Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG)
of the
IEEE Society on the social Implications of Technology (SSIT)
June 19, 2004 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

(Corrected Sept. 25, 2004)

1.   The meeting was called to order at 1:30 PM. President O'Connell welcomed the attendees. Attendees introduced themselves.

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved.

3.   The minutes of the previous meeting (April 17, 2004) were corrected and approved.

4.   President's Report (Brian O'Connell)

(a)   CPSR Agreement

The sister society agreement with the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, which the Board of Governors approved at the last meeting, has been sent on to IEEE but has not yet come back from them.

(b)   Power Engineering Society

The Power Engineering Society is interested in continuing work with us. The Hydrogen Economy Symposium (April 2004, Washington, DC) went well, and the Power Engineering Society is pleased with SSIT's involvement. Bob Dent (PES) and Clint Andrews (SSIT) worked together on this. Joe Herkert spoke at the Power Engineering Society annual meeting.

(c)   Product Safety Engineering Society

The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society will have their first conference in Santa Clara, California in early August. SSIT will be technical co-sponsors of this, with no financial involvement. At the last meeting, the Board of Governors approved $3000 each so that that Joe Herkert and Brian O'Connell attend and speak at this meeting

(d)   International Federation for Information Processing

International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) is mostly a European organization. Jerry Engel works with some of their groups. Brian O'Connell has been asked to be part of a working group on Information Technology and Professional Codes.

(e)   National Institute for Engineering Ethics

The National Institute for Engineering Ethics is interested in working with SSIT on several issues. Michael Loui (SSIT BOG) is on their Executive Board. They have various educational activities. They produced the video Incident at Morales, a video designed for educational purposes which features a fictional case that highlights issues in engineering ethics.

(f)   Technical Activities Board (TAB)

(i) Brian O'Connell has been appointed to the Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB). They are talking about digitizing everything. IEEE staff would like nearly everything to be in digital form.

(ii) Open publishing and open access is still under discussion. Under these proposals, everyone has free access to Xplore. However, authors or their institutions will pay $2K to $3K for each paper published. This works well in the field of biology, it is claimed. There are bills in Congress that would require all government publishing to be open source. Another proposal is to follow the Apple iTunes idea and have a low price for each paper downloaded.

(iii) IEEE seems to be de-emphasising the societies and centralizing control. They suggest combining some of the small societies. (Oddly, SSIT is not on their list, yet.) Brian O'Connell will meet with some other societies to discuss this issue.

5.   Past President's Report (Clint Andrews)

Clint Andrews is on the slate for Division 6 Director. Also, Clint is on the Geosensors Society Council and asked if any of us are interested in being a representative to that society.

6.   Treasurer's Report (Karl Stephan)

(See attachment.) Our finances are steady, possibly a little behind. Last years ISTAS made about $6K, but this year's will loose about the same amount. There is no immediate crisis.

There has been a 4.5% decline in all IEEE society's membership. But we have experienced a 3.3% increase in the past year. We are one of only three societies that show a gain. We sent out another membership invitation this year. This offers a free half year membership. We got about 200 members due to last year's offer.

7.   Publications Report

(a) Status of Technology and Society Magazine

(See attachment.) There have been a good number of submissions, but the quality may be down. We have a proposal for a special issue from the groups in Europe that are holding the First International Workshop on Sustainable Pervasive Computing (SPC 2004), and suggest that it will provide enough material for a special issue. Pervasive computing is where computing is part of the environment and of ourselves.

Motion: Approve a special issue on pervasive computing. (Approved.)

The T&S issue on ISTAS 2004 is also scheduled for next year.

(b) Electronic Newsletter

The last e-newsletter has been sent out. Should the newsletter be ordinary ascii or should it be Adobe PDF? The BOG suggested that it be mainly ascii, with a link to a PDF version.

8.   Conference Reports

(a) Austin, Texas, April 2004 (Stephan)

This was a very good meeting. We hope to have more regional meetings similar to this and the one last year (April 2003) in Urbana. These are not full ISTAS symposia, but small meetings done in conjunction with a BOG meeting.

(b) Los Angeles, California, April 2004

The December BOG meeting will be on the campus of Loyola Marymount, Los Angeles, California. We should plan on a regional meeting at the same time. Philip Chmielewski is our contact for this. Airfair to Los Angeles is fairly cheap. Perhaps there could be a student reception and presentation of papers by students and faculty. This would be on one day, and the BOG meeting would be the next.

This will be further discussed by e-mail. The dates are not yet set.

(c) ISTAS 2005, Los Angeles, CA

This will be held at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Los Angeles. Several organizations may get together with us for this to help with finances and organization. The audio/visual facilities may be completely sponsored. There is a student help organization that can be used instead of paid registration staff. The Dean of LMU is enthused about the conference and about the regional/BOG meeting. On campus housing may be possible at nominal cost. We are hoping that there will be scholarships for student presenters.

The Crime Prevention through Environmental Design organization is interested in doing something in this conference. They are the group that cosponsored ISTAS 2003. Their US headquarters is in New Haven, CT.

The ASME/Technology and Society Division may also be interested. Byron Newberry will pursue this.

(d) ISTAS 2004, Worcester, MA

We have no numbers yet. It was a well run, well presented conference, but with less attendance than hoped. There may be up to a $10K loss. There are several reasons for the poor attendance. Several other conferences were held at about the same time, such as ASEE in the next week. We were expecting many more people interested in international education, but they did not come. Planning was done for too many people, which cost us money in committed facilities and food. The conference was run by a quasi-independent conference facility at the university, which added to cost. Such conference centers should not be ruled out in the future, but need to weighed carefully against other possibilities.

The main lesson is to plan on the right number of attendees. One hundred twenty five attendees is about the most ISTAS has ever had, and only then twice. We should be careful not to expect many additional attendees coming from a co-sponsoring organization.

Motion: Underwrite expenses up to a maximum of $1500 for Irving Lerch and Swamy Laxminarayan for attendance and presentations at ISTAS 2004. (Passed)

9.   Committee Reports

(a) Nominations. No report.

(b) Fellows Committee

Jerry Engel has resigned from the committee due to conflict of interest. Irv Engelson has be asked to join the committee.

(c) Membership

See the Treasurer's Report for numbers. IEEE has offered to conduct a membership survey, as they have in the past. This will help us determine why members leave and what people hope for in their membership. Clint Andrews will coordinate this. The previous report is being studied by the Society Development Committee.

(d) Virtual Community

Clint Andrews is in charge of the committee that is doing work with this. He has asked for volunteers. The virtual community consists of bulletin boards, photographs, fora, papers and other on-line resources. NCTE has an effective virtual community, perhaps we should study what they have done.

(e) Chapters

A student chapter at the University of Arizona is working with Carl Perusich. The Boston chapter is still under development.

(f) Awards (no report)

(g) Ethics (Steve Unger)

Sal Castro won the Barris Awards in 1996, for pointing out a defect in a respirator for infants and getting fired because of this. His case went to trial, but was dismissed. The goal of the trial was to establish a precedent in Pennsylvania. GAP may enter the case. IEEE and others may file an amicus brief.

(h) PACE (no report)

10.   Liaison Reports

(a) IEEE Committee on Communications and Information Policy (CCIP) (Jean Camp)

This is a committee that many members don't know about. Jean could perhaps write a column on it for T&S. This might be an interview with the committee chair.

Their Web site is at http://www.ieeeusa.org/committees/CCIP/

(b) Division X and Control Systems (no report)

(c) Circuits Society (no report)

(d) Society Development Committee

The committee met with a conference call. They discussed new ideas for the society and outreach. A report is promised for the September BOG meeting.

11.   Old Business

No old business.

12.   New Business

Rae Schipke is chairing an ad hoc committee on education, focusing and pre-college. There are NSF programs that sponsor such work.

Byron Newberry is chairing a new committee on student membership. There are 151 student members as of March 2004. Stressing humanitarian and environmental aspects may help involve students. Byron would like e-mail access to students. We should target students for the virtual community. SSIT members should volunteer to speak at SSIT student chapter meetings.

Steve Unger discussed electronic voting and its problems. Electronic voting is subject to windows-type errors, incompetent software and hardware, attack by hackers, and deliberate attempts by manufacturers to corrupt elections. There is potential for huge problems. It would be nice if SSIT worked on this and joined CPSR on this. Bob Brook (SSIG BOG) is working on this. Jean Camp mentioned the standards group for electronic voting. When it meets, all the vendors show up. SSIT members could join and be influential.

Susan O'Donnell (National Research Council, Canada and SSIT member) discussed the possibility of ISTAS 2006 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. The subject of the symposium could be "e-government and e-citizenship." There are many subjects of interest to SSIT members that fall into this theme. A formal proposal may be forthcoming.

Swamy Laxminarayan discussed the International Federation of Medical and Bioengineering (IFMBE). He is a member of their board. He proposed that SSIT become a member of that Federation. Their next meeting is in July, in Naples. They have various technical assessment committees that may interest us.

The IFMBE World Congress drew 3,000 to 4,000 attendees. The next congress is in 2006 in Seoul, Korea. SSIT should consider technical co-sponsorship, or sponsor a session or tack.

Another congress SSIT might be interested in is the International Congress on Medical and Care Compunetics (ICMCC). The next one is at The Hague, June 2005. This conference is endorsed by IFMBE. The Web pages is at icmcc.org. The congress features clusters of workshops on various topics. SSIT could sponsor a workshop. Swamy is designated to represent us to this group.

13.   Next Meeting Data and Place

The next Board of Governor's meeting will be Saturday, Sept 11, 2004 at Columbia University, New York City.

14.   Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 PM.

Attendees at the June19, 2004 Meeting
Terri Bookman T&S Managing Editor    t.bookman#ieee.org
Roberta Brody BOG roberta_brody#qc.edu
Ken Foster member kfoster#seas.upenn.edu
Joe Herkert Editor T&S joe_herkert#ncsu.edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell#ieee.org
Swamy Laxminarayan IEEE member S.N.Laxminarayan#ieee.org
Byron Newberry member Byron_Newberry#Balor.edu
Robert Newcomb CAS Society newcomb#eng.umd.edu
Brian O'Connell Vice President oconnellb#ccsu.edu
Susan O'Donnell member susan.o-donnell#nrc-cm-gc.ca
Karl D. Stephan SSIT Treasurer kdstephan#txstate.edu
Rae Schipke member schipker#ccsu.edu
Steve Unger Board of Gov. unger#cs.columbia.edu
A. David Wunsch Book Review Editor, T&S David_WUNSCH#UML.edu