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This US Senator has never sent an email. So why is he on a subcommittee focused on tech?


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Sen. Lindsey Graham has never sent an email. He’s also a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law. Let that sink in for a moment.

Business Insider attempts to rationalize Graham’s lack of email experience by noting that he’s a 59-year-old man who has “probably had plenty of help in the communications department” during his twelve years as a U.S. Senator.

That’s bullshit. All my grandparents are older than that, and they’ve all sent emails. Most of them are on Facebook! Yet none of them are expected to help Congress navigate the changing technological landscape (or, really, to do much of anything).

A better explanation for Graham lacking even the most rudimentary experience with technology might be that our government is built on incongruity. Just consider a few basic facts about this Congress and the people it “represents”:

Something similar is at work here. Just 15 percent of Americans over the age of 18 don’t use the Internet. Some choose not to use it, but the reasons many aren’t on the Web is because it isn’t available or they can’t afford it.

That means many people who don’t use the Internet would if they had the chance. I suspect that Graham can afford an Internet connection in Washington, DC. I’m also pretty sure he’s smart enough to do so — or at least I hope that he is, anyway.

“I don’t email. No, you can have every email I’ve ever sent,” Graham said in a segment on Meet the Press. “I’ve never sent one. I don’t know what that makes me.”

It makes you a luddite, sir, and an anachronism.

[photo credit: public domain]



Senator Franken writes to Uber CEO demanding answers on smear campaign against Pando, others


Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.47.57 PMOh boy. As if the scandal around Uber’s threats to monitor and smear critics in the media weren’t serious enough. A few minutes ago, Senator Al Franken published a letter to CEO Travis Kalanick demanding an explanation of the company’s policies around user data and how that data might be used to attack Pando’s Sarah Lacy and other journalists.

The letter begins:

Dear Mr Kalanick:

I am writing in regard to reports of recent comments and actions by top Uber executives concerning journalists. The reports suggest a troubling disregard for customers’ privacy including he need to protect their sensitive geolocation data.

The involvement of Senator Franken, who is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, marks a significant escalation in Uber’s woes. What previously was a major PR scandal just potentially became a significant legal and political crisis as well.

Certainly one thing is clear: This story is not going away.

Here’s the full letter: