(For immediate release --- Tuesday, September 29, 1998)

Minister John Manley to open "Public Voice" Internet conference
organized by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign

The Canadian Minister of Industry, John Manley, will be the opening speaker at an upcoming conference on "The Public Voice in the Development of Internet Policy" to be held in Ottawa on October 7.

The Public Voice conference is sponsored by the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), an international coalition of more than 50 civil liberties, human rights, and consumer organizations from around the world. GILC is the first international group formed specifically to address the interests of citizens and consumers in the on-line world.

Marc Rotenberg, the director the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington and one of the organizers of the GILC conference, said he was very pleased that Mr. Manley will be participating in the GILC conference. "We believe that successful policies for the Internet must include the voices of consumers and citizens. We welcome Mr. Manley and appreciate his efforts to promote this exchange."

David Jones, president of Electronic Frontier Canada (EFC), also on the conference steering committee remarked, "This is a critical time in the development of the Internet. The government is poised to make important decisions regarding privacy and free speech on the Net, and they need to hear from the public."

The "Public Voice" conference is timed to coincide with the opening of the OECD Ministerial conference on Electronic Commerce. The "Public Voice" conference hopes to offer some alternative perspectives on some of the same issues, to counter-balance the 'corporate voice' expected to be well-represented at the OECD meeting.

Marie Vallee, of the Federation Nationale des Associations de Consommateurs du Quebec, said that Canadian NGOs were pleased to help organize this important gathering of organizations. "It is a very good opportunity and at a key moment, for consumer groups and other NGOs to discuss and be able to articulate common objectives in order to better protect consumers and citizens in this rapidly changing environment."

The GILC conference features several distinguished speakers. Mr. Manley will be followed by Mr. David Johnston, the Former Chair of the Canadian Information Highway Advisory Council and the Former Provost of McGill University. Mr. Stephen Lau the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data in Hong Kong will address the group in the afternoon. Experts from Belgium, Canada, Norway, England, Germany, Austria, Australia, and the United States will discuss a range of important issues affecting consumers and citizens in the on-line world.

Topics to be discussed during the GILC conference include:

"Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce",
"Speech Online and Access",
"Privacy and Encryption", and
"Human Rights in the 21st Century".

GILC has recently taken action on several Internet issues, including free speech, privacy, and encryption. Earlier this year GILC released a paper to the European Parliament on Human Rights and the Internet and a study on encryption policies around the globe.

Currently, the organization is working to revise the Wassenaar Arrangement, an international agreement that limits the availability of encryption and other techniques to protect personal privacy.

The group is expected to release a new survey at the Public Voice conference on the state of privacy around the globe.

The Public Voice conference is open to the public.

Registration information is available at

Or contact Marie Vallée at:

FNACQ, 1215 de la Visitation, bur. 103,
Montréal, Quebec, Canada, H2L 3B5
tel: (514) 521-6820,   fax: (514) 521-0736

General information about GILC is available at


EFC Contact Information:

Electronic Frontier Canada

Dr. David Jones,
phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24689, fax: (905) 546-9995
Dr. Jeffrey Shallit,
phone: (519) 888-4804, fax: (519) 885-1208
Dr. Richard Rosenberg,
phone: (604) 822-4142, fax: (604) 822-5485

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