ACLU Assails Senate for Approving Corporate Money Scheme At the Expense of Americans' Privacy

November 3, 1999 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — A plan that gives banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions blanket permission to trade customers’ financial information with affiliated companies is scheduled for a final vote by the Senate today. The American Civil Liberties Union harshly criticized the lack of concern Senators from both parties have demonstrated for customers’ privacy rights.

“The privacy protections in this bill are so weak they’re almost nonexistent,” said Gregory T. Nojeim, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. “By allowing banks, insurance companies and mutual funds to misuse our most private information, the bill lets companies profit at the expense of their customers, who will be left out in the cold.”

The bill, (S. 900) the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, is likely to get the final approval of the Senate today and of the House tomorrow. While President Clinton has paid lip service to the outcry over the bill’s privacy problems, he is expected to sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

An unusual coalition of groups including the ACLU, the Eagle Forum, Free Congress Foundation, the Consumer’s Union and several other consumer and privacy organizations have worked together with Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) in an unsuccessful attempt to add strong privacy protections to the bill.

“This bill fails to provide the most basic privacy protections to customers who financial records would be shared — without notice or consent — among the newly affiliated conglomerates authorized by the bill,” Nojeim said.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release