Commission on Internet Political Practices Meeting this Friday

The Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices will continue its examination of the various issues posed by campaign activity on the Internet. The Commission’s Technology Subcommittee will conduct a hearing on the impact of advancing on-line technologies in the political process.

The hearing will be held in the Gold Lounge at the Stanford Faculty Club on Friday, May 2 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm on the university campus on Lagunita Drive. (650-723-4325). Directions.

Witnesses include:

Alex Fowler, PricewaterhouseCoopers privacy division
Sonia Arrison, Pacific Research Institute, director of technology studies
Lauren Gelman, Stanford’s Center for Internet Society, assistant director
Chris Kelley, Baker & McKenzie

Details at the FPPC website.
The Commission was created by the California legislature to study the benefits and drawbacks raised by Internet politicking. The Commission will send a final report to the legislature by December 31, 2003, recommending any appropriate legislative action.

“The Internet has opened a vast vista which enables citizens to soak up the information which is the foundation for democracy,” said Subcommittee Co-Chairman and Sybase executive Edward Hearst. “The Web also provides a fantastic forum for political discourse. This subcommittee will examine the opportunities and implications of Internet political practices.”

At its meeting in December, the Commission agreed to hold three meetings around California to be organized by Commission subcommittees. The Political Communications Subcommittee, co-chaired by Commissioners Deirdre Mulligan and Conway Collis, held a hearing in February in Sacramento; the Technology Subcommittee, co-chaired by Commissioners Edward Hearst and Henry Carter, will hold this hearing on May 2; and the Campaign Finance Subcommittee, chaired by Commissioner Philip Muller, will arrange for a hearing in Los Angeles later in May.

"The Internet is an incredible and powerful tool that can assist with organizing campaigns, educating the electorate and persuading the voter. However, existing laws and regulations may or may not cover activities that are currently conducted by politicians, advocacy groups or campaigns on the Internet,” said Subcommittee Co-Chairman Henry Carter. “This commission will attempt to address these wide-ranging issues by listening and learning from the actual participants in the Internet arena; they will thereby be better able to recommend to the legislature how the Internet should be fostered in a direction that serves the entire body-politic."

All Commission meetings are open to the public and media; agendas, time and place will be posted on the Commission’s web page on the FPPC website, (www.fppc.ca.gov). For more information, contact Executive Director Paul Cusack at 213-740-6126 or Subcommittee Co-Chair Edward Hearst at 925-596-1776.

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