The Globe & Mail
Friday, May 30, 1997
page A8

Scofflaws in cyberspace

Two Internet companies say they plan to continue publishing opinion polls on their Web sites up to election day, defying a ban on reporting polls in the final 72 hours of the campaign. Mariner Systems Services of Edmonton ( http://www.politicscanada.com/ ) and Online Direct of Toronto ( http://www.polldirect.com/ ) say their on-line polls and archival poll information are critical to democracy. "There's no practical way for us to scrub out the references to polls without srapping the whole site", said Mariner's president, Terry O'Neill. Online Direct will continue to publish its running on-line poll, although after a warning from Elections Canada a system has been set up to "link" users to a site in Florida for the running tally. David Jones, president of Electronic Frontier Canada, said the Internet rights group is incensed that even leaving previously published polls on a site is against the law. "It's all a little odd", he said, suggesting the law be scrapped. "A democracy relies on voters having some basic common sense."


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