Skip to main content

Franken to Head New Privacy Subcommittee

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), one of big media's biggest critics, has been named to chair a new Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, with jurisdiction over online behavioral advertising, privacy, social networks and much more.

"The explosion of new technologies and activities online, including social media, has unleashed new questions about how to protect Americans' privacy in the digital age," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in announcing the new subcommittee. "As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I have made privacy a top priority, and that will continue in the 112th Congress."

He said the committee's jurisdiction will include "collection, protection, use, and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector, including online behavioral advertising; privacy within social networking websites and other online privacy issues; enforcement and implementation of commercial information privacy laws and policies; use of technology by the private sector to protect privacy, enhance transparency and encourage innovation; privacy standards for the collection, retention, use and dissemination of personally identifiable commercial information; and privacy implications of new or emerging technologies."

Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will be ranking member, while other members will include Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Judiciary is expected to finalize the roster at a Thursday executive meeting.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.