. Oscar Morales Guevara's group Un Millon De Voces Contra La FARC (A Million Voices Against FARC) now has over 300,000 members; Felipe and Daniel Echeverri created a “Un Millon” Facebook application to supplement the effort.

CFP's been discussing the power of the internet to change the world for eighteen years, and this is one of the largest-scale examples yet. And in a situation where governments are considering regulation of social networks (see CDT's overview of pending US legislation), the implications for technology policy are huge.

This would be a great topic for a panel in its own right, or a segment in a panel on social networks, hacktivism, or the influence of Facebook. Jennifer Woodard Maderazo's Facebook Becomes Catalyst for Causes, Colombian FARC Protest gives some broader context.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Potential activity: "Blasts from the past"

One of the amazing things about CFP is how many incredible people have spoken there over the years. When people suggest potential speakers, I frequently find myself responding "great idea! he/she spoke several years ago and it would be interesting to hear their current perspectives".

Alas, there aren't enough slots at conference to hear from everybody again -- especially since it's equally valuable to bring in new people and perspectives. But wait a second: it's 2008, why are we only thinking in terms of physical presence and standard conference formats?

"Blasts from the past" are either short self-produced videos (5 minutes or less) or essays (2 pages or less) from past speakers and participants. Everybody's invited to submit; we'll use mechanisms like digg,, number of views on YouTube, and (with luck) a Slashdot poll to select a handful to show/read at a cocktail hour at CFP, and play selections from the videos between sessions.

Of course, they'll also be available online to people whether or not they're at CFP; and the collection will make a fascinating snapshot of "what CFP-ers think of the world as of May 2008".

Potential session: online campaigning in the 2008 US elections

Looking through the submissions to date, there's nothing about online campaigning. I believe somebody's working on a panel from the international perspective; it could be useful to complement this with something US-focused, paying particular attention to social networks -- a significant difference from the 2006 election cycle.

An ideal moderator would be one of the few journalists who have covered this aspect of this campaign: Amy Schatz of WSJ, Linnie Rawlinson of CNN London, Ari Melber of The Nation, Nikki Schwab of US News and World Report, Farhad Manjoo of Salon, Sarah Lai Stirland on Wired's THREAT LEVEL, Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone, Tim Lebrecht on iPlot. [The articles I link to give a good overview of this with a focus on the presidential campaign.]

Any of the following could be good topics:
  • the different online approaches of the Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Ron Paul campaigns. It would be great to find a way to invite activists from each.
  • the role of the big commercial social networks: Facebook*, MySpace, YouTube.
  • issue-based advocacy, for example StepItUp and Courage Campaign's use of social networks for a variety of purposes
  • the progressive blogosphere's successes -- and internal stresses, highlighted by alegre's criticism of the attacks on dissenting views
  • the rise of the black blogosphere (see Reggie Royston's interview with Howard Witt for more)
  • the impact of social networks on delegate selection (see the comments for discussion)
[There are clearly a lot more possibilities as well; please put your suggestions, preferably with links, in comments.]

One of the reasons I think it's so important to cover this at CFP is so that we as a community can become more effective advocates for freedom and privacy. The huge amount of money and energy being poured into the current U.S. election cycle makes it a unique "lab" for examining the cutting edge campaigning techniques. Better understanding of this is vital for helping us influence technology policy.


* while not related to the US elections, Jennifer Woodard Maderezo's Facebook Becomes Catalyst for Causes, Colombian FARC Protest illustrates what can be done with today's Facebook

Friday, March 21, 2008

Proposals wanted: access to knowledge by the visually-impaired

Eddan posted on Facebook about an important topic where we don't yet have any relevant proposals, and I wanted to echo it here:

It also became evident last week at the World Property Organization (WIPO) that the problems for access to knowledge by the visually-impaired will be the first aspect of the exceptions to and limitations on copyright discussion/treaty at the next meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright. There is ample evidence of the problems blind people encounter in regards to access of materials and clear changes that be made in the law. This could be most efficiently and effectively done at the international level by setting minimum standards for exceptions to copyright for the visually impaired. The WIPO Copyright Committee in fact declared in their summary statement that "speedy action" would be necessary to deal with these issues.

Suggestions? Although the official deadline is today, we'll be accepting submissions over the weekend ...

International Topics at CFP '08

As conference chair, I thought that the theme of Technology Policy '08 would be a timely one. It is indeed a US-centric invitation to discuss the important issues facing cyberspace/information society as it wrapped up attention to the US election year cycle. This thread is intended to solicit people's opinions about how to best strike the balance between international issues and the Tech Policy '08 theme.

As I primarily deal with international issues in my work, I have come to appreciate the extent to which US tech policy influences the rest of the world. A better understanding of what technology policy 'is,' in the US electoral process, could help clarify international issues in both the multi-lateral and domestic contexts. If US politicians were more accountable to their decisions regarding tech policy, and felt pressure to have coherent and consistent views on these issues, the US position could possibly be influenced in UN institutions and free trade agreement negotiations.

Given this relationship of US policy and international CFP issues such as privacy, IP, telecom, etc., I see an important role for international issues and panels at the CFP. Panel proposals that reveal this dynamic would be particularly interesting. Even more welcome would be proposals on international issues that impact technology policy everywhere, including the US. It is my opinion that through such discussions, discussions at CFP can actually become less US-centric.

That's just my 2 cents [or insert other monetary unit here].

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Potential session proposal, v2: censorship, hate speech, and due process on social networks

My potential panel proposal on Facebook censorship and due process didn't generate any discussion here, but did get a couple of comments in social network sites: appreciation for the role play aspects, and a suggestion from Deborah that it would be interesting to look at other social networks as well. Indeed! So here's a different proposal, focusing on what resonated:

Different social networks have different policies and enforcement mechanisms, but similar issues come up: protests filed over harassment or hate speech, accounts being deactivated without notice. This role-playing session will illustrate several difficult cases, based on real-world examples. Participants will advocate on behalf of the parties -- the person accused of harassment, the victim -- and "judges" ruling on the claims.

To highlight the diversity of norms and processes, each case will be judged under the policies of multiple social networks, including commercial ones such LiveJournal, Facebook, Bebo, and World of Warcraft as well as non-profit ones. The list can be extended, and pre-conference online discussions -- and commentary during the sessions -- will allow us to get the input of the inhabitants of these different virtual worlds.
Thoughts about that?

Panel proposal: Privacy, Reputation, and the Management of Online Communities

The "Frank" who mentioned in the Autoadmit/Juicy Campus thread that he had submitted a panel on related topics turned out to be Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall Law School ... it's an excellent proposal, and so I asked for his permission to post excerpts here to spark discussion.

Here's the summary:
Reputation management online demands a certain measure of control over the revelation of personal information and its distribution across networks. Yet such control conflicts with values of free expression and many business models. How, then, can the individual interest in reputation and control of personal information be balanced against expressive and market values? This panel will address these issues in the context of recent developments in social networking and personalization technologies.
Panelists include Ann Bartow and Danielle Citron, and the detailed description lists some of the controversies (oh yeah!) they'll be discussing, including the AutoAdmit Harassment and Defamation Lawsuit, privacy concerns related to Google’s Acquisition of DoubleClick, and Facebook News Feed, Social Ads and Beacon.

Intriguing indeed, as well as relevant and timely. Or so it seems to me. What do others think?

And there are usually ways to improve any proposal, so what suggestions do people have: related topics, more controversies to consider, and so on?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Potential panel: Voting technology: the rest of the story

"Voting technology" is one of the suggested topics for CFP, and there's a long tradition of discussing this. In 2004, for example, there were three voting panels on voting at CFP including a mock election where Avi Rubin stole it from Lorrie Faith Cranor, or maybe the other way around. 2008's another election year, and there's at least one excellent proposal in the works. One of the things I've noticed, though, is that the most discussions of technology at CFP have focused on voting machines and internet voting -- critical, but only part of the story. So it might be good to think about a complementary session, something along the lines of ...

The 2008 US presidential campaigns illustrate many other issues related to election technology: ballot design issues ("Double Bubble Trouble" in California and Washington State), grassroots activists using blogs and social networks to call attention to issues in LA County and the potential Florida vote-by-mail election, innovative use of video and YouTube with the New Hampshire chain of custody and Prairie View A&M Waller County march. It also featured technology like flash polls on the internet, million-person-plus groups on Facebook, and prediction markets like Intrade and the Iowa Electronic Market that are at the very least "voting-like".

What implications do these technologies have for voting in the 2008 elections and beyond?

Thoughts? Suggested speakers? Other topics?

PS: the Facebook thread on this also has some interesting discussion.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Potential submissions in progress

Please use this thread as a catch-all for links to or one-paragraph summaries of potential submissions that people are working on.

If there's something you see here that catches your eye, please jump into the conversation!

Autoadmit and Juicy Campus

Merging a couple of suggestions from different Facebook threads, how about a speaker discussing issues related to Autoadmit (also known as and Juicy Campus? There's a wide range of opinions over the Autoadmit lawsuit (update here); recent discussions of Juicy Campus add additional issues such as the site's founder's desire for anonymity. The Autoadmit lawsuit sprung from Yale, so there's likely to be local interest; potential panelists include the folks quoted in the various articles.

This could conceivably be a session in it's own right, perhaps a lunchtime breakout; or it might make more sense as a slot in a broader session on cyberbullying.


Monday, March 17, 2008


The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has been a topic at CFP for over a decade ... this year, it's on YouTube and the front pages of the papers, complete a multi-month political battle over expanding authority and introducing retroactive immunity for telcos who complied with warrantless searches. (Current status here.) So it's especially timely.

What to discuss? Who to invite to discuss it?

On a thread on Facebook, Ben Masel mentioned that he had talked to Russ Feingold and (subject to Senate scheduling) he's interested in attending. If something like this can happen, it opens up a lot of possibilities: a fiery keynote, or a debate with a Senator or administration representative on "the other side" or perhaps a combination of sessions.

More elaborately, how about the idea of a workshop on Tuesday involving press, policy people, activists, and congressional staff on all sides of the issue, trying to break the logjam, with a two-part session later in the week: initially presenting the results, and then hearing a response from one or more Senators.

Or of course there's always a good ol' panel discussion, with different people focusing on aspects of the issue: a historical perspective (how have things changed from back in the 90s?), the status of email searches, the reinvention of TIA, whistleblowers, telco immunity ... this could be either a standalone session, or an introduction to a keynote or part of a larger workshop.

Or ... there are a lot of other possibilities.


Q&A about submitting proposals

Please use this thread for questions about the submission process; I, and others, will do our best to answer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Potential session proposal: Facebook censorship and due process

For people who haven't submitted proposals for a CFP session before, the process can seem daunting: an intimidating-looking form complete with questions about your "qualifications" for organizing the session. It's tempting to just go with the simpler topic or activity or speaker proposals, and of course that's always an option. Still, there's a lot of value in thinking about an entire session; and so over the next few days I'll be giving a few examples -- both to demystify the process and to give some additional examples.

Please feel free to jump in with questions, suggestions, or other perspectives.

I'll start with something that several people have suggested would be a natural for CFP: combining looking at Facebook censorship with law professor Daniel Solove's Facebook Banishment and Due Process. This fits squarely into the conference's "social networking" topic area, and clearly has technology policy implications: what, if any, rights do people have to the information in their profiles -- and as Facebook becomes synomymous with communications for an entire generation, what if any responsibilities does the company have to allow political speech? On top of that, it's squarely in the technology/law/policy nexus that's CFP's home -- and ripped from today's headlines! So it seems like a definite possibility.

The form asks for a title and a 75-word description, easy enough; and then asks for the proposed format: panel? debate? something else? A panel is always a safe option: me on the censorship stuff, somebody from Facebook, Solove or somebody else for the overall legal context, somebody providing a first amendment viewpoint (from Chilling Effects, the ACLU, the First Amendment Center). The mix of different perspectives could be quite illuminating ...

But y'know, CFP always has a lot of panels, and it's worth looking for other possibilities. Suppose instead we had a moot-court-like format, with a group of people who have been banned by the automated filters appealing to a hypothetical Facebook-like social network for a change in policy. Expert witnesses could providing testimony; some of real people actually affected by this would have a chance to get their perspectives heard. Court TV-like commentary could supplement it, and a three-"judge" panel of social network experts could rule ... not that it would be binding on Facebook, or anybody else, but still a very interesting result -- and a lot more concrete than anything that would come out of the panel discussion.

At this point, this sounds a lot more intriguing to me. If I decide to go forward with it, the next steps involve thinking more about potential participants and contacting some of them -- and massaging the rough thoughts here into the 75-word overview. Before I do that, though, I wanted to see what others thought. A few questions:
  • is this the kind of session you think would be interesting?
  • thoughts between panel and other formats?
  • other potential participants/twists?
Other ideas and suggestions welcome as well!


PS: also posted on Facebook (1, 2) and on

Funding for Journalists -- deadline March 31

From the CFP Wiki:

The Yale Law School Law and Media Program (LAMP) announces an opportunity for journalists to receive full funding to attend CFP: Technology Policy ’08.

Journalists writing on privacy, intellectual property, telecommunications and cyberlaw are encouraged to apply for conference funding, which will include travel, hotel, meals and any registration fees for the full conference.

To apply, please send a cover letter explaining your interest in the program, along with your resume and three writing samples (by e-mail and hard copy) to Tracey Parr (, Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208215, New Haven, CT 06520-8215, by March 31, 2008. Up to twenty journalists will receive conference funding. Applicants accepted for conference funding will be notified by April 4, 2008.

Monday, March 10, 2008

CFP around the web!

One of our goals for this year is to get more discussion going around on the web before, during, and after CFP. There's this blog, of course; we're also setting up CFP discussion groups on various social network sites. Here are a few of the early ones:
If you know of are others, or blog posts that discuss CFP, please add them as comments!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


CFP banner

From the web site for the 18th ACM conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, CFP: Technology Policy '08:

This election year will be the first to address US technology policy in the information age as part of our national debate. Candidates have put forth positions about technology policy and have recognized that it has its own set of economic, political, and social concerns. In the areas of privacy, intellectual property, cybersecurity, telecommunications, and freedom of speech, an increasing number of issues once confined to experts now penetrate public conversation. Our decisions about technology policy are being made at a time when the architectures of our information and communication technologies are still being built. Debate about these issues needs to be better-informed in order for us to make policy choices in the public interest.

This year, the 18th annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference will focus on what constitutes technology policy. CFP: Technology Policy '08 is an opportunity to help shape public debate on those issues being made into laws and regulations and those technological infrastructures being developed. The direction of our technology policy impacts the choices we make about our national defense, our civil liberties during wartime, the future of American education, our national healthcare systems, and many other realms of policy discussed more prominently on the election trail. Policies ranging from data mining and wiretapping, to file-sharing and open access, and e-voting to electronic medical records will be addressed by expert panels of technologists, policymakers, business leaders, and advocates.

More...CFP2008 is being held in New Haven, Connecticut, on May 20-23. Back in 2000 Elizabeth Weise called it "the most important computer conference you've never heard of"; Lorrie Faith Cranor's Ten Years of Computers, Freedom and Privacy gives the early history, where hackers, lawyers, law enforcement, and goverment representatives fought out "crypto wars" and internet censorship battles (ending with a defiant "we'll be back" from the Clinton adminstration as the Clipper Chip went to its well-deserved fate). Since then the conference has taken a progressively broader and more inclusive focus while moving in a more activist direction.

The call for presentations, tutorials, and workshops asks for proposals on panels, tutorials, speaker suggestions, and birds of a feather sessions through the CFP: Technology Policy '08 submission page. The deadline for panels tutorials, and speakers is March 21, 2008, and the birds-of-a-feather deadline is April 21. The submission process can seem a bit intimidating (this is an ACM conference and so it has some academic overtones) but the guidelines are helpful and have links to some examples.

We'll use this blog to give updates, discuss ideas for potential sessions, delve into particular topics, and introduce some of the people involved in CFP. One of the things we're really trying to do this year is to broaden participation, and that includes the people who aren't at the conference in person -- sure, there's nothing like being there, but between the blog, the wiki, and presence on various social network sites, hopefully it can be interesting and entertaining for people joining virtually as well.

More soon as we get this site and others fleshed out. For now, welcome!