For Immediate Release: August 16, 2000
For more information: Bob Fertik, firstname.lastname@example.org 212-396-3457
For photos of the event, click here.
Democrats.com Launches first Democratic community Web Site with a "Hush-in" Public Policy Forum on Privacy at Democratic Convention, Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Democrats.com, the first Internet community for America's 100 million Democrats, launched its new Web site with a "Hush-in" on Internet privacy at the Democratic Convention on Wednesday, August 16 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, 404 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles.
The event was sponsored by eKIDSinternet.com and cosponsored by Zero Knowledge Inc. It was webcast live by Hello Network at both www.democrats.com and www.hellonetwork.com, with simultaneous live chat.
"The issue of Internet privacy is a critical issue for voters in this election," according to Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel. "The more attention voters give privacy, the better off Democrats are, because almost all progress on privacy has been proposed and championed by Democrats," Lytel said.
According to Lytel, "Republicans avoid genuine solutions for protecting privacy because they will limit what can be done with information about consumers by companies. The unregulated market in private information has produced one privacy horror story after another," added Lytel, who was co-developer and managing editor of the award-winning White House Web site before founding Democrats.com Lytel cited Doubleclick's attempt to merge anonymous cookie profiles with personally identifiable information, Intel's use of a Processor Serial Number to identify every computer user, and Toysmart's attempt to sell its database of children when it went into bankruptcy.
According to Lytel, Democrats favor strong and effective Internet privacy protection. "Democrats are not afraid to place serious controls on consumer data collection," he said. "This is a crucial issue for voters, and Democrats will gain votes if they campaign strongly as champions of privacy," he added.
The "Hush-in" began with remarks by Democratic leaders setting out the clear differences between Democrats and Republicans on privacy, and in particular the huge differences between Gore and Bush.
Democratic elected officials who are leaders on privacy spoke about their efforts to enact tighter privacy laws, which have been blocked by Republicans throughout the country. New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter discussed her efforts to prohibit abuse of DNA records, which House Republican leaders have refused to allow a vote. Washington state Congressman Jay Inslee discussed efforts to restrict sale of financial records, which Republican leaders turned into a weak opt-out. And Christine Gregoire, Attorney General of the state of Washington and Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General, discussed efforts to pass restrictions in over 40 states, all of which have been blocked by Republicans.
The nation's most experienced privacy advocate, Robert Ellis Smith of Privacy Journal, presented a survey of the states that ranked Texas at the bottom in protecting citizens from unwarranted and unauthorized intrusion into their private lives. Smith, called by the New York Times a "principled advocate," endorsed Gore.
"The Democratic National Convention was the only one addressing the issue of privacy and the Internet, and we felt it important to be a leading voice in such a discussion," said St. John, who was among the panelists. "We are pleased to be able to participate with industry leaders and policymakers on an issue that is mission-critical for us."
The event concluded with the humorous presentation of the world's first Ken Starr Awards ("The Kennys") for the year's top privacy invaders. Awards include the T-Rex Kenny to the FBI for its carnivore system, Inside Job Kenny to Intel for placing an identifying serial number on each Pentium III chip, and the Doublecross Kenny to Doubleclick for attempting to merge anonymous clickstream data with offline profiles from Abacus.
"It's been nearly two years since Ken Starr committed one of the worst violations of personal privacy in American history in his efforts to destroy President Clinton," said Bob Fertik, co-founder of Democrats.com. "After suffering through this ordeal, Americans deserve to have some fun at Starr's expense," Fertik added.
The new web site at Democrats.com is the first major community site for Democratic elected officials, candidates, party leaders, activists, and voters. It features the first daily Democratic newsletter on the Internet, fun interactive games, in-depth discussions of major issues led by prominent Democrats, hard-hitting analysis of Republican leaders including George W. Bush, and tools for researching candidates at all levels.
Democrats.com is a private company created in January by two veteran Democrats. In addition to building an online community, Democrats.com sells Internet services to Democratic campaigns, committees, and causes.
# # #