Senate tech shakeup: Dorgan out, Blumenthal plans run

With word late Tuesday from Byron Dorgan that he plans to retire from the Senate, Congress is going to lose one of its more technology-minded members.

Not every lawmaker concerns himself with technology, indeed, many remain self-proclaimed illiterates. Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, was an exception.

No friend of the telcos, Dorgan may be best known in tech circles for his support of Net neutrality, introducing a bill with Maine Republican Olympia Snowe to write neutrality into law in 2007. Ahead of the start of this session, aides to Dorgan and Snowe hinted that they planned to reintroduce a revised version of that bill, but it has yet to materialize, with all the action on Net neutrality having shifted to the FCC.

Dorgan, a prominent member of the Commerce Committee and chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, also cast votes seeking to rein in federal wiretapping programs and strip telecom companies of their immunity for cooperating with the National Security Agency.

“No one in Congress is more dedicated to the cause of Internet freedom than is Sen. Dorgan,” the digital-rights group Public Knowledge said of Dorgan’s decision to retire. “He is a true Internet champion.”

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