JULY 11, 2003
A draft short-form privacy notice that includes the disclosures mandated by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) has been circulating among regulatory agencies. The form, which has not been publicly released, would address criticisms that the initial privacy notices were overly complex and confusing. Comptroller of the Currency Jerry Hawke, at ICBA's annual convention this year, urged the development of a simple privacy disclosure that would provide consumers with meaningful information.
The concept of a short-form privacy notice seems to have universal appeal, especially since it would allow consumers to compare different policies. The intention is to develop a short-form that outlines a bank's information-sharing practices and gives clear guidance on opting out. A letter to the bank regulators, signed by 27 Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee, urged the regulators to use authority granted under GLBA to develop a short-form, stating that "providing simplified, clear and uniform privacy disclosures will greatly improve the public's understanding of the important privacy protections currently available in federal law."
A number of issues have yet to be resolved, such as whether the short-form should replace or supplement the current notice, whether use of the form should be mandatory and whether use of the form would offer banks a safe-harbor from liability.