International committee begins talks on data privacy, disinformation

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International committee begins talks on data privacy, disinformation
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg do not attend the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy, and Democracy despite being summoned by the Canadian Parliament

MANILA, Philippines – The International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy, and Democracy kicked off its 3-day series of meetings with 8 experts speaking about the importance of establishing government policies on social media.

The committee’s meeting, the second of its kind, was held in Ottawa, Canada on Monday night, May 27.

Those who testified included Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, along with the following:

  • Jason Kint, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Content Next
  • Jim Balsillie, Chair of the Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Roger McNamee, Author of Zucked
  • Taylor Owen, Associate Professor at McGill University
  • Ben Scott
  • Heidi Tworek, Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia
  • Shoshana Zuboff

In their testimonies, the above spoke about how social media and the internet has changed with the emergence of machine learning and targeted advertising, and how global policies can protect democracies and people’s privacy. 

Noticeably missing from the hearing were Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, though they were served a subpoena to attend. This may lead to them being held in contempt of parliament.

According to CNN, Facebook instead sent their head of public policy Kevin Chan and director of public policy Neil Potts.

Representatives from Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and the Mozilla Foundation were also in attendance.

Countries participating in the grand committee are Canada, Argentina, Chile, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Representatives from the United Mexican States, Morocco, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ecuador were also present on May 27.

The series of meetings will continue on through May 29. –

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