September 13, 2002

Technology Law Groups To Inform Community

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Cornell’s Computer Law and Policy (CPL) program joined forces this past summer with EDUCAUSE, a non-profit educational group. The product of the merger, known as the Institute for Computer Policy and Law (ICPL), promotes awareness about intelligent and acceptable use of computer technology through conferences and seminars.

“Information technology (IT) is an increasingly centralized component of higher education that affects all its constituency, faculty, students, staff and administration. So, to have two excellent institutions combining forces underscores the significance of collaborative efforts in higher education in the 21st Century,” said Tracy Mitrano, policy advisor to Cornell Information Technologies (CIT).

ICPL aims to educate people through conferences and seminars. The annual seminar held in Ithaca in July brought together “networking people, attorneys, judicial administrators and deans,” said Mitrano. The topics discussed at the seminar ranged from copyright to policy-making processes.

The conferences, seminars and programs held by ICPL do not directly involve students but there is an intention to benefit them as well.

“We talk about a variety of information technology related issues that have an impact on students, copyright, electronic security. We encourage the most conscientious practices on campus,” said Mitrano.

Since the majority of e-mails regarding copyright violation sent out by the University are prompted by students’ actions on servers, such as KAZAA, the seminar discussions will hopefully clarify what constitutes appropriate use.

While EDUCAUSE offers management programs, seminars on academic computing and regional programs all regarding intelligent use, its collaborative program with Cornell is the first one to directly address law and policy.

With a shared wealth of resources, ICPL hopes to further spread knowledge of IT.

“By linking CPL to EDUCAUSE, we connect CPL’s activities and programs with all of these EDUCAUSE resources,” said Steve Worona, director of Policy and Networking Programs at EDUCAUSE.

In addition, ICPL maintains list servers and routinely contacts each other to discuss developments. Information can also be accessed online from the CPL policy library, a collection of about 800 categorized links to institutional technology policies which now shares its resources with the EDUCAUSE library.

EDUCAUSE was founded in 1998 as the “combination of two national organizations, [Cause and Educom], that address higher education in information technology,” Mitrano said.

“We can broaden the scope of the program without additional cost to Cornell,” said Polley McClure, vice-president of CIT, an active member in bringing those two groups together and then joining them with Cornell this summer.


Archived article by Diana Lo