CPSR Wraps It Up

The Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (known as CPSR) has decided to wind up, having pushed for responsible – and notably peaceful – uses of information technology for over 30 years. As they say in their notice, back in 1981 there was no one else with their message. Now there are many – though the task remains to be done.

As the official announcement states:

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…

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.

What Canadian organizations have a similar mandate?


  1. David Collier-Brown

    The Canadian chapter of the Internet Society has a mandate that overlaps a good chunk of the “big tent” that CSPR came to represent.

    It was launched on April 15th of this year, and lives at http://www.internetsociety.ca/

    –dave (a member) c-b