School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department of Computer Science
CSci 110 -- Technology and Society
Prof. Michael B. Feldman, course instructor

Current Issue Assignments #1 and #2 - 10% each, due in Weeks 3 and 5

Your submitted file name must be of the form Smith-Jane-curr-issue-1.doc and Smith-Jane-curr-issue-2.doc.

These are brief papers (3-4 pages) on some current issue related to technology and society. You will find information about the topics below online. You MUST provide a complete citation of sources to receive credit. (Note: These are just suggestions - you may use other current issues not on this list, but please ask my advice before doing so.)

  1. Examine 5 commercial web sites and evaluate their privacy policies using the criteria from the Online Privacy Alliance.

  2. Find articles online that express different perspectives on content labeling (see the ACLU web site,, Anti-defamation League; You can also search using RSAC (Recreational Software Advisory Council) and ICRA (Internet Content Rating Association. Write a brief paper that lists the pros and cons of content labeling.

  3. Find out what ICANN is, and find articles that are for and against ICANN - write a brief paper that lists the strengths and weaknesses of ICANN. What alternatives do people suggest to replace ICANN?

  4. Find articles about Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report. Write a brief paper describing how others view what he does online.

  5. Look up the term "Digital Divide" and write a brief paper describing what it is and what experts are saying about it. What recommendations do they make to eliminate it?

  6. Go to the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) web site and look at the information they have on privacy legislation. Do a brief summary of the current state of privacy legislation here and abroad.

  7. Compare the positions of EPIC and OPA on privacy legislation. (See, What is your opinion about what the US should do?

  8. Go to the World Intellectual Property Organization ( web site and write a brief summary of the status of worldwide cooperation on intellectual property issues, especially as it relates to digital media.

  9. Go to the ICRA web site ( to view the set of common vocabulary terms they now use for content labeling. What is your assessment of the items they have selected to be used by parents to filter Internet content for young children? What is your opinion about this type of filtering?

  10. Go to the GovernmentOnline project website to view the web sites of members of the US Congress. At that site they provide a way to evaluate the usefulness of congressional websites based on a set of criteria. Using the evaluations, select 5 congressional websites and briefly describe how well the websites meet the criteria.

  11. Go to the DemocracyOnline project website to find out what the issues are related to electronic voting. Write a brief paper describing the issues.

  12. Visit some political blogs and look up some comments on the effect of political blogs on the U.S. election process. Try to find blogs that represent a range of points on the political spectrum.