Franken Flubs, Wrongly Accuses Internet Companies of Selling Consumer Info

Sen. Al Franken accused internet companies of selling internet data of customers, days after the companies came out in support of data privacy.

Al Franken, Franken, Senate, Judiciary

WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken has risen in the national spotlight as a leader in the Senate. Franken has provided tough talk against President Donald Trump’s administration, most recently a verbal sparring match with Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Franken has now taken to opposing Trump’s latest decision to sign an online privacy bill that would grant internet companies the right to sell consumers’ search histories and app data usage to online advertisers for profit without prior consent.

Days before the president signed the bill into law, Franken joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 46 other democratic lawmakers in asking Trump to veto the controversial bill.

The group’s letter, states that all consumer information, like social security numbers, financial and health information, browser history, and app usage would be at risk, “This legislation will seriously undermine the privacy protections of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that their private information should be just that – private – and not for sale without their knowledge.”

Franken released a statement of his own, further expressing his displeasure with Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law.

“Your digital footprint-the sites you browse, the apps you use, and the sensitive data you provide to websites-deserves to be protected. President Trump has made a grave mistake by signing this disastrous legislation, which will deepen the pockets of big internet conglomerates like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T by allowing them to more easily broker your private information. This law is as anti-consumer as it gets-it gives broadband providers free rein to collect, share, and auction off your data to the highest bidder without your consent. Your privacy is under threat, and I plan to fight back. We cannot allow corporate profits to outweigh consumer privacy rights,” said Franken.

However, Franken did not do his homework. The New York Post reported on March 31, five days before Franken released his statement, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T announced they would not sell consumers’ information without their permission.

At Comcast, we respect and protect our customers’ personal information. Always have, always will. We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so,” wrote Gerard Lewis, Comcast Chief Privacy Officer and Deputy General Counsel for Comcast, in a statement on the company’s website,

 The New York Post notes that Verizon and AT&T also shared similar statements.


Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.