Craig Newmark sent out an email Tuesday urging California-based citizens to acknowledge their support for a SB773 (a Bill that Craig has personally taken the time to investigate) by going to Californiaprivacy.org and sending a form-based letter. (It took me about 15 seconds to do this.)
Here's Craig's Letter.
Here's the whole letter:
Like Mr. Ed, I never speak, unless I have something to say ... and I
happen to know a few things about forthcoming financial privacy
legislation, so here goes.
Right now, banks share your financial information to provide you with
services, which is okay, but also sell your financial information for
Jackie Speier has proposed a bill (SB 773) to stop this, but it's stalled
in the state assembly.
Some large banks and insurers are already in support of SB 773 and at
least a couple of large financial institutions have told me that, with a
few technical changes, they could live with this. So, while a change to
some existing business practices, SB 773 shouldn't put them out of
The lawmakers really need to hear from you:
-- visit California Privacy: http://www.californiaprivacy.org/
and send Governor Gray Davis an email.
-- feedback? here's a discussion board:
(If the state bill doesn't pass, it's been proposed at the County level
for San Francisco and San Mateo... and Chris Larsen, CEO of E-LOAN, has
committed a million to get it passed as a voter referendum. Then, this
problem can be addressed in Washington.)
Here's more about these issues, from a down-to-earth perspective. I feel
that there's a lot of confusion around this bill, in part, because the
people how know this stuff have a hard time explaining it to civilians.
The following guidelines protect your privacy from advertisers who overdo
it, while allowing the banks to do the services you request. It also
allows the banks to do some marketing in a way that's more effective for
them, for advertisers. If it's clear that they're making money from
sending you ads, maybe they should offer you a cut of the resulting
To make conversation easy, I'd say a "bank" is any financial institution
and the other institutions it controls or uses ("outsources") to render
you the services you've contracted. An insurance company is a "bank" for
purposes of discussion, and so is a retailer issuing credit cards or a
family of insurance companies doing business together. The bank should
assume liability for info security and reliability, including identity
"disclosure" is the clear and conspicuous disclosure to customers of bank
practices and policies in a specific matter.
1. A bank may share customer financial information with another company to
provide services that the customer has requested. This includes secondary
purposes like fraud detection. Such relationships must be disclosed
The customer may opt-out from some or all such sharing arrangments,
subject to denial of the related services. (It is assumed that the
customer opted into this relationship in the account application, even if
it wasn't clear at the time.)
2. A bank may promote other services from other companies without sharing
any information about you. For example, it might include advertising
inserts from other companies.
3. A bank may share customer financial information with other companies
for any purpose with customer permission, that is, opt-in. This permission
will remain in effect, until such time as the customer opts out. Every
such case must be disclosed periodically.
Again, here are ways to take action or find out more:
-- visit California Privacy: http://www.californiaprivacy.org/ and send
Governor Gray Davis an email.
-- any feedback? please use our discussion board: