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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


AGENDA FOR INTERNATIONAL GRAND COMMITTEE ON BIG DATA, PRIVACY AND DEMOCRACY RELEASED

Ottawa, May16, 2019 -

The Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics has released the agenda for the upcoming International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy.

From May 27 to May 29, expert witnesses will be appearing before representatives from at least 11 countries to give testimony on how governments can protect democracy and citizen rights in the age of big data. These witnesses include:

  • Roger McNamee, Author of Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe
  • Shoshana Zuboff, Author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  • Maria Ressa, Journalist, Author of From Bin Laden to Facebook:10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism
  • Jim Balsillie, Chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation; Retired Chairman and co-CEO of BlackBerry
  • Ellen Weintraub, Chair of the United States Federal Election Commission
  • Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada
  • Joseph Cannataci, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, United Nations
  • Professor Heidi Tworek, University of British Columbia
  • Jason Kint, CEO Digital Content Next
  • Taylor Owen, McGill University

Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and the Mozilla Foundation will also be attending and giving testimony. Sadly, Apple have not yet confirmed their attendance.

“I look forward to hearing from this list of global experts as they identify not only the issues surrounding big data and democracy, but also how we, as lawmakers, can work to find solutions to protect the rights of our citizens. Further I expect Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to comply with our subpoena, respect the will of lawmakers representing over 373 million citizens, and show up.”

- Bob Zimmer, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

"The second meeting of the International Grand Committee will continue the commitment of the first, to establish higher standards for identifying and removing harmful content on social media, including disinformation designed to disrupt our democracies, and protecting users data privacy rights. Parliamentarians around the world need to work together to hold these international tech giants to account, and use our legislative powers to create the best system of oversight and regulation. We cannot leave it to companies like Facebook and YouTube to police themselves. Once again, the refusal of Mark Zuckerberg to appear in front of this committee shows that rather than working with parliaments in different countries, he wants to turn his back on them. That will not deter us though in our work to hold these companies to account for their failings in removing harmful content and keeping people’s private data safe."

-Damian Collins, MP and Chair of the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

“In March, Mark Zuckerberg wrote that he looked forward to discussions with lawmakers around the world to address harmful content, protect our elections and privacy and increase competition. This is his opportunity to show the world he is serious and honest in that commitment.”

- Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP and Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

“Legislators from around the world are coming to discuss the need to protect the democratic, civic and privacy rights of citizens in the age of Big Data. This will send a powerful message to the web giants and we expect them to show up. The days when they can ignore corporate, legal and moral obligations are over. Democratic governments are showing a willingness to take them on with legislation and to break up the monopoly if necessary."

- Charlie Angus, MP and Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics

Countries participating in the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy now include Canada, Argentina, Chile, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

Link to the agenda.

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