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Sen. Franken Seeks Info on Airborne Surveillance

Add Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to the list of those concerned about the government's use of plane-born surveillance equipment to collect cell phone data.

Not long after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder seeking info in the wake of a story in The Wall Street Journal, Franken, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, announced his own letter to Holder asking for details about the program.

“While I understand that law enforcement agents need to be able to track down and catch dangerous suspects, this should not come at the expense of innocent Americans’ privacy," said Franken. The questions Franken wants answered include which agencies are collecting such info, under what legal authority, how frequently, who is being targeted, what data is retained both from targets of the surveillance and "innocent Americans," how effective it is, and what privacy safeguards are in place.

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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.