Al Franken, Democratic senator from Minnesota and a former comedian, admitted groping radio host Leeann Tweeden who wrote of her experience at his hands for 790 KABC. He apologized to Tweeden and invited the Senate to place him under investigation, but claimed no recollection of her more serious claim: that he forced a kiss on her during rehearsals for the 2006 USO Tour performance. Read the rest
Al Franken's speech on big tech and its surveillance, influence, opacity and high-handedness sometimes lacked coherence (you can't call for "Net Neutrality principles" for Amazon, Google, and Facebook and ask them to police bad speech, propaganda, etc), but the important thing is where he gave that speech.
Read the rest
US Senator Al Franken doesn't think Niantic, the creators of Pokemon GO, need all your personal information. He sent Niantic CEO John Hanke the following letter:
Read the rest
Dear Mr. Hanke:
I am writing to request information about Niantic s recently released augmented reality app, Pokemon GO, which - in less than a week's time - has been downloaded approximately 7.5 million times in the United States alone. While this release is undoubtedly impressive, I am concerned about the extent to which Niantic may be unnecessarily collecting, using, and sharing a wide range of users' personal information without their appropriate consent. I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, and that right includes an individual's access to information, as well as the ability to make meaningful choices, about what data are being collected about them and how the data are being used. As the augmented reality market evolves,
I ask that you provide greater clarity on how Niantic is addressing issues of user privacy and security, particularly that of its younger players.
I've never publicly shared my story about The Worst Meeting In The History Of Show Business, but this seems like an appropriate time, for reasons I'll get to in a minute.
In the late '90s I was working as a sitcom writer, and in the spring of 1998 I was between jobs and needed one. My agent lined up a meeting for me with Al Franken, who was then running a show called "Lateline," a behind-the-scenes comedy about a TV news program. Franken wanted to meet me, my agent told me, because I had a news background, having been a writer for Newsweek before I moved to Los Angeles. My recollection is that "Lateline" was produced out of New York; Franken would fly out to Los Angeles to hold a few days' meetings with prospective hires at a hotel in West Hollywood. And so the meeting got set, for breakfast a week or so later. I arrived a little early and found Franken in the hotel restaurant, where he was meeting with another writer. He asked me if I'd mind waiting for a few minutes, so I took a seat in the lobby.
After a few moments the telephone rang at the host's station, which sat in the lobby, a few feet outside the dining room entrance, and about 20 feet from where I was sitting. The host answered the call, listened for a moment, then went inside and came back with Franken. The writer with whom Franken had just met, their meeting now concluded, continued through the lobby and left. Read the rest