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ETHI Committee News Release

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Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent de l'accès à l'information, de la protection des renseignements personnels et de l'éthique

For immediate release


NEWS RELEASE


Parliamentarians from Across the Globe to Attend Second Meeting of the International Grand Committee

Ottawa, April 11, 2019 -

Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament and Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, announced today that at least nine countries, including Canada, will be participating in the second gathering of the International Grand Committee.

Representatives from Argentina, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the Ukraine will be joining Canada on May 28 to discuss how governments can protect citizen rights in the age of big data.

“Together we represent over 355 million citizens from around the world,” said Mr. Zimmer. “As lawmakers, we are all examining ways to protect our citizens from threats to our democracies in the digital age. That is why it is important that we continue to come together as a group to share our knowledge and best practices for tackling these global issues.”

"This second International Grand Committee builds on the work of the first meeting in London, and our respective inquiries in our own national parliaments. We know we are stronger when we work together,” said Damian Collins, Chair of the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. "If we are to safeguard democracy from disinformation and protect people from harmful content online, then we need the major social media companies to do more to act against it, and the accounts that spread it. Ultimately it must be for governments and parliaments to determine both what these standards should be, and the regulatory oversight required to make sure that the companies are doing all they can to comply with the law."

Witnesses who have confirmed their participation include:

  • Jim Balsillie, former CEO/founder of Blackberry
  • Ellen Weintraub, Chair of the United States Federal Election Commission
  • Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Professor Heidi Tworek, Assistant Professor of History, University of British Columbia
  • Jason Kint, CEO Digital Content Next
  • Ben Scott, The Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School
  • Chris Vickery, UpGuard
  • David Carroll, Associate Professor of Media Design, The New School

Invitations to appear as witnesses have also gone out to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Executive Chairman Omid Kordestani, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and former Executive Chair Eric Schmidt, Alphabet CEO Larry Page, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and CEO of AWS Andrew Jassy, Apple CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams, SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard, and co-founder of WhatsApp Brian Acton.

“It has been encouraging to see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly acknowledging that more needs to be done to stop the spread of harmful content on their platforms, as well as to protect their users’ privacy and data,” said Mr. Zimmer. “I hope that they, and other platform executives, will take advantage of this unique opportunity and come to Ottawa to be a part of this important conversation.”

The committee has yet to receive confirmation from any platform executives and is considering taking further action to ensure their participation.

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    For more information, please contact:
    Mike MacPherson, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics
    Tel: 613-992-1240
    E-mail: ETHI@parl.gc.ca