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.
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. This year's chair, with perfect timing during an U.S. election year, the focus will be on the role of technology in society.
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.