House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'

Sara Peters, Editor in Chief | 12/7/2012 | 12 comments

Sara Peters
On Monday, the US House of Representatives debated House Resolution 5817, the amusingly named Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act.

The Act would amend the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) to relieve some financial institutions of some of their data privacy notification responsibilities. The amendment would not apply to data breach notification responsibilities. It would apply only to the basic annual notices describing privacy policies that financial institutions must send to customers every year, even if their privacy policies hadn't changed since the last notice. For example, it would exempt state-licensed institutions that are already subject to state privacy protection law.

Proponents for the Act say that the annual privacy notices are an unnecessary expense for financial institutions. Representative Edward Markey, a democrat from Massachusetts, disagreed. Marky participated in the passage of the original GLBA when it was passed in 1999, and claims to be partly responsible for the privacy rules that were included in GLBA then. During the proceedings about H.R. 5817 Monday, Markey warned that "There is a looming privacy catastrophe coming in this country" and criticized banks for claiming that the current rules about annual notifications are so onerous.

"The amount of information we get, at home from these banks -- massive, as you know," said Markey, in the proceedings. "You open up your mailbox every day and there's like 25 solicitations from financial institutions all across the country. They've got loads of money to do that; loads of money... but if you ask them to just provide a scintilla of information on what privacy rights they have in terms of protecting all of their family's secrets they have inside that financial information, the banks say 'Oh no, that's too expensive. We can't do that, how can you afford that?' "

After 40 minutes of discussion on Monday, the House Chair decided that they'd postpone further proceedings about H.D. 5817. In the meantime, tell us your opinions. Do you think that this Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act is a necessary, legitimate measure? Do you think it's just an example of financial institutions pouting? What impact, if any, would there be on customers if they no longer received annual reminders about their data privacy rights and their financial institution's data privacy protection policies and practices? After all, this act would not eliminate breach notifications, which are surely more important.

Personally, no matter what they decide, I'd just like the notices to be typed in a font size that's large enough to read without a microscope and be slightly translated from "legalese" to English.

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SaneIT   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/20/2012 7:47:05 AM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
What does it say about an industry that is making money selling information on people that trust it enough to let them hold our money.  I'm surprised that we haven't heard more about the privacy issues within banks and what they are doing with our information.
Syerita Turner   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/19/2012 6:26:00 PM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
Very interesting. I think that he has a point. Banks do what they want to do. When it comes to revealing something that they have been dropping the ball on for years yes they are very reluctant. They don't want consumers to find out what is really going on with their privacy schemes. LOL! Yes I said schemes. I think that they will more than likely print it sooo small that you will need more than one magnifying glass to see it. They will not make it easy for consumers to see the dirt they are doing. Also it won't be written in English but in jargon that makes no sense and only speaks in circles. 
SaneIT   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/11/2012 8:27:50 AM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
I agree that it is absurd.  The banks have tons of money when it comes to attracting new business but keeping current customers is just too expensive.  We're seeing that a lot lately and I wonder if the bank execs feel that way in general.  Do they not want other companies to service their account like they want to keep their business?  This double standard is irritating at best.  There used to be a feeling that the companies that you do business with wanted to keep your business and protect you as a customer, by telling us that we're too expensive to keep track of and that it's burdensome to inform us of their policies it doesn't make me feel wanted.
Pablo Valerio   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/11/2012 6:39:48 AM
Data-Mining Industry PR Campaign
Sara, it is not surprising this happens. The "Data-Mining Industry" is stepping efforts "with the goal of preventing needless regulation or enforcement that could severely hamper consumer marketing and stifle innovation"..

Thank you! we really need good regulations, not just "Best Practices" to stop people mining data without our control.
User Ranking: Blogger
saulsherry   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/11/2012 1:54:26 AM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
I guess the ends justify the means @Henrisha. There's a focus on the financials here, and it actually has an impact on the end user. As these banks are all businesses it will always work in that way, for better or for worse.
Henrisha   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/10/2012 11:38:39 AM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
Yes, it is absurd when they are only voting to end the act because of financial costs associated with having to implemented its terms. That said, maybe a modification is needed to set things in order and to make it more relevant.
Pedro Gonzales   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/10/2012 11:15:16 AM
In favor of people's privacy
I think financial insitutions instead of inundating people's mail  with advertisement, should definatelly provide informaiton about their privacy rights.  I think I want to know clearly how they are using my information and as you said explain it in a way that it easy to understand.
batye   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/10/2012 12:11:10 AM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
like with everything else gov try to do something and during the process get lost... in Debating...

same problem we have in Canada...
WaqasAltaf   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/9/2012 11:35:41 PM
Re: Privacy: an never ending delusion
Well if the notification is through email, the argument is absurd and it shows bad intent of financial institutions. Moving forward, the regulatory authorities should perform audit of compliance with privacy laws and that too a thorough one so that privacy of customers is protected in spirit. Debating about notifications won't do good to any of us.
WaqasAltaf   House Debates 'Eliminate Privacy Notice Confusion Act'   12/9/2012 11:26:45 PM
Email or printed
If the privacy rights notification is made on printed material annually, I won't support that because it is an unnecessary expense and also against the war against paper wastage. Fact is that most customers won't read it so it is an expense to the advantage of few. However, I am in favour of sending notifications through email as this won't cost much and the interested customers will be able to know their rights as well.
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