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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


International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy Opens with Roundtable Discussion

Ottawa, May 27, 2019 -

Representatives from around the world gathered this evening for the first in a series of meetings taking place this week as part of the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy.

During the roundtable discussion, expert witnesses spoke about what they believe to be the most pressing issues facing lawmakers when it comes to protecting the rights of citizens in the digital age.

“As we prepare for the next two days of testimony, it was important for us to have this discussion with those who have been studying these issues for years and have seen firsthand the effect digital platforms can have on our everyday lives. The knowledge we have gained tonight will no doubt help guide our committee as we seek solutions and answers to the questions we have on behalf of those we represent. My biggest concerns are for our citizens’ privacy, our democracy and that our rights to freedom of speech are maintained according to our Constitution.”

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

“Serious global co-operation is essential to protect our privacy, defend our democracies, and hold social media platforms accountable.”

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

“This international gathering of legislators shows that there’s an increasing demand and need for international action to take on the data-opolies. This is much bigger than fake news. This is about the right of citizens to live free from surveillance. The days of asking the tech giants for action is over. Legislators are going to act.”

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

“We are pleased to join our colleagues in Canada for this second meeting of the International Grand Committee. We are determined to continue our joint efforts to scrutinise the work of the major technology companies and the role they play in our daily lives. Data security and the protection of our democracy from orchestrated campaigns of disinformation run through social media, are some if the major issues we all face today.”

- Damian Collins, M.P. and Chair of the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Expert witnesses that took part the roundtable were:

  • Professor Heidi Tworek, University of British Columbia
  • Jason Kint, CEO Digital Content Next
  • Taylor Owen, McGill University
  • Ben Scott, The Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School
  • Roger McNamee, Author of Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe
  • Shoshana Zuboff, Author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
  • Maria Ressa, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Editor of Rappler Inc.
  • Jim Balsillie, Chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation

Tomorrow, in addition to hearing from Mr. McNamee, Ms. Zuboff, Ms. Ressa and Mr. Balsillie once again, the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy will hear testimony from Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation are scheduled to appear May 29.

Link to 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