Big Assembly hearing Thursday on digital privacy

Three Assembly committees are holding a hearing in Silicon Valley on Thursday to explore how to balance privacy and opportunity in the digital age.

The event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Santa Clara University’s Mayer Theater is drawing in some of the region’s top business and academic experts on a topic of growing concern: How, by whom and for what the data you put online is used.

“The goal of the hearing is to learn how current policies are working and to help us balance the economic and social benefits of online communication technologies with our desire to protect personal privacy,” said Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont.

Paul Schwartz and Deidre Mulligan, co-directors of the UC-Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, will join Google privacy policy counsel Daivd Lieber and Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman for a panel on the collection, aggregation and sale of personal information online.

Aleecia McDonald, director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society; Jules Polonetsky, executive director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum; and Chris Hoofnagle, director of information privacy programs at the UC Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, will discuss whether disclosure and transparency – those privacy policies you see on most websites – adequately protects consumers’ privacy.

Joanne McNabb, the state Justice Department’s director of privacy education and policy; Jim Halpert, co-chair of the global privacy practice at DLA Piper Lewis; and Chris Conley, technology and civil liberties fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, will discuss whether California’s “Shine the Light” law has been effective in protecting online privacy, and what more should be done to inform consumers and control use of their data.

And finally, Mulligan and Eric Goldman, director of the Santa Clara University High Tech Law Institute, will discuss the major privacy challenges Californians could face in the next five to 10 years, and how government and industry might partner to address them.

There’ll be a public comment period and post-hearing reception – plenty of chance for you to share your thoughts on these issues with the experts and lawmakers.

This joint hearing of Wieckowski’s Judiciary Committee; the Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee; and the Select Committee on Privacy also will be webcast live.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Bob W., inspirational learning-impaired legislator, has found a sure-fire way to give publicity to California’s growing legion of Internet privacy experts.

  • Marga

    I’m told that only 20-minutes were reserved for public speakers. There are about 100 people present, though it’s not clear how many are members of the public per se. 20 minutes is not a very long time for a “hearing”.