Representative Advisory Committee (RAC): What’s Going On?

As of the fall of 2002, I took over the chairmanship of the Representative Advisory Committee from Dave Case. He has done a good job in getting the group organized and focused. Dave has found himself with a new world of responsibilities, including visiting the “Old World” of Austria at the World Radio Congress.

My first interest as chair is to get clear what is who and who is what. The table at right gives the full title of the activities represented on the committee, the web link and the current representative.

This list demonstrates the purpose of the RAC, which is to bring together groups that have technical interests related to the mission of the EMC Society. We have an opening for a person who is working with the Energy Policy Committee and the Society on Social Implications of Technology.

Now as to the activities of these groups, I have received the following status of what is going on.

Dave Case reports that the NARTE board met in May with a focus on the telecom certification program. They are also looking at updating telecom and wireless tests and programs.

Donald L. Sweeney reports that the USCEL has become a sub-committee of ACIL’s EMC committee. This has enabled them to combine many of the presentations previously given at separate meetings, to be covered only once for those who have common membership. ACIL – EMC – Committee-ELWAG issued an improved process for auditors to audit EMC laboratories. This list is now in use and NVLAP will be listing new accreditations using this process about June 15, 2003. The program took years to implement but will save many thousands of dollars due to redundant evaluations. We believe this will save manufacturers, laboratories and auditors a lot of time and money.

Andy Drozd reported in the last issue of the Newsletter with an extensive article on ACES. Their next conference will be in the spring of 2004, hopefully in Syracuse, New York. With regard to ITSC, the EMCS is not formally funding their activities as a result of a BOD vote, but we will be keeping in touch. They have their next symposium planned for Shanghai, China on October 12-15, 2003.

Mark Montrose reports that he is very active and attending the NTC Excom meeting in April. The IEEE Nanotechnology Council is part of Division I, Circuits and Devices, and is made up of 19 member Societies. The NTC conference and yearly ADCOM meeting was held the week of August 10 at Wescon, San Francisco. EMCS has provided coordination of the two units by issuing a Call for Papers for a special issue of the Transactions on EMC involving Nanotechnology.

Andrew Podgorski reports that the Sensors Council will have its second IEEE International Conference on Sensors on October 22-24, 2003 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, in Toronto, Canada. The Sensors Council has 26 member Societies. This year’s program consists of more than 300 oral and poster presentations from 35 countries. The program will again include sessions on theory, design and application of sensors, and there will be special sessions focusing on a variety of sensors topics.

Dick Ford reports that the committee has consolidated the efforts of the other R&D committees into one single group with a common focus. The overall objective of the R&D Policy Committee is to develop and disseminate positions on engineering and defense research and development policies and programs in the United States within the scope of, or affecting, IEEE’s technical expertise.

Dan Hoolihan reports that the 25th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society will be held in Cancun, Mexico from the 17th to the 21st of September 2003; please see his article on COMAR in this issue of the Newsletter for more details.

At the RAC meeting in August 2003, Ralph Wyndrum gave an overview of the IEEE-USA 2003 Technical Policy Activities. The bottom line to his presentation is that they are in need of members who are interested in presenting technically important and relevant information from IEEE-USA to the public, Congress, and the executive branch of the federal government, and similarly to state governments when appropriate. Many of the open positions on our committee relate to IEEE-USA. The most relevant opening is on the Committee on Communications and Information Policy, where in 2003 they are tasked to provide insight into designing and measuring secure IT products and services, broadband deployment, spam and spectrum management. To join the committees as a Resource/Corresponding Member, go to

I found the following from the web to share with Newsletter readers.

IEEE Policy 9.20, which calls for measured and calculated values of quantities to be expressed in metric units in IEEE publications, following the detailed guidance for SI-based metric practice given in IEEE Standard 268. The specific requirement for Stage III is that after 1 January 2000, proposed new standards and revised standards submitted for approval shall use metric units exclusively in the normative portions of the standard. Inch-pound data may be included, if necessary, in footnotes or annexes that are informative only.
The Energy committee, the Technology Policy Council, and the IEEE-USA Board have debated assorted proposed foci and concluded that the priority themes will include:

  • Homeland Security (including critical infrastructure protection, national aviation safety and security, public health information infrastructure, and cyber security R&D),
  • Federal R&D Investment Policy (including computer, information technology and networking R&D),
  • Energy Reliability,
  • Broadband Deployment, and
  • National Voting Technology Standards

The Energy Committee will be focusing on aspects of reliability in the restructured regulatory environment and protection of the critical electrical infrastructure. Especially noteworthy has been IEEE-USA’s recent activity in the area of distributed energy sources. Efforts on standards for the interconnection of distributed energy sources led to legislative language in the Daschle/Bingaman Energy Bill that explicitly mentioned IEEE’s work on related standards, advocating the adoption of consensus-based standards from groups like IEEE.

The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology addresses such issues as the environmental, health and safety implications of technology; engineering ethics and professional responsibility; history of electro technology; technical expertise and public policy; peace technology; and social issues related to energy, information technology and telecommunications. At their web site there was an article on Geoslavery. I close this report with an abstract on the subject to pique your interest. EMC


Geoslavery is defined here as a practice in which one entity, the master, coercively or surreptitiously monitors and exerts control over the physical location of another individual, the slave. Inherent in this concept is the potential for a master to routinely control time, location, speed, and direction for each and every movement of the slave or, indeed, of many slaves simultaneously. Enhanced surveillance and control may be attained through complementary monitoring of functional indicators such as body temperature, heart rate, and perspiration.

Geographic information systems (GIS) technologies, including Location Based Services (LBS) continuously fed by earth coordinate data streams derived from the Global Positioning System (GPS), recently have given rise to new consumer products advertised for tracking humans as well as animals. Heretofore, GIS has raised public concerns about information privacy, primarily due to its capacity for rapid integration of spatial information and personal information from diverse sources [1]-[3]. Human tracking devices, however, introduce a new potential for real-time control that extends far beyond privacy and surveillance, per se. As a result, society must contemplate a new form of slavery characterized by location control [4]. Geoslavery now looms as a real, immediate, and global threat [5].

Commercial vendors of human tracking systems, naturally, tout benefits and diminish, dismiss, or deny any potential for abuse. Indeed, the benefits of LBS are myriad, and human tracking is not all bad. Mountaineers, for example, can have the assurance that, if they have an accident while climbing, one call will alert an emergency service and report almost precisely where they are. As with many other information technologies, however, there are tradeoffs between physical security and personal safety, on the one hand, and privacy and personal freedom on the other. Hence, the countless benefits of LBS are countered by social hazards unparalleled in human history.

The article goes on to explore possibilities for misuse that might be considered unethical.


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