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Sen. Franken Addresses Privacy Group at Law School

AUGUST 22, 2011—U.S. Senator Al Franken spoke to area business leaders, corporate attorneys, and Law School faculty about data privacy issues at an August 19 breakfast organized by Associate Professor William McGeveran in conjunction with the Twin Cities Privacy Network (TCPN), an association of privacy practitioners from large companies and institutions in Minnesota.

Franken chairs the new Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, which oversees collection, use, and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector and the implications of current and emerging technologies on privacy. He has introduced legislation to regulate gathering and use of geolocation data from smart phones and other mobile devices. At the breakfast, Franken discussed his plans for the subcommittee, the prospects for passage of data privacy legislation in Congress, and the challenges of balancing the benefits of new technology with the increased risks to personal privacy.

McGeveran, who teaches a course in data privacy law and writes about Internet and privacy issues, has been active in TCPN for several years and has consulted with Franken’s staff about privacy issues. “I think the Senator got some insights from talking with privacy specialists on the ground, and the practitioners were glad to hear the views of someone with a leadership role on these issues in Washington,” he said.

The TCPN membership is composed of attorneys, senior IT and information security managers, compliance directors, and heads of other departments that help companies navigate the complexity of privacy regulation. In attendance were representatives of some of the Twin Cities’ largest enterprises, including 3M, Cargill, Medtronic, Target, UnitedHealth Group, U.S. Bancorp, and many others.

"TCPN is one of the biggest privacy organizations in the country, largely because privacy is so important for key local industries like health care, financial services, and retail," McGeveran said. "It’s obviously a huge growth area in the law, regionally and nationally, and we are trying to train our students to jump right in."


U.S. Senator Al Franken

U.S. Senator Al Franken