Back in July, when the Pokémon Go fad first hit and users had serious questions about the types of personal data that the location-based game was gobbling, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota decided to step in and add some gravitas to the proceedings. Franken is concerned about privacy and technology and how they intersect in new products like the Oculus Rift or Apple Music. His office sent game-maker Niantic a letter back in mid-July. The company responded, and their response, predictably, is that users shouldn’t have any privacy concerns. [More]
As people wander around with their smartphones out (but don’t drive) playing Pokemon Go, some people have concerns about the data that the game collects. After all, it’s installed on our smartphones, which are full of very personal information, and gathers information about real-world locations that we visit. That combination of information could be dangerous in the wrong hands, and Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is here to make sure users of new technology stay safe, just as he did when the Oculus Rift was released. [More]
Five years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with AT&T, ruling that companies could use a couple paragraphs of legalese buried deep in unchangeable user agreements to strip customers of their right to file a lawsuit. An upcoming piece of legislation seeks to restore that right for telecom customers. [More]
While we’ve been talking about virtual reality for decades, the current slate of VR headsets marks the first time we’ve seen anything close to widespread adoption of the technology. And when one of the leading companies in the field also happens to be owned by a company that makes billions of dollars tracking your online behavior, you can’t fault people for being concerned about privacy.
In recent years, a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly sided against consumers’ access to the justice system, concluding that a 90-year-old law gives companies the authority to effectively skirt the legal system by preempting customers’ lawsuits. That’s why some legislators have decided it’s time to change that law. [More]
In response to concerns arising from the recent launch of Apple Music, U.S. Senator Al Franken called on both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the possibility that the tech giant may be creating an anticompetitive environment in the streaming music market.
Two weeks ago, we told you how PayPal’s revised user agreement expanded the company’s already-intrusive existing permission to send pre-recorded robocalls and spam texts, and how the company gave users no apparent way to opt out. Then the FCC chimed in, telling the company that its terms appear to violate federal law. Now, several U.S. Senators are asking PayPal to rethink its terms before they go into effect on July 1. [More]
A month after legislation was introduced to eliminate mandatory arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, civil rights and antitrust cases, a coalition of 58 lawmakers and several consumer advocate groups are urging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to take things a step further by protecting consumers from forced arbitration clauses in financial services contracts. [More]
Companies have been taking away your right to sue them when they screw up for years, using small, hidden clauses to require mandatory binding arbitration instead. After years of consumer groups voicing their concern over this anti-consumer practice, there’s finally a new bill in congress that proposes to bring back your right to sue.
A group of senators raised concerns Tuesday that a new airfare comparison shopping system currently being developed could lead to unfair discrimination practices based on information the airlines receive from customers. [More]
While many opponents of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger were setting off fireworks last Friday to celebrate the defeat of this deal that would have concentrated nearly 60% of the nation’s high-speed broadband accounts under one company, realists among us are pointing out that the end of that ill-fated engagement does nothing to change the already dismal competition landscape in many markets. [More]
As we head into the final stretch of regulatory review for the pending $45 billion of Comcast and Time Warner Cable — and with the Dept. of Justice possibly prepping to block the deal — a group of U.S. Senators has written to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler urging them to prevent these two companies from getting hitched. [More]
The Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is not going as smoothly as either company had hoped. With each passing day, the FCC seems less likely to rubber-stamp their approval, and rumor has it that the Justice Department is leaning against the corporate marriage. With momentum building, merger opponents are taking the chance to push back even harder, and that includes U.S. Senator Al Franken.
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas attempted to slam the notion of net neutrality, dubbing it “Obamacare for the Internet” and claiming that it would result in prices and services being set by the government. But over the weekend, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called Cruz’s claim “baloney,” pointing out the fact that we’ve had net neutrality for years and cable companies have been doing just fine. [More]
While FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler works to make Verizon’s skewed vision of net neutrality real, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has made an impassioned plea to the American people to stand up against the notion that deep-pocketed companies should have better and faster access to Internet users than everyone else. [More]
While numerous advocacy and public interest groups have publicly come out to declare their opposition to the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, those companies whose business will most directly be affected by the tie-up — broadcasters, streaming services, production studios, advertisers — have remained relatively silent. But it’s not because they don’t have an opinion on the matter. [More]
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has made no effort to hide his opposition to the pending merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Now the actor/writer-turned-lawmaker is saying he wishes others would be more open about their feelings on the controversial deal. [More]