Get Out of My Face

GET OUT OF MY FACE….The state of California has finally passed a sorely needed financial privacy bill:

The new law will enable consumers to block the sale of their personal financial information by banks, credit card companies and other businesses. Consumer groups praised the measure by state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) as a landmark victory in the fight to safeguard such information and deter identity theft.

Huzzah! It’s only a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. You see, it’s not the unending collection of personal information that’s really the main threat to privacy in the United States, it’s the ability to amalgamate it all in one place and sell it to the highest bidder that’s the real danger. This bill puts a few roadblocks in place to keep that from happening.

Unfortunately, we’re not out of the woods yet. The Bush administration, anti-federalist to its core whenever its corporate donors tell it to be, is all set to override the will of the people here in California:

House Resolution 2622 ? approved last month by the House Financial Services Committee and supported by the Bush administration and business groups ? would bar any financial privacy controls that are tougher than those established by Congress under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Needless to say, barring any rules “tougher” than the FCRA is like barring all paper products tougher then a Kleenex. How about if the feds adopt our rules instead?

(The California bill, by the way, does serve to show the occasional virtues of the ballot initiative. Gray Davis vetoed a similar bill last year, and signed it this time only because supporters were threatening to make an initiative out of it. Sometimes a little fear can go a long way.)

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