Senator Al Franken: ‘Privacy is a Casualty’ of Google and Facebook’s Success

Al Franken Official Senate PortraitNilay Patel reports on Senator Franken’s emergence as the congressional voice of the people against corporations, for The Verge:

Senator Al Franken gave a rousing speech to the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section last night, calling for greater antitrust oversight of large media and tech companies as a way to ensure greater privacy protections for Americans. That’s not surprising by itself — Franken is the chair of the new Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, after all — but the senator took the opportunity to blast Google for its controversial new privacy policy and suggest that Facebook would soon have every incentive to share private data in the absence of meaningful competition.

Franken opened by talking about his opposition to both the NBC / Comcast merger and the failed AT&T / T-Mobile deal, but he was most blunt about the privacy threat facing internet users every day. Consumers are “out on a limb when it comes to legal protections” for personal information, said Franken, who lamented that the protections citizens have against government intrusion against privacy don’t apply to corporations.

The Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to corporations. The Freedom of Information Act doesn’t apply to Silicon Valley. And you can’t impeach Google if it breaks its “Don’t be evil” campaign pledge.

Franken went on to say that simply relying on the market to protect against gross violations of privacy is fine in theory, but that companies like Google and Facebook have become so dominant that the market itself is constrained. “What we’re seeing is that, just like Americans’ pocketbooks and access to information, their right to privacy can be a casualty of anti-competitive practices,” said Franken. “When a company is able to establish a dominant market position, consumers lose meaningful choices.”…

[continues at The Verge]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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  • Cocomaan

    Al Franken can go fuck himself. The guy voted for the NDAA, co sponsored SOPA, and thus lost all respectability. He can go around talking about privacy like it means something to him, bu look at his record. The guy is a fascist, just like the rest of the dirtbags in CONgress.

    • BuzzCoastin

      he sucks as an elected representative of the people
      a lying duplicitous scumbag
      but he sure was funny on SNL

      • Redacted

        Is that a haiku?

        • BuzzCoastin

          more portmanteauical than anything
          like swapportunity, entertrainment & psyop
          all portmanteaus involving Frankenstein

    • tooCents

      Al Franken co-sponsored SOPA. Thanks for that sick bit of information. I’ll never respect this typical D. party hypocrite again.

  • anton alfred newcombe

    says more about the weakness of the people then the strength of the corporations…