This question has long been a topic for discussion and debate, and has, since 1989, been the subject of international protocols. But the Declaration of Principles Concerning Activities Following the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligence (more simply known as the SETI protocols) has become an outdated document in the two decades following its adoption by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). On Thursday, 30 September 2010, the IAA SETI Permanent Study Group adopted simplified and revised SETI Protocols, which better reflect the realities of current technology.
Today, by email vote of its Board of Trustees, the nonprofit, membership-supported SETI League (which had been signatory to the original SETI Protocols) became the first scientific organization to embrace the newly revised document. "The advent of the Internet has changed the way the world does collaborative science," notes Prof. H. Paul Shuch, the grassroots scientific group's Executive Director Emeritus. "The revised IAA SETI Protocols better reflect this reality, and provide a workable means for honoring both scientific integrity and the public's right to know."
The new SETI Protocols can be viewed on The SETI League's website, at http://www.setileague.org/iaaseti/protocols_rev2010.pdf. They stipulate that SETI activities are to be conducted with both scientific rigor and total public transparency. Although the provisions of the Protocols are not binding upon individual scientists or the organizations they represent, it is expected that they will be widely embraced, as were the provisions of the predecessor document, by the worldwide SETI community. The SETI League is proud to be the first signatory to this important international agreement.
Largely using radio telescopes and optical telescopes, SETI scientists seek to determine whether humankind is alone in the universe. Since Congress terminated NASA's SETI funding in 1993, The SETI League and other scientific groups have privatized the research. Amateur and professional scientists interested in participating in the search for intelligent alien life, and citizens wishing to help support it, should email join_at_setileague_dot_org, check the SETI League Web site at http://www.setileague.org/, send a fax to +1 (201) 641-1771, or contact The SETI League, Inc. membership hotline at +1 (800) TAU-SETI. Be sure to provide us with a postal address to which we will mail further information. The SETI League, Inc. is a membership-supported, non-profit [501(c)(3)], educational and scientific corporation dedicated to the scientific Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.
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this page last updated 2 October 2010
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