As announced in the August 2022 issue of Computer and on Computer.org, I am standing for election to the IEEE Computer Society’s Board of Governors. I kindly ask for your vote and your support.
The elections are open to all Members and Graduate Student Members of the IEEE Computer Society. You can vote online until September 12, 2022 at https://eballot.app/ieee.
On this page
- Position statement
- Join the mailing list / leave a statement of support
- IEEE / IEEE Computer Society volunteering impact
- Technical impact
The IEEE Computer Society, through our amazing members and volunteer leaders, is a source of trust, authority, and professionalism in a changing world where science, and even facts, are often under attack. We must respond.
As Vice President for Member and Geographic Activities, I increased support for our local chapters, and for regional and global engagement opportunities. If elected, I will advocate for this to continue. I will also continue to champion our support for students and early career professionals in both academia and industry and for increased opportunities for them across our activities.
Publication models are shifting as open access grows. Conferences are increasingly hybrid events. Change creates opportunities. While ensuring we remain financially sound, I will push for efficiency saving to be passed on to our members. I will also advocate for more diversity and support to prevent economic exclusion.
We are a membership-based organisation, not just a provider of services. I will work to increase both member benefits and opportunities. I will support our existing publications, technical communities, standards, conferences, and educational programs, as well as efforts to engage in emerging technologies. Together we can ensure a brighter future.
Dr Andre Oboler is CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute a charity he co-founded over a decade ago to enhance online safety and improve social media transparency. He is an honorary associate at La Trobe University in Australia where he has previously been employed as a senior lecturer and taught and researched in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy. He has been appointed to advisory positions by the governments of Australia, Israel and Sweden and works as a consultant for governments, companies, and not-for-profit organisations.
He served as the IEEE Computer Society’s Vice President for Member and Geographic Activities in 2021 and 2022, and previously volunteered in a range of leadership roles within the Society’s MGA Board, including heading the Awards and Recognition Committee, the Distinguished Visitor Program, and the Geographic Activities Committee which oversees our chapters. He is a former Distinguished Visitor for the Society and member of the Society’s Golden Core. In 2021 he co-led the Computer Society’s Tech Forum “Mitigating Societal Harms in Social Media World”. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, has been appointed by the IEEE Board of Directors as a member of the IEEE Global Public Policy on three occasions, served as Vice Chair of the IEEE Australia Council, and as Membership Development Coordinator of the Victorian Section.
Dr Oboler holds a PhD in Computer Science from Lancaster University (UK) where his research in software engineering and process improvement was supervised by Prof. Ian Sommerville. His undergraduate studies were completed at Monash University (Australia), as was a Juris Doctor which followed his PhD. He is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has extensive training and experience in company and not-for-profit governance.
Mailing list & support
The following mailing list is my private list and is not managed by IEEE or the IEEE Computer Society. It will be used very seldomly and only for (1) sharing information about IEEE (including society) voting matters (elections, petitions, constitutional changes, etc.), and (2) to send very occasional (likely once a year) reports on my IEEE and Society activity to my supporters.
When joining this list you may also add a statement of support for my bid for a seat on the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors. By providing a statement you agree I may use the statement, your name, and any volunteer or work positions you include on my website and in any social media election materials. Only an email address is required to join this list, other fields are optional.
As the IEEE Computer Society’s Vice President of Member and Geographic Activities during 2021 and 2022 I have:
- Created and implemented the core and incentive funding programs providing funding to all active chapters in good standing
- Created and implemented the Regional Grants programs for professional and student chapters, resourcing our Regional Coordinators to fund major chapter initiatives
- Facilitated online activities during Covid, providing Zoom accounts to chapters that needed them, and supporting centrally run webinars as global meetings for chapter leaders
- Facilitated a return to in-person activities where it is safe to do so, including meetings for some regional committees along with some chapter chairs
- Managed and oversaw the creation of MGA Board’s Handbook, addressing a governance gap that had persisted for more than 10 years and put all volunteers on the same page
- Oversaw and supported
- Creation of the Distinguished Contributor Program
- Creation of the Distinguished Lecturer program to supplement our Distinguished Visitor program with additional online speakers
- New and existing Young Professional programs
- New and existing Student programs
- Increased the budget for MGA Board to enable the above without impacting our other programs
- Worked with the VP for T&C to improve synergies related to TCs & STCs, Conferences including those run by chapters, and membership incentives
- Created a program to measurer and report to the Board of Governors on diversity across demographics including geographic regions, genders, employment settings, career stages, etc. among MGA volunteers
- Instigated new Outstanding Chapter Awards to reward our best chapters at student engagement, young professional engagement, and industry engagement.
- Advocated to TAB on IEEE level issues that negatively impact the Computer Society and our members
As a Vice President I have also served as a voting member of the Society’s Executive Committee (ExCom) and Planning Committee (PlanCom), and a non-voting member of the Society’s Finance Committee (FinCom) and Board of Governors (BoG).
- I have attended almost every meeting across all of these committees
- I have actively contributed to the discussion in every meeting I attended
- Contributed as a member of an ad hoc committee of the BoG
- Supported increased funding to reduce page counts in our publications
- Advocated for increased funding to support diversity and inclusion
- Worked on emerging technology proposals including supporting multiple projects by others, as well as heading one myself
Prior to serving as Vice President I served in multiple senior leadership roles within MGA Board. Some highlights include:
- As Chair of the Geographic Activities Committee I rebuilt our geographic system from the ground up.
- Now every Chapter Chair serves on an Area Committee under an Area Coordinator. The Area Coordinators all serve on their Regional Committee, under their Regional Coordinators. The Regional Coordinators all serve on the Geographic Activities Committee. The Chair of that Committee serves on MGA Board under the Vice President. There is now an effective path for ideas, concerns, and issues to be escalate as high as needed, as well as for opportunities and information to be shared to our local volunteers.
- As Chair of our Student Awards Committee:
- I oversaw an increase in the prestige of the award and the number of applications, and introduced a second cycle of the award to ensure greater fairness across the world.
- I created the scoring guidelines for the Merwin Award to ensure greater consistency without requiring all members of the committee to review every application (something essential as the number of applicants more than quadrupled).
- As Chair of the Distinguished Visitor Program I revitalized the program
- I enforced the rules on the term length for our Distinguished Visitors and reinstituted the system of 1/3 of speakers retiring each year and new appointments being made annually to ensure we remain current and there are opportunities for people to serve.
- I instigated the “DVP trip” which allowed for multiple visits to different locations to be combined into a single grant application allowing more than $1000 to be spent. This unlocked the program for chapters outside North America.
- I established geographic limits for the number of speakers, ensuring geographic diversity among the speakers and increasing diversity and inclusion.
- The two points above combined to make our DVP a program that selects our best speakers from anywhere, and enables them to travel and speak anywhere.
- As Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee I introduced distinct teams and team leaders for our different awards, increasing our capacity and the focus and expertise of our volunteers.
Most of my work since completing my PhD in 2007 has been in the area of tackling societal harms in social media. O have been a trailblazer in this field which has has only recently (since about 2020) started to be recognized as a major area of technical work with a growing focus in computer related publications.
My work has been recognized by governments, UN agencies, major technology platforms, academic researchers, and civil society. It has led to the following government appointments:
- Australian Government: Appointment to the Australian Government Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) (2015-present)
- Swedish Government: Appointment to Expert Advisory Group for the Malmo Forum (2021)
- Victorian State Government: Appointment as an expert supporting an independent inquiry (2020)
- Israeli Government: Appointment to the steering committee of the Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism, and co-chair of its working group on online and media antisemitism (2009-2017)
I have also produced:
- Software for crowdsourced shadow reporting of online hate (described as innovative in two UNESCO reports)
- The first report on online racism against Indigenous Australians (2012)
- The first empirical report on antisemitism in social media (2015, 2016)
- The first report and first empirical report on Islamophobia in Social Media (2013, 2015)
- The first major report on /pol/ (4chan / 8chan) and its role in online radicalization leading to multiple terrorist attacks
- Current work in partnership with both Meta and the Australian Human Rights Commission is examining anti-Asian hate with a particular focus on its presence online
My work including recommendations for changes to software design have led to changes to the core systems at companies including Meta (Facebook) and Alphabet (YouTube).
My highest cited publication, “The danger of big data: Social media as computational social science” (122 citations), written with two colleagues, was published back in 2012 when many of the matters of high concern today, those impacting privacy, online safety, election integrity, and national security, were only just starting to discussed at the margins of the computing field. The paper sounded a warning about the hypothetical risk of many problems that later occurred.
My second most cited publication (72 citations), is a book from 2017 co-written with some of Australia’s leading experts in racism. It is titled “Cyber racism and community resilience” and was selected by Spring Nature as part of the collection of books they have made available for free as part of their support for Black Lives Matter.
I served for three years as a Distinguished Visitor for the IEEE Computer Society (2014-2016) giving talks on the danger of online hate speech and the need for technical solutions and good design to combat it, another on design problems that enable manipulation of Wikipedia, and my PhD research on software engineering for the research environment.
In 2015 I presented the valedictory address at the IEEE Indicon, focusing on online hate speech and the need for engagement from the technical community. In 2017 I presented an ignite talk on my work on hate speech at IEEE Section’s Congress.
Following the terrorist attack in Christchurch in 2019 I gave a series of high profile talks for the IEEE Computer Society and the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT). The talks highlighted the role of online radicalization and the challenges, both technical and legal, in addressing it.
In 2020 I was invited to represent global civil society at the United Nation’s Forum on Minority Issues. That year’s forum focused on “Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities”. In addition to the address I presented a more detailed paper with recommendations. See more.
In 2021 suggested and then co-lead a new IEEE Computer Society initiative, the Tech Forum “Mitigating Societal Harms in a Social Media World“. I am currently co-chairing the 2022 edition of this program which has been broadened to “Digital Platforms and Societal Harms” to include gaming and the metaverse – it will take place in October 2022 as a free online event.
In 2022 I present at the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC) on “Tackling Misogyny in Social Media”.
Disclaimer: The opinions on this page are mine and are not necessarily those of the IEEE Computer Society or the IEEE.