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Hearings

Congressional Hearing on Employment Verification

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on employment verification. Several hearings have be held by the committee on the proposal to create a mandatory national government employment eligibility system. The current private sector system is voluntary.

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Privacy Rulemaking

Coalition Calls for Transparency in Public Consumer Database

In comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, over 40 public interest organizations urged the Bureau to publish consumer complaint narratives. The Bureau currently publishes limited complaint information on financial products and services, including debt collection and credit reports. The Bureau is now considering a plan to provide consumer perspectives on experiences with the financial industry. The consumer groups support this effort and also recommend obtaining consumer consent and removing personally identifiable information before posting the complaints.

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Privacy Legislation

President Pushes Consumer Privacy Forward

The President announced that he will move forward the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, a model framework for federal consumer privacy legislation.

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Campaigns

Coalition Members Promote Consumer Privacy Protection

Fifteen Privacy Coalition members representing millions of consumers and Internet users, sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee urging Congress to do more to protect consumer information. "Consumers today face an unfair choice: either stay offline and ignore the benefits of new technology, or plug in and run extraordinary risks to privacy and security," they wrote. "It shouldn't be this way. Consumers are more concerned about the privacy threat from big business than from big government," the letter continues. The coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Consumer Watchdog, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Consumers League, Privacy Activism, Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Privacy Times, U.S. PIRG, and World Privacy Forum, argues that current privacy laws are inadequate, and that industry self-regulation has failed, as evidenced by millions of records compromised in data breaches.

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Coalition Meetings

March 2015 Monthly Meeting

R. David Edelman, the Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation, and Privacy for the White House, joined the Privacy Coalition on March 27. Mr. Edelman discussed the recent privacy initiatives of the Obama Administration, including the recently released discussion draft of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act. Mr. Edelman is responsible for policy development on issues related to the digital economy, including online privacy and Internet governance.

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« New Federal Report on Improving Financial Privacy Notices | Main | March 31, 2020 Meeting »

March 31, 2020

New Federal Report on Improving Financial Privacy Notices

A joint new report issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission in intended to improve financial privacy notices.

The report's release concludes the first phase of an interagency project by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to explore alternatives for financial privacy notices that would be easier for consumers to read, understand, and use than many of the notices consumers currently receive from financial institutions. These six agencies were among those that jointly issued regulations in 2000 implementing the financial privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but survey data indicate that many consumers neither read nor understand the notices financial institutions provide under those regulations.

The report's findings indicate that it is possible for financial privacy notices to include all of the information required by law in a short document that consumers can readily understand. The report fully describes the extensive research that underlies these findings and the development of a prototype simplified privacy notice. Over a 12-month period, researchers conducted focus groups and in-depth individual interviews with consumers throughout the United States. Based on consumers' reactions to sample privacy notices, the researchers modified content and design to create notices in a tabular format that improved consumers' ability to read, understand, and use the notices, as well as to compare the information sharing practices of different financial institutions.

The report concludes that consumers need a context for understanding information in financial privacy notices. The research shows that while there is a general awareness of information sharing practices, most consumers do not understand them. According to the report, consumers are overwhelmed by complex information, and simplification of financial privacy notices enhances consumers' ability to read the notices and make informed choices about the use of their personal information. The research also demonstrates that consumers more easily understand the important information in the notice when good design reinforces the content.

The six agencies, together with the Office of Thrift Supervision, will fund a second phase of the project, to be contracted separately. This research will involve interviewing a much larger group of consumers throughout the United States to measure the effectiveness of the prototype and other examples of notices. The agencies have deferred consideration of policy action with respect to financial privacy notices until the next phase of consumer testing is completed. At that time, the agencies expect to consider a full range of options for improving financial privacy notices in light of all their consumer research.

The agencies' efforts to improve these notices complement efforts to improve the effectiveness of privacy notices worldwide, as well as other government efforts to improve financial literacy.

Media Contacts:
Federal Reserve Deborah Lagomarsino (202) 452-2955
FDIC David Barr (202) 898-6992
FTC Jacqueline Dizdul (202) 326-2472
NCUA Cherie Umbel (703) 518-6337
OCC Bryan Hubbard (202) 874-5770
OTS Chris Smith (202) 906-6677
SEC John J. Nester (202) 551-4125

Posted by EPIC at March 31, 2020 11:15 AM