Consumers' Financial Privacy Act Testimony


I am Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. We are one of 15 consumer groups supporting Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl's AB 1707. The two most critically important provisions of this bill are the disclosure requirement and the opt-in standard for the sharing of customer information with company affiliates and third parties.

I will make five points this afternoon, regarding: change, fraud, privacy, consumer benefits, and business costs.

Comments of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Utility Consumers' Action Network on Proposed Privacy of Consumer Financial Information Regulations (Gramm-Leach Bliley Act)


As our experiences demonstrate, even information sharing among affiliates can be harmful unless consumers receive affirmative notice of the nature of the business that received the information in addition to the nature of the product being marketed. We welcome those provisions in the proposed regulations that require financial institutions to identify the types of businesses engaged in by affiliates and unaffiliated third parties to whom they disclose confidential data. However, we believe that the G-L-B Act and the proposed regulations do not go far enough in protecting unwary consumers from direct marketing by affiliates who may sell products that are more risky than those offered by the financial institution the consumers do business with. The inability of consumers to "opt-out" of data sharing among affiliates exposes consumers to the kinds of marketing abuses suffered by our three elderly UCAN members.

Letter to California Legislators and Governor Gray Davis by 15 Consumer-related Organizations in Favor of Strong Opt-in Financial Privacy Legislation


The undersigned organizations urge your support of legislation giving customers of financial institutions stronger rights of privacy over their customer information.

This is a critical time for California consumers. In 1999 Congress passed and the President signed the Financial Services Modernization Bill. This far-reaching law enables banks to become affiliated with insurance companies and brokerage firms. This law contains only the weakest of customer privacy provisions - requiring financial institutions to provide customers an opt-out opportunity before selling customer data to unaffiliated third parties.1

Consumers' Concerns about Financial Privacy and Security


I have been asked by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to present an overview of consumers' concerns about financial privacy and security. I think the best way for me to do that is to tell you about some of the cases that have come to my attention from people calling our hotline or sending e-mail messages.

Comments to California Department of Insurance Concerning Privacy of Personal Financial and Medical Record Information


We are pleased to see that the proposed regulations, as revised, include a number of changes that will benefit individual privacy interests. We commend the staff of the Department for efforts to balance multiple interests and their willingness to consider our concerns about loss of personal privacy.

Phishing: A Real-Life Experiment with Troubling Results


Last week I received a Bank of America phishing email. Nothing out of the ordinary in that. If I have a spare moment, I usually look to see if the phishing site is still up, then do a DNS lookup and blast off an email to let the site owner know of the scam.

Well, last week's phishing was particularly sophisticated.

Lost in the Fine Print: Readability of Financial Privacy Notices (Hochhauser)


Readability analyses of 60 financial privacy notices found that they are written at a 3rd-4th year college reading level, instead of the junior high school level that is recommended for materials written for the general public. Consumers will have a hard time understanding the notices because the writing style uses too many complicated sentences and too many uncommon words.

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