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February 5, 2002

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


SACRAMENTO - Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that he will introduce a bill later this month to clarify and protect consumers’ online privacy rights. Preparatory to the introduction of his bill, Simitian has invited representatives from online companies and consumer advocacy groups to join him in a discussion of online privacy issues. Two meeting dates have been scheduled. Simitian

“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. “I’ve identified several questions that I think need to be asked and answered in order to both protect consumer privacy and allow the internet and e-commerce to flourish.”

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 has already held a hearing on financial privacy and has an online privacy hearing scheduled for February 19th.

Simitian noted, “Too often these issues become polarized. I think that’s a shame. There’s no reason we can’t find solutions that take into account both the privacy rights of individuals and the legitimate concerns of business. I’m looking forward to working with industry and consumer representatives to make sure we get this one right.”

Simitian has set up two initial discussion meetings. The first is Tuesday, February 5th where he will hear from representatives of online companies. The second is the following Tuesday, February 12th where Simitian will hear from consumer advocacy groups. And on Tuesday, February 19th, Simitian will convene a meeting of the Assembly Select Committee on Privacy, which he chairs, to discuss online privacy issues. After hearing from interested parties, Simitian will introduce a bill in time to meet the Legislature’s February 22nd deadline.

To facilitate the conversation, Simitian has prepared a discussion document (see attachment) that outlines some of the basic questions he believes need to be asked and answered before settling on the specific elements of an online privacy bill. This document can be found on Simitian’s webpage: Select the “What’s Hot” button.

“I know folks in my District care deeply about privacy issues,” said Simitian, “So I’m hoping they’ll visit my website, read the discussion document on online privacy, and let me know what they think.”

Due to limited seating, the meetings are by invitation only. For more information or to express an interest in attending these meetings, please contact Mr. Preston Taylor at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).