Al Franken Cares About Privacy So Much He’ll Speak About It Overseas

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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Former Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s first public appearance since leaving Washington will be a speech about privacy at a cybersecurity conference outside of the U.S.

Franken, who departed the Senate in January after being forced out by his own party in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, will speak the CyberScout Privacy Xchange Forum in Lisbon, Portgual, on May 1, according to a press release.

“As a Senator, I fought to implement laws that would protect users’ personal information and raised the alarm about the growing influence of these new corporate giants,” Franken said in the statement.

Franken pointed to the gleaning of personal data from Facebook that Cambridge Analytica improperly used to identify and target for political campaigns, including President Donald Trump’s online efforts.

Russia’s apparent attempts to influence the 2016 were “shocking,” Franken said, “But not surprising if you’ve been paying attention to tech companies’ failure to protect users, and the U.S. government’s failure to protect them.”

The event’s website says that Franken will “reflect on how weaknesses in American privacy and competition rules facilitated one of the greatest threats American democracy has ever faced.”

Franken’s short hiatus from public life comes a week after his fellow Minnesotan, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, predicted that he wouldn’t be gone forever.

“He’s had two acts and he’s still going to have a third,” said Klobuchar, also a Democrat and one of the few women in her party who didn’t call for Franken’s resignation.

Eight women accused Franken of inappropriate touching and lewd comments, starting with Los Angeles journalist and comedian who released a picture of Franken touching her chest while she slept for a joke picture.

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