New Senate Subcommittee Gives Online Privacy Higher Profile

Online privacy is getting a higher priority in the Senate with the creation of the new Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., will serve as chairman of the new subcommittee. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is the ranking member.

Although online privacy is considered a largely bipartisan issue, most Hill watchers believe the biggest push for new online privacy legislation will come from the Democrat-controlled Senate rather than the Republican House.

Consumer privacy and rights has been a top issue for Franken, who was one of several senators who urged Facebook to fix its privacy policy to block users’ personal information from use by third parties without an opt-in mechanism.

“The boom of new technologies over the last several years has made it easier to keep in touch with family, organize a community and start a business. It has also put an unprecedented amount of personal information into the hands of large companies that are unknown and unaccountable to the American public,” Franken said.