Sept. 24, 1996

OLYMPIA -- Members of the state work group examining public policy questions related to the commercial release of government electronic records will hear Thursday (Sept. 26) from an expert on the protection of individual privacy.

Ann Cavoukian, assistant privacy commissioner for the province of Ontario, Canada, will talk with the work group via videoconference link from Toronto. She is the co-author of "Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World."

To accommodate the videoconference, the work group meeting will be held at Washington Interactive Television, 710 Sleater-Kinney Road, Suite Q, in Lacey. The meeting will be from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.

"Protecting the privacy rights of individuals is a very important part of this group's charter," said Gov. Mike Lowry, who created the work group this July. "I am glad the members will have an opportunity to discuss these sensitive and complex issues with an expert on privacy protection."

The release of public lists of individuals for commercial purposes is restricted under Washington's Open Records Act, except when authorized by legislation. The number of laws creating exemptions to the restriction has grown since the Act was created in 1972 by citizen initiative.

Lowry has asked the 13-member group to consider under what circumstances restricted records in electronic format should be released for commercial purposes, with particular emphasis on safeguarding the privacy rights of individuals who are subjects of those records. The group also will examine how agencies should allocate and recover costs of making such information available. Its recommendations are due in November.

All work group meetings are open to the public and comment is invited in person, or through other means, such as:

mail: Governor's Work Group
P.O. Box 42445
Olympia, 98504-2445

# # #

For more information, contact Eric Campbell at the Department of Information Services, 360-407-5282, or the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.