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February 15, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO - Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that the State Assembly’s Select Committee on Privacy will conduct a hearing on online privacy on Tuesday, February 19th.  The hearing is titled: “Privacy in an Online Age” and is intended to explore issues of online privacy including the reliability and enforceability of privacy statements.

“I think it’s important that folks know what the rules are with respect to the privacy of their personal information, whether they’re surfing websites or entering into an online transaction,” said Simitian. “This hearing provides an opportunity to engage in a thoughtful conversation with folks on all sides of the issue.”

Simitian chairs the State Assembly’s Select Committee on Privacy, which considers a wide range of privacy related topics, including financial, internet, and health care privacy as well as privacy of governmental records. The Committee previously held a hearing on financial privacy.

Witnesses scheduled to participate in the hearing include: Mr. Bill Ashworth of Microsoft, Mr. Chris Kelly of Baker-McKenzie, Ms. Joanne McNabb of the California State Office of Privacy Protection, Ms. Deirdre Mulligan of U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall Law School, and Mr. Lee Tien of Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Simitian previously announced that he intends to carry a bill to address online privacy issues this year. “Helping consumers feel secure when they’re online will be good for the internet and e-commerce,” said Simitian. “I want to work with both industry representatives and consumer advocates to ensure I have a bill that protects an individual’s privacy while allowing online businesses to flourish. The two goals are not mutually exclusive.”

Simitian already has held two discussion sessions with industry representatives and consumer advocates to hear their perspectives first hand, before considering the specifics such a bill might include.

The hearing on the 19th is open to the public and will be held in Room 447 of the State Capitol. It is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. The hearing will be televised on the California Channel on Friday, February 22nd at 10 a.m.



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