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Freedom Two Point O - Distributed Democracy - Dialogue for a Connected Word


May 17, 2004



Conference in Washington, DC to Explore Privacy, Open Government, and Democracy


WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Patrick Leahy will be honored on Thursday, May 20 at "Freedom 2.0," a public policy conference in Washington, DC, for his work to safeguard civil liberties, protect privacy, and promote open government.

Patrick Leahy of Burlington, Vermont was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont. He was also the youngest Senator (34) elected from the Green Mountain State and is now serving his fifth term.

Sometimes referred to as the "cyber senator," Leahy has been actively involved in legislation associated with the Internet. Leahy was one of the first members of Congress to go online and in 1995 he was the second senator to post a homepage. His Web site has been consistently lauded as one of the Senate's best and a leading Internet magazine called Leahy the most "Net-friendly" member of Congress.

Senator Leahy has taken the lead on many privacy issues, including Internet and medical records privacy. Leahy held Congress's first hearing in 1994 on privacy concerns relating to electronic medical records. Senator Leahy is also a champion of open government and worked to update the Freedom of Information Act to ensure public access to government records in new electronic formats.

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate's negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act. He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, as well as provisions which he authored to triple staffing along the US-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators.

Marc Rotenberg, President of EPIC, said, "We are very pleased to present this award to Senator Leahy. No member of Congress has done more on behalf of the American people to safeguard our basic freedoms. And no member of Congress has shown a greater understanding of the far-reaching impact of new technology."

"Freedom 2:0: Distributed Democracy, Dialogue for a Connected World" will bring together civil society leaders, academic experts, and government decision makers to explore the critical challenges facing the Information Society - the protection of privacy, the transparency of government, the promotion of the Public Voice, and the need to assess the reliability of electronic voting systems.

Other speakers include Rep. Rush Holt, who has introduced legislation to improve the reliability of electronic voting systems, Ambassador David Gross, who leads the US delegation to the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, Vinton G. Cerf, Chairman of ICANN, Nuala O'Connor-Kelley, Chief Privacy Officer for the Department of Homeland Security, and Giovanni Buttarelli, Secretary General of the Italian Data Protection Authority.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is hosting the Freedom 2.0 conference. EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional value. Well regarded for its innovative and effective advocacy, EPIC is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Senator Leahy will receive the award and make brief remarks at the Washington Club on Dupont Circle on Thursday, May 20, 2004 at 6 pm. The conference continues at the Washington Club with public policy panels on May 21 and workshops on May 22.

The Freedom 2.0 conference is open to the public. Registration information is available at http://www.epic04.org/ The media is invited to the reception on Thursday and the policy panels on Friday.



Office of Senator Patrick Leahy

David Carle, Press Secretary


http://leahy.senate.gov/ (Sen. Leahy homepage)


EPIC Conference office (for registration information)

Paul Henning, Coordinator


http://www.epic04.org/ (Conference homepage)


Marc Rotenberg, EPIC President


http://www.epic.org/ (EPIC homepage)