Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG)
of the
IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT)

168 Civic Square Building, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

January 24, 2004, 10:30AM

(revised April 26, 2004)

1.   President Andrews welcomed the attendees. Attendees introduced themselves.

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved with the addition of one item.

3.   The minutes of the previous meeting (September 6, 2003) were approved.

4.   Past President's Report. (Clint Andrews)

(a)   New BOG Members

Jean Camp, Ken Foster, and Dave Morton were elected to the SSIT board of governors for the 2004-2006 term.

(b)   November TAB Meeting

The main item of the meeting was the approval of the revised allocation algorithm for revenue from the All Society Periodical Package. The funds from this package are distributed to societies based on three factors: how much a society's material is used, how much content the society has on the site, and a base level allocation. The base level allocation ensures that small societies are not overwhelmed by large societies. The new algorithm will be phased in gradually, with the algorithm implemented in full by 2007. The immediate impact of this is that SSIT is that there will be little change in funds allocated to SSIT. But in the long run we must continue to contribute material and generate downloads. Only downloads from institutions that subscribe to the All Society Periodical Package count for this. If other societies increase their usage or increase their content SSIT income will decrease. The allocation algorithm for print publications remains the same as before.

Discussion: Can we increase our content by publishing more electronically than we publish in print? No, IEEE is committed to consistency between electronic and print versions of publications.

(c)   Membership Increase

There was a nice addition of several hundred members last year, largely due to e-mail we sent to IEEE members that checked off a box on their renewal form indicating an interest in SSIT. We will try to do this again this year, but IEEE headquarters is no longer willing to solicit additional information from members who checked the box. SSIT will set up a form on its Web site to accept data from new members of SSIT. The collected data will be sent to IEEE for final processing. We should look at other sites that do this.

(d)   Increasing the Value of Membership

The membership survey of last summer showed that there is a need to increase the value of the society to SSIT members, especially overseas members. IEEE headquarters is setting up a collaborative Web site where members can interact on various topics. Ken Foster volunteered to coordinate the SSIT involvement in this.

The chair of the SSIT Japan chapter wants a visitor. Clint Andrews is going to China in June and could route his trip through Tokyo.

Motion: Approve expenditure up to $500 for Clint Andrews to add Japan to his itinerary. Approved.

5.   President's Report (O'Connell)

Jean Camp is active in the IEEE Intellectual Property Committee and has been asked that she be the SSIT representative to that group.

6.   Treasurer's Report (Stephan, by e-mail, reported by Andrews)

(See Attached) Membership is back up to 2000 members, where it was in January of 2001. We no longer have direct control of our reserves. Up until 2000 we were running a surplus, but in that year IEEE added greatly to what they charged us for administration expenses. This item jumped from $12.7 thousand in 1999 to $57.3 thousand in 2000 to $127 thousand in 2001. Our net worth has decreased to $165 thousand because IEEE corporate has eaten into it.

TAB meetings involve much discussion of these charges. IEEE corporate has a corporation view of this. This is another area of disagreement between IEEE staff and the membership. Perhaps SSIT members should get on the IEEE board. They need more fiscal responsibility. IEEE membership has dropped 7.5% in the past year.

The next SSIT BOG meeting will discuss how many pages per year should appear in T&S, how much libraries should be charged for it, and what the membership fee should be.

7.   Publications Report (Loui, by e-mail)

(a) Issues being Planned

(See Attached.) Five issues of T&S are currently being planned, two of these are special issues. It takes about a year lead time for a special issue.

Jean Camp proposed a special issue containing material from the UN World Summit on the Information Society. This summit has no published proceedings. It does have some Web page material and publishes some white papers, but there is good material that could be used for T&S. Jean was asked to create a formal proposal for a special issue.

The special issue on nanotechnology planned for Summer of 2004 is going well. The special issue for ISTAS 2003 is also on track. Some papers have not come in, but otherwise it is going well.

Should we have more pages in T&S ? This will be considered at the next meeting. The previous page increase seems to have worked out OK. There is a comfortable surplus of papers, but the editor is not sure that there are enough to support many added pages.

(b) Long Term Planning

Newsletter. The e-newsletter is a success. Karl Perusich was thanked for his work on it. The e-newsletter content should be coordinated with the content of T&S by providing Web links and possibly announcing Web communities to discuss topics of papers. Perhaps the authors of papers could be available for live on line discussions. Karl Perusich and Terri Bookman will discuss this.

Transactions. SSIT and possibly some other IEEE societies might jointly publish a transactions. The articles would be more technical and less edited than the articles that go into T&S. The content would not overlap other transactions nor overlap T&S. The survey of membership done in the summer shows an interest in such a publication.

Discussion: there is danger of splitting what we have into less effective small pieces. We need to do more market research. Perhaps T&S should just be renamed "Transactions on ..." But this is impractical. There appears to be a gap between detailed studies of social implication of various technologies and the general articles of T&S. Another possibility is to have an existing transaction create a special issue on such topics, possibly one of the SMC Transactions. SMC has three transactions already and has been contemplating creating a fourth. There is precedent for a magazine publishing technical material. T&S could occasionally have a section called "Transactions..."

Clint Andrews was asked to further explore this issue.

Web Site. The SSIT Web site needs to have better pointers to our publications. The list of papers in past ISTAS conferences needs to be finished. Jean Camp suggests that we submit material to CITE-SEER and SSRN (Social Sciences Research Network).

One of Michael Loui's students will evaluate our Web site and make suggestions. Terri Bookman has looked at other Web sites for ideas about the design of the site for T&S. There are many possibilities about what to do. More sophisticated software is needed for this. Macromedia's Dreamweaver was suggested. There was discussion of what we really want on the T&S Web site and the SSIT Web site.

New Format. A mockup of the new format for T&S was presented.

8.  Conference Reports

ISTAS 2003, Amsterdam. This was an interesting conference and topic. The attendees were mostly architects and policemen. The dominant theme was not traditional SSIT topics, but there were some good papers on these topics. There were about one hundred attendees. Financially we came out even, except for the possible loss of revenue due to the lack of a proceedings.

The organizers of the conference did not produce a proceedings, which leaves SSIT with a hole in its proceedings series. This might cause some problems with libraries and others that expect an annual proceedings and leaves us with no material for electronic publication. These effect combine to cause a projected $10,000 loss. There is the fear that IEEE might drop the proceedings from the library package. There is the danger that future conferences will be less attractive unless this one produces a proceedings. We could pull together a proceedings from the conference through some effort. Authors will have to be approached, copyright forms will have to be collected and material will have to be edited.

Motion: Up to $3,000 be spent in organizing a proceedings for ISTAS 2003. Approved

Janet Rochester and Terri Bookman will possibly find a contractor to do this work.

Michael Sheldon of the Superior Court of Connecticut, who was an invited speaker at the conference, wrote a letter complementing the conference and its organizers.

Foundation of Ethics Conference, Austin, Texas 2004. The Foundation of Ethics conference at University of Texas, Austin will be held April 16, 2004. It will have a session on SSIT topics. Joe Herkert and Janet Rochester will speak at the session. Carl Stephan needs to know soon about SSIT members who are attending the conference. The Web site of the conference needs give higher visibility to the SSIT portion of it.

The Spring BOG meeting will be held on April 17th at University of Texas, Austin, the saturday after this conference.

ISTAS 2004, Worcester, MA. The conference will be held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. This is an attractive venue. The organizing committee is on top of things for this conference. They have submitted all IEEE paperwork that is needed and is working hard on the conference. The deadline for papers is the end of January, 2004.

Power Engineering Society General Meeting. Joe Herkert has been invited to speak at and chair one session on "Corporate ethics in the Power Industry." The power engineering society has asked us to split the costs of this session with them. This session will be a good source for papers for T&S.

Motion: Split Joe Herkert's travel expenses to the Power Engineering Society Conference up to $600. Passed.

ISTAS 2005. There is a possibility of an ISTAS conference in Los Angeles. There is no firm commitment yet, but Loyola Marymount has expressed some interest. The topic of the conference would be "Engineering Ethics". Other Los Angeles schools might contribute to the conference.

9.  Society Survey Results Discussion

Engel (e-mailed comments): Web links are badly needed in the magazine. There needs to be additional content on the Web. A new member letter and information packet is needed. IEEE will mail these out if we produce them.

Motion: That funds up to $1000 be allocated to produce and mail a welcoming letter and information packet to new members. Approved.

There should be a section of the magazine or the e-newsletter listing specific volunteer opportunities. We need to have more joint meetings with other organizations and the meetings need more publicity. More regional chapters and regional conferences are needed.

Bob Brook (e-mailed comments): SSIT has odd demographics. We have the highest percentage of Ph. D.s of any society. But what we do may be irrelevant to the working engineer.

10.  Committee Reports

Fellow Nominations. T&S has an announcement about the process. We should take an active role in evaluating prospective fellows on policy/social issues, even when nominated by another society. But it is not clear if prospective fellows must be evaluated only by the society that nominated them.

Membership. Membership is increasing. See the treasurer's report.

Technology and Public Policy. The Hydrogen Economy Symposium we are co-sponsoring will be held April 19 and 20. This is a conference on the possible implications of a hydrogen economy. The content looks good. It is unclear how much co-sponsoring the symposium will affect us financially.

The FBI is asking that they be allowed to look at all the data that internet service providers have. The alternative is for them to specify exactly what they are interested in and have the internet service provider filter the information before they see it. The FBI expects to use their DCS1000 program (formerly called Conivor) to look for terrorist activity. Allowing the FBI unfettered access to Internet data should not go unchallenged.

Motion: Form an ad hoc committee to study the issue of DCS 1000 and the FBI's use of data from internet service providers. Approved.

Ethics. (Unger) The people involved with the Ethics Help Line are informally talking about a virtual community devoted to ethics. SSIT should be involved with this.

PACE. No report.

Chapters. The Boston chapter has become active. The Japan chapter is active (see Past President's Report).

11.  Old Business

No old business.

12.  New Business

The president has been asked to designate a director for Division 6. Clint Andrews was nominated for this position.

Iran: IEEE has withdrawn all membership services from Iran except that they can receive print publications, as per requirements of the US Treasury Department and the advice of IEEE USA lawyers. IEEE petitioned OFAC for clarification of their requirements, and OFAC replied that IEEE could not provide various services to Iranian members without licenses for each service from OFAC. Later OFAC issued a stronger ruling that IEEE cannot edit or collaborate with Iranians. A September 2003 ruling by the Treasury department says that IEEE has correctly followed Treasury rules and that these rules are legal. However, other learned societies such as the American Physical Society has ignored Treasury rules. An article in Science magazine discusses this issue.

Motion: Form an ad hoc committee to study the OFAC rules with a view toward creating a resolution. Approved.

A collaborative Web group should be formed to discuss this issue.

13.  Next Meeting

The next meeting is on Saturday, April 17, 2004 at the University of Texas, Austin.

14.  Adjournment

Clint Andrews was thanked for his service as President of SSIT and presented with an IEEE Past President Pin. All SSIT past presidents will be given a pin.

The meeting adjourned at 2:10PM.

Attendees at the Meeting
* = @
Clint Andrews Past President c.j.andrews*ieee.org
Terri Bookman T&S Managing Editor t.bookman*ieee.org
Jean Camp BOG  
Joe Herkert Editor of T&S joe_herkert*ncsu.edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell*ieee.org
Brian O'Connell President oconnellb*ccsu.edu
Karl Perusich BOG kperusic*galaxyinternet.net
James Pfafflin BOG  
Julian Reitman Division V jreitman*stam.nconn.edu
Janet Rochester BOG j.rochester*ieee.org
Ken Foster BOG  
Steve Unger BOG unger*cs.columbia.edu