Senate Judiciary names Franken head of new privacy, tech subcommittee
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Monday was named chairman of a new Judiciary subcommittee for Privacy, Technology and the Law. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) will serve as ranking member, according to a release by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Franken, an outspoken former comedian and author, has been an ardent supporter of tech policies such as net neutrality and warned of too much power being consolidated through Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Franken's appointment, saying the Judiciary Committee needed for focus more on how new technologies such as social networking sites have "unleashed new questions about how to protect Americans’ privacy in the digital age.”
Franken said in a release that an unprecedented amount of personal information is in the hands of large companies that are "unknown and unaccountable to the American public."
"As chairman of this new subcommittee, I will try to make sure that we can reap the rewards of new technology while also protecting Americans’ right to privacy,” Franken said.
The Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law will oversee laws and policies governing the collection, protection, use and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector, including online behavioral advertising, privacy within social networking Web sites and other online privacy issues.
It will enforce privacy laws and policies and encourage privacy standards for how companies collect, retain and share private information that can pinpoint a user.
Other Democratic Senators on the subcommittee will include Chuck Schumer of New York, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Republican Senators on the subcommittee will include Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
| February 14, 2011; 4:34 PM ET
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