Al Franken Bashes On Google and Facebook Over Privacy Issues

Posted Mar 31, 2012

“When a company is able to establish a dominant market position, consumers lose meaningful choices,” said Minnesota Senator Al Franken during a speech before the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section. Franken was specifically talking about Facebook and Google. Franken is the chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

This is what Franken had to say about Google:

If you don’t want your search results shared with other Google sites — if you don’t want some kind of superprofile being created for you based on everything you search, every site you surf, and every video you watch on YouTube — you will have to find a search engine that’s comparable to Google. Not easy.

If you want a free e-mail service that doesn’t use your words to target ads to you, you’ll have to figure out how to port years and years of Gmail messages somewhere else, which is about as easy as developing your own free e-mail service.

And this is what he had to say about Facebook:

If you use Facebook — as I do — Facebook in all likelihood has a unique digital file of your face, one that can be as accurate as a fingerprint and that can be used to identify you in a photo of a large crowd.

You might not like that Facebook shares your political opinions with Politico, but are you really going to delete all the photos, all the posts, all the connections — the presence you’ve spent years establishing on the world’s dominant social network? The more dominant these companies become over the sectors in which they operate, the less incentive they have to respect your privacy.

I think I liked Franken better as a comedian saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Franken was a support of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) so clearly he has a problem with social media in general.