IEEE USA News
 IEEE-USA
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202 - Washington, DC 20036-5104
Tel: +1 202 785 0017 - Fax: +1 202 785 0835
Web: http://www.ieeeusa.org
 
Greg Hill, Member & Electronic Communications Coordinator
g.hill@ieee.org, 202-785-0017, ext. 8335 www.ieeeusa.org
 
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CONTENTS
- BEST Partnership Supports Building a Stronger,
More Diverse U.S. Workforce
- IEEE-USA SEEKS ADDED SAFEGUARDS AGAINST MISUSE OF HEALTH
INFORMATION
- *IEEE-USA TODAY* August 2002
- IEEE-USA Remains Opposed to UCITA, Despite Amendments
- IEEE-USA Remains Opposed to UCITA, Despite Amendments
- IEEE-USA Focuses on Technology Policy Issues in 2002
- IEEE-USA NEWS **Building Careers & Shaping Public Policy**
 
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BEST Partnership Supports Building a Stronger,
More Diverse U.S. Workforce
 
WASHINGTON (4 October 2002) - As the U.S. engineering and science
workforce ages, it is imperative that our nation work to replace them by
recruiting an increasing percentage of women and minorities.
 
That is the workforce challenge outlined in The Quiet Crisis, a report
written by Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and member of the executive committee of BEST (Building
Engineering and Science Talent).
 
The report, available at
http://www.bestworkforce.org./PDF_docs/Quiet_Crisis.pdf, took center stage
at a special Capitol Hill hearing on 26 September before BEST National
Leadership Council co-Chairs Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Connie
Morella (R-Md.).
 
According to The Quiet Crisis, white males represented 40 percent of
the overall workforce in 2000, but comprised nearly 70 percent of the
science and engineering (S&E) workforce. White females made up about 35
percent of the entire workforce, but only about 15 percent of the S&E
workforce. The disproportion extended to African Americans, Hispanics,
Native Americans and persons with disabilities. These groups made up 24
percent of the population, but just 7 percent of the S&E workforce.
 
All told, women and under-represented groups make up a half to
two-thirds of the U.S. population. "If the intellectual talent inherent in
this new majority were identified, nurtured and encouraged," Jackson wrote,
"the projected gap of scientists and engineers would be filled."
 
BEST, launched in September of 2001, is a public-private partnership
dedicated to building a stronger, more diverse U.S. workforce in science,
engineering and technology by increasing the participation of
under-represented groups. For more information, go to www.bestworkforce.org
 
 
IEEE-USA SEEKS ADDED SAFEGUARDS AGAINST MISUSE OF HEALTH
INFORMATION
 
WASHINGTON (26 August 2002) ? IEEE-USA supports the introduction of
additional safeguards into currently drafted legislation or a tightening of
current Health and Human Services privacy regulations to protect against
the misuse of genetic and other health information by employers that could
lead to unfair discrimination in the workplace, according to Frank
Ferrante, chair of the organization's Medical Technology Policy Committee
(MTPC). Ferrante cited a position of the MTPC adopted by IEEE-USA's Board
of Directors on 20 August.
 
 
According to the IEEE-USA Board, under certain circumstances,
employers should be restricted from requiring, requesting, collecting,
purchasing or otherwise obtaining health information about an individual or
the individual's family members because such practices could result in
unfair discrimination in the workplace. IEEE-USA stated that permission for
obtaining health information should be based on whether the requested
information is related to a job position, required to support workplace
health and safety monitoring, and necessary for other health research
activities -- for which the employer should only receive aggregate data,
not revealing the identity of individual employees.
 
 
According to IEEE-USA, employers now are able to obtain unrestricted
access to an individual's health information by requiring that an applicant
sign a general medical release following a conditional offer of employment.
If the conditional offer is withdrawn, the organization held, an
"individual usually has no legal right to an explanation of the reason for
withdrawal."
 
 
IEEE-USA took special note of the lack of protections against
employment discrimination based on sensitive health information relating to
an individual's genes. It argued "the current situation discourages the
public from seeking out the benefits of genetic testing and impedes the
widespread adoption of genetics technologies and the advancement of
genetics research."
 
 
Further, the organization recommended that employers obtain voluntary
written consent from individuals who are requested to undergo medical tests
and measurements. IEEE-USA would put the burden of proof on the employer to
specify the following: purpose of the test or measurement; details of the
analyses to be performed; applicable privacy policies and possible
ramifications of the test results; details regarding the storage and
destruction of test samples; process for gaining access to test results and
correcting errors in records; and proof of the testing program's compliance
with applicable government regulations.
 
 
The organization would also add safeguards against discrimination in
employment decision-making where an individual's health information may be
a contributing factor. According to IEEE-USA, employers should be required
to inform an applicant in writing of the reason for retracting a
conditional offer of employment. In addition, IEEE-USA would restrict
employers from making employment-related decisions based on health "except
in cases where that information is necessary to support workplace health
and safety or to demonstrate an individual's ability to perform a specific
job."
 
 
Finally, the organization urged economic incentives be minimized that
encourage employers to obtain non-job-related health information for use in
their employment decision-making, such as in the determination of group
health insurance rates.
 
 
Drexel University joins IEEE Education Partners Program
 
Drexel University, Philadelphia's technological university, has become the
newest IEEE Education Partner. IEEE members can now continue their life
long learning with selected graduate-level, credit courses provided online
by Drexel at a 10% discount. Current online programs offered to IEEE
members through Drexel e-Learning, the university's online subsidiary,
include Masters of Science in Information Science/Systems and Management
and Certificate Programs. Tom Samph, President of Drexel e-Learning said:
"This unique collaboration with IEEE reflects our joint commitment to
offering educational opportunities to engineering professionals; providing
them the skills and knowledge needed to advance in today's
technology-driven environment."
 
In 2000 Drexel became the first major U.S. university to operate a fully
wireless CyberCampus. The e-Learning program draws on the Drexel's
110-year tradition in preparing engineers for successful careers. With 11
colleges and schools, 175 degree programs and approximately 16,000
students, Drexel is one of America's leading private, non-profit academic
and research institutions.
 
Applications, course prerequisites, and systems requirements are detailed
at the Drexel-supplied website for IEEE members. You must use your IEEE
member number to receive the 10% discount.
 
Enter through the IEEE Educational Partners,
http://www.ieee.org/EduPartners, and choose Drexel from the university
partners. To learn more about the IEEE Education Partners Program contact
Sasha Eydlin, IEEE Educational Activities, s.eydlin@ieee.org.
 
Lynn Murison
Outreach Coordinator, IEEE Educational Activities
ph: 1.732.562.6526
www.ieee.org/organizations/eab/
 
 
*IEEE-USA TODAY* August 2002
YOUR Monthly U.S. IEEE MEMBER E-ZINE on
"Building Careers & Shaping Public Policy"
http://www.ieeeusa.org
(Subscribe/unsubscribe information at end of message)
=====================================================
 
1. IEEE-USA PRESIDENT'S COLUMN: HOW MEMBERS CAN TAKE UNEMPLOYMENT CONCERNS
TO LAWMAKERS
LeEarl Bryant urges members to take up the challenge of fighting
engineering unemployment in the halls of Congress.
 
Read the IEEE-USA President's Column, "Make Your Voice Heard," at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/newspubs/presidentscolumn/bryantaug02.html.
 
2. IEEE-USA CONTINUES TO OPPOSE UNIFORM COMPUTER INFORMATION TRANSACTION
ACT
IEEE-USA remains opposed to the Uniform Computer Information Transaction
Act (UCITA) despite amendments to the proposed model state law passed by
the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws the week of
29 July.
 
Go to the news release at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/2002/080902pr.html.
 
 
3. PRODEVCON, LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP ARE SET FOR MARCH 2003
The 2003 IEEE-USA Professional Development Conference (PRODEVCON) and the
2003 IEEE-USA Leadership Workshop are set next year for 27-28 March and
28-30 March, respectively. Both events will be held at the Hilton Seattle
Airport, in Seattle Washington.
 
View the conference calendar at http://www.ieeeusa.org/conferences.
 
 
4. IEEE-USA SUPPORTS TENNESSEE ENGINEERING CENTER DEDICATION
IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant was in Nashville on 30 July, to speak at
the dedication of the new Tennessee Engineering Center (TEC), and presented
a $1,000 check to the TEC on behalf of IEEE-USA.
 
Go to the news release and see photos from the event at
http://ieeeusa.org/releases/2002/072602pr.html.
 
 
5. ENGINEERING UNEMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE ATTRACTS WIDESPREAD MEDIA ATTENTION
IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant's recent letter to all Members of Congress
addressing record unemployment among U.S. electrical engineers and computer
scientists has garnered national media attention, including write-ups in
THE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, THE BOSTON GLOBE, Java Developer's Journal and
Slashdot.com.
 
See the writeups at http://www.bayarea.com/mld/bayarea/business/3837145.htm
>;
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/204/business/Congress_asked_to_review_IT_field+.shtml
>; http://www.sys-con.com/java/; and
http://slashdot.org/articles/02/07/25/1356250.shtml?tid=.
 
 
6. *IEEE-USA TODAY'S ENGINEER* FOR AUG.-SEPT. SPANS TEAM ENGINEERING TO
BROADBAND FUTURES
See the latest articles by former IEEE SPECTRUM Publisher Don Christiansen
and EE TIMES People Editor Terry Costlow.
 
Go to the Aug.-Sept. issue at http://www.todaysengineer.org/.
 
 
IEEE-USA Remains Opposed to UCITA, Despite Amendments
WASHINGTON (9 August 2002) - IEEE-USA remains opposed to the Uniform
Computer Information Transaction Act (UCITA) despite amendments to the
proposed model state law passed by the National Conference of Commissioners
on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in Tucson, Ariz., the week of 29 July.
 
According to IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant, the amended UCITA still
fails to address several fundamental IEEE-USA concerns:
 
¨ UCITA turns a sale of goods into a licensing transaction, which
permits software publishers to enforce contract provisions contained in
"click through" and "shrink-wrap" licenses that may not be disclosed to
consumers prior to purchase. Such provisions may be burdensome or
unreasonable, but place the burden on the purchaser to display that they
are legally "unconscionable" or "against fundamental public policy."
Failure to require a pre-transaction disclosure of terms is one of the main
reasons why UCITA received a negative report by the American Bar
Association's UCITA Task Force earlier this year.
 
¨ UCITA, as amended, now recognizes the right to reverse engineer
software for purposes of interoperability, but justification for other
reasonable reverse engineering practices (e.g., privacy protection,
security or compliance verification, academic research or instruction,
reporting or remediation of flaws, etc.) are still not explicitly
protected.
 
¨ Although the use of "self-help" measures (i.e., a software company's
ability to turn off your software remotely if it suspects a license
violation) would now be restricted by amendment, software companies are
still free to design "back doors" into their software for that purpose and
limit company liability if those "back doors" are misused, by themselves or
others. With so much critical national infrastructure (e.g., water,
electricity, telecommunications, health information systems) dependent on
commercial and custom software, this loophole heightens security risks and
makes the nation vulnerable to potentially crippling cyber attacks.
 
"Electrical engineers and computer scientists rely on software to aid
in the complex technical analysis and development their jobs requires,"
IEEE-USA's Bryant said. "UCITA could undermine these technical
professionals' efforts to ensure the security of critical information
systems."
 
Among the new amendments are provisions that would ensure that state
consumer protection laws take precedence over UCITA license provisions, as
well as amendments to make unenforceable license terms that seek to
restrict the right to criticize information products or to reverse engineer
software for purposes of product interoperability, which were championed by
IEEE-USA in Virginia in 2000.
 
Maryland and Virginia adopted UCITA, with amendments, in 2000. "The
current NCCUSL amendments are designed to more closely harmonize the model
law with the versions adopted in Maryland and Virginia," said Bryant, "in
hopes of breathing new life into the law, which stalled in other states
during 2001-02 legislative sessions."
 
UCITA is designed to regulate commercial transactions involving
intangible goods such as computer software, online databases and other
digital information products. The law was adopted by NCCUSL in 1999 after a
joint effort with the American Law Institute to expand the Uniform
Commercial Code broke down.
 
After early efforts to help NCCUSL craft a workable law went unheeded,
IEEE-USA formalized its opposition to UCITA in a February 2000 position
statement (http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum/POSITIONS/ucita.html). Widespread
opposition to UCITA has continued to grow since its introduction, and now
includes a majority of state Attorneys General, as well as insurance
companies, library associations, consumer protection groups, the open
source software community, and large industrial software consumers such as
Boeing, Georgia Pacific and Phillips Petroleum.
 
IEEE-USA Focuses on Technology Policy Issues in 2002
By Ralph W. Wyndrum Jr.
IEEE-USA Vice President, Technology Policy
August 2002
 
IEEE-USA, which represents 235,000 U.S. IEEE members, has refocused
its efforts on the most urgent technology policy issues facing the United
States in today's turbulent world, and is in the process of marshalling its
volunteer membership to bring its latest position statements to Congress
and federal regulatory agencies.
 
Earlier this year, the IEEE-USA Board of Directors challenged the
IEEE-USA Technology Policy Committee (TPC) to develop position statements
advancing the interests of its members, technology and our country. The TPC
responded before June by developing positions in seven key areas. These
positions are now to be delivered in person by IEEE-USA volunteers to key
congressional committee chairs and members during the summer recess, and
continuing in Washington during the rest of 2002. Where appropriate, the
issues will also be addressed to regulatory agencies such as the Federal
Communications Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC,
the Food and Drug Administration and the new Homeland Security Department.
 
The top priority issues for 2002 include:
 
¨ Defining a 10-year plan for accelerated broadband deployment, and the
consideration of such technologies and ultra-wide band wireless and Gigabit
Ethernet over Fiber
¨ Supporting effective measures for security and critical infrastructure
protection.
¨ Advancing research on the reliability of electrical energy systems and
the development of distributed interconnection standards
¨ Ensuring funding and programs for public health service IT
infrastructure, found severely wanting in the aftermath of Sept. 11
¨ Supporting balanced and effective programming of federal investments
in R&D, particularly those supporting computer, IT, communications and
networking breakthroughs and advanced development
¨ Ensuring the latest system engineering and technology are brought to
bear to improve national aviation safety
¨ Driving the use of the best technology and most fair standards to meet
the needs for a world-class voting technology system
 
These positions will be emphasized with our elected representatives
and executive branch agencies in the remainder of the year.
 
Other hot issues that will be addressed selectively with appropriate
government officials relate to copyright technology controls, the
application of trade regulations (ITAR) to technology publications,
computer crime, and congressional technology assessment capabilities. For
more information, see IEEE-USA's Policy Forum on-line at
http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum.
 
The TPC reports to the IEEE-USA Board of Directors through me in my
role as IEEE-USA vice president for technology policy, and is made up of
five volunteer committees covering U.S. policy in communication and
information, transportation, energy, medical technology and research and
development.
 
We are continually soliciting volunteers, whom we will train and ask
to join task forces meeting with congressional, executive and state
leaders. We are also soliciting help locally, such as visits with Members
of Congress in their district offices, placement of TPC-related news in
your section newsletter, and/or inclusion of policy discussions in IEEE
technical meetings. You can volunteer as part of our Congressional Advocacy
Recruitment Effort (CARE) at http://www.ieeeusa.org/forum/care, or by
contacting IEEE-USA Government Relations Director Chris Brantley at
c.brantley@ieee.org.

 

IEEE-USA NEWS **Building Careers & Shaping Public Policy**
Contact: Greg Hill, Member & Electronic Communications Coordinator
g.hill@ieee.org, 202 785 0017, ext. 8335 http://www.ieeeusa.org
IEEE-USA Webzines http://www.todaysengineer.org
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 
+ WISE INTERNS WRAP UP SUMMER WITH CAPITOL HILL PRESENTATIONS
The Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) interns
concluded their summer program 29-30 July by presenting their research
papers on Capitol Hill in the House Science Committee's hearing room in the
Rayburn House Office Building. Five of the twelve presentations were given
by IEEE student members, three of whom were sponsored by IEEE-USA. A sixth
IEEE student member, sponsored by NSPE, opted to forgo her presentation in
order to receive training for a position at a national lab.
 
Trampas Kurth, an EE major from Kansas State University with an interest in
intellectual property and fair use policies, presented his topic, "Digital
Rights Management: Protecting Creative Works in a Digital Age."
 
Max Vilompic, an EE major from Ohio State University interested in
cryptography, intellectual property rights and equal access policy issues,
researched and reported on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
 
Jason Frederick, an engineering science and physics major at Trinity
University in Texas, came into the program with an interest in broadband
and its potential for bridging the digital divide. His presentation,
"4-Gigabit Ethernet Over Fiber Broadband Infrastructure: The Ultimate
Solution" addressed one possible solution.
 
For more information on the WISE program, visit http://www.wise-intern.org/
 
 
+ IEEE-USA PRESIDENT SPEAKS AT DEDICATION OF TENNESSEE ENGINEERING CENTER
On Tuesday, 30 July, IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant spoke to attendees at
a dedication ceremony for the new Tennessee Engineering Center (TEC) in
Nashville, Tenn. TEC, a $1.8 million addition to the Cumberland Science
Museum, will serve both educational and business interests. The new
engineering wing features hands-on exhibits for children as well as a
conference center meeting room outfitted with the latest multimedia
capabilities. In addition to speaking at the event, Bryant presented the
center with a check for $1,000 on behalf of IEEE-USA. For more information,
visit: http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/2002/072602pr.html
 
 
+ MARK YOUR CALENDARS: IEEE-USA PRODEVCON & IEEE-USA WORKSHOP SET FOR MARCH
2003
The 2003 IEEE-USA Professional Development Conference (PRODEVCON) and the
IEEE-USA Workshop are set for 27-28 March and 28-30 March, respectively.
Both events will be held at the Hilton Seattle Airport, in Seattle, Wash.
More information is available on the IEEE-USA Website at:
http://www.ieeeusa.org/conferences/
 
 
+ VOA AND AFRTS PICK UP *VOICES OF INNOVATION* RADIO PROGRAM
VOICES OF INNOVATION, a daily series of two-minute radio programs about
engineers and their accomplishments, will be aired this Fall on the Voice
of America (VOA), as well as on Armed Forces Radio (AFRTS). VOICES OF
INNOVATION is a new public radio program being coordinated by the American
Association of Engineering Societies, of which the IEEE is a founding
society. The program is being produced by Jim Metzner, best known for his
award-winning program, PULSE OF THE PLANET, which is broadcast on more than
300 commercial and public radio stations. For more information on VOICES OF
INNOVATION, visit: http://www.voicesofinnovation.com
 
 
+ EMPLOYMENT ISSUE ATTRACTS MEDIA ATTENTION
IEEE-USA President LeEarl Bryant's recent letter to all Members of Congress
addressing record unemployment among U.S. electrical engineers and computer
scientists has garnered national media attention, including write-ups by
THE BOSTON GLOBE, SLASHDOT.COM, and SYSCON Media's JAVA DEVELOPER'S
JOURNAL.
 
IEEE-USA Letter to Congress
http://www.ieeeusa.org/releases/2002/071202pr.html
 
BOSTON GLOBE Article
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/204/business/Congress_asked_to_review_IT_field+.shtml
 
SLASHDOT.COM Discussion Board
http://slashdot.org/articles/02/07/25/1356250.shtml?tid=
 
JAVA DEVELOPER'S JOURNAL
http://www.sys-con.com/java/
 
 
+ CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: CISAC FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS
The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of
Stanford University's Institute for International Studies, is seeking
individuals interested in participating in its fellowship programs. Each
year, CISAC sponsors several fellowship programs, which select through an
annual competition a small number of scholars for training in issues
related to international security. An application procedure is required for
all individuals who wish to be in residence as visiting fellows, whether
they need funding or have independent funding.
 
CISAC is a multidisciplinary community dedicated to research and training
in issues of international security. The center brings together scholars,
policymakers, area specialists, business people, and other experts to focus
on a wide range of security questions of current importance. For more
information, visit: http://cisac.stanford.edu.
 
 
+ READING MATERIAL: NAE BOOK ADDRESSES MANAGING A DIVERSE ENGINEERING
WORKFORCE
A new book from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) focuses on
managing a diverse engineering workforce. *Diversity in Engineering:
Managing the Workforce of the Future (2002)* is a collection of papers from
a workshop entitled, "Best Practices in Managing Diversity," sponsored by
NAE's Committee on Diversity in the Engineering Workforce in October 2001.
Established in 1999 to address the disproportionate number of women and
underrepresented minorities in the engineering profession, the committee
has taken its cue from NAE President Wm. A. Wulf, who noted, "that for the
United States to remain Competitive in a global technological society, the
country as a whole must take serious steps to ensure that we have a
diverse, well trained, multicultural workforce. To read excerpts from the
book online and to order, visit: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10377.html
 
 
+ IEEE-USA STAFF DIRECTOR BEGINS 26TH YEAR WITH ORGANIZATION
W. Thomas Suttle first joined the IEEE in 1977, and has since held a number
of staff management positions. In 1992, he was tapped to succeed Leo
Fanning, who was retiring from his long-time post as IEEE-USA staff
director. For the past 10 years, Suttle has headed the IEEE-USA office in
Washington, D.C., with its current staff of 25 and its important mission of
promoting the career and public policy interests of the more than 235,000
U.S. members of the IEEE. During his tenure as IEEE-USA staff director,
Suttle has overseen numerous IEEE-USA successes, including the launch of
IEEE-USA's online job listing service in 1995, and the passage of
long-sought-after pension reforms in 2001. Congratulations and thanks to
Tom for his 25 years of dedicated service to the IEEE, its members and its
staff.
 
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IEEE-USA
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202
Washington, DC 20036-5104
Tel: +1 202 785 0017
Fax: +1 202 785 0835
Web: http://www.ieeeusa.org
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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 Top of Page
IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the IEEE created in 1973 to
promote the careers and public-policy interests of the more than 230,000
electrical, electronics, computer and software engineers who are U.S.
members of the IEEE. The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional
society with over 360,000 members in 150 countries. For more information,
visit us online at http://www.ieeeusa.org.
  
***********************
IEEE-USA
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 1202
Washington, DC 20036-5104
Tel: +1 202 785 0017
Fax: +1 202 785 0835
Web: http://www.ieeeusa.org
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Updated 09/01/02