Calls on Hastert to rescheduled a vote set for the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on a bill that would gut California's landmark financial privacy
The following letter was sent today to House Speaker Dennis Hastert from The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights calling on Hastert to rescheduled a vote set for the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on a bill that would gut California's landmark financial privacy law.
September 8, 2003
Speaker, House of Representatives
RE: Don't Allow a Sneak Attack On America's Privacy
Speaker Hastert -
Americans deserve the right to say "no" to corporations that share our private financial information with thousands of their affiliates. California recently enacted such a law, but by scheduling a vote on legislation that would preempt that right on or near the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, you will deny the public the right to understand what is at stake and give the banks and insurers a quiet victory.
HR 2622 would permanently pre-empt states' ability to crack-down on banks and credit reporting agencies who share or sell a consumer's private information with affiliated businesses, including insurance and credit card companies. The federal pre-emption would override the landmark California financial privacy legislation scheduled to take effect next July.
Limiting affiliates' access to private information is critical to protecting Americans' privacy because large corporations today broadly affiliate. Citigroup, for example, has 1700 affiliates who, under current federal law, cannot be stopped from trading individuals' private information, even when a consumer explicitly says "no."
As a result of broad information sharing among banks almost every American's Social Security number is for sale on the Internet for as little as $26. That includes John Ashcroft's, CIA Director George Tenet's, and FTC Chairman Timothy Murris, who polices identity theft. And your social security number and home address are for sale too.
The people of California have spoken and the nation should have the chance to agree: we deserve the right to tell a financial institution "no" when they share our private personal information with their affiliates.
The debate over America's privacy shouldn't take place in the privacy of the House of Representatives when every American's attention will be on remembering the tremendous loss of 9/11/01.
We call on you to reschedule the vote on HR 2622.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is a California based non-profit and non-partisan consumer advocacy group. For more information visit us at www.consumerwatchdog.org or www.corporateering.org
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