ACLU Joins Eagle Forum, Others, in Denouncing Privacy Provisions of Financial Services Bill

October 20, 1999 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union today joined with organizations from across the political spectrum in denouncing the privacy provisions of a pending financial services bill and calling on President Clinton to veto the legislation if it is not strengthened.

As early as today, a House-Senate conference committee will take a final vote on the bill, which would allow banks, insurance companies and mutual funds to affiliate with each other and to share data across what used to be a corporate divide. In several votes over the last week, the conference committee has repeatedly rejected strong privacy amendments.

In a letter to the conference members, the coalition called the bill’s existing privacy provisions “completely unacceptable” and said it would urge President Clinton to veto the bill if it is not strengthened because it “is such an obvious assault on the privacy rights of the American public.”

The coalition includes groups such as the ACLU, the Eagle Forum, the Free Congress Foundation and several consumer and privacy organizations.

“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,” said Gregory T. Nojeim, an ACLU Legislative Counsel.

“The only beneficiaries of this legislation are the banks, insurance companies and mutual funds,” Nojeim added. “Consumers are left in the cold. The President should veto the bill and send it back and insist that meaningful privacy protections be added.”

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