January 26, 2000
Spitzer proposes restrictions on uses of consumer data
In separate initiative, Council agrees to survey and advise employers on privacy
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has proposed new restrictions on the use and sale of personal information about consumers.
He also announced an "enforcement agenda" focusing on companies and organizations that violate existing privacy laws or fail to conform to their stated policies on the use of data.
Spitzer released his seven-part legislative agenda Tuesday. It includes proposals to:
- Prevent banks and credit unions from disclosing personal financial and detailed transaction information without the express prior written consent of the customer.
- Restrict the sale of individuals' "profiles" developed through the analysis of personal data collected from many different sources.
- Let consumers prevent commercial telemarketers from calling and faxing them at home through a new "opt-out" program.
- Give consumers access to a free copy of their credit reports, and increase penalties for unauthorized disclosures of credit reports and other violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Prohibit companies from selling personal identifying information obtained from Internet users.
- Give Internet users a right to stop repeated unsolicited e-mails from on-line marketers.
- Make "identity theft" a separate crime, and ensure that appropriate penalties can be imposed and that victims can be compensated.
The Business Council will be soliciting the opinions of its member on these proposals.
The Attorney General also announced a cooperative venture with The Business Council to help businesses develop appropriate privacy policies.
The Council will survey New York company websites on their Internet privacy policies. The Council will then analyze the data for strengths and weaknesses, and encourage businesses to adopt sound privacy policies.