FC: North Dakota voters approve "opt-in" for financial information

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Jun 12 2002 - 19:39:57 PDT

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    [Naturally everyone should be entitled as a matter of right and logic to 
    take steps to protect their privacy. The debate in North Dakota is about 
    what regulations aimed at businesses are necessary and appropriate. Unlike 
    government agencies, businesses do not have a monopoly; at the very least, 
    it means we should be more wary of regulations. It also means we should 
    weigh the total costs of the regulations against their benefits, consider 
    whether this is a good precedent to set, and so on. I remain suspicious 
    about broad "we must protect privacy at all costs claims." I can imagine 
    voters approving a bill virtually muzzling credit reporting firms, for 
    instance, on privacy grounds -- and then complaining bitterly when the 
    unintended consequence is to deny Americans credit cards and home 
    mortgages. See also: 
    http://www.state.nd.us/sec/pdf/referredmeasureno2ballotlang2002.pdf --Declan]
    Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 20:29:06 -0400
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    From: BSteinhardt <BSteinhardtat_private>
    Subject: Financial Privacy Victory in North Dakota
    I know you are likely to have a different view, but the privacy community 
    earned a rather remarkable victory in North Dakota yesterday, when better 
    than 70% of the electorate voted to reinstate the nation's strongest state 
    financial privacy law. North Dakota law once again requires that bank 
    customers give permission (opt-in) before their sensitive financial 
    information can be sold. This despite the fact that our pro-privacy 
    coalition was outspent , at least, 6 to 1 by the banks.
    Here is an excerpt from the ACLU statement. The full statement is available 
    at http://www.aclu.org/news/2002/n061202a.html
    Barry Steinhardt
    NEW YORK--The American Civil Liberties Union today congratulated the people 
    of North Dakota for defending their privacy by rejecting a ballot measure 
    that would have allowed banks to share customers' information without their 
    "This vote was a stunning defeat for the powerful financial companies who 
    were trying to bamboozle the citizens of North Dakota into acting against 
    their own interests," said Jennifer Ring, Executive Director of the ACLU of 
    the Dakotas. ...
    "The results in North Dakota are significant not just in that state but 
    nationally," said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and 
    Liberty Program. "If the voters in a small midwestern state vote for 
    privacy by more than a three-to-one margin despite an intense media 
    campaign urging them not to, then politicians in Washington and Sacramento 
    and Albany ought to be listening."
    The pro-privacy campaign was waged by a group of citizen-volunteers led by 
    Charlene Nelson, a homemaker and mother of three working out of her home in 
    Casselton. Until a last-minute $25,000 contribution by the ACLU for radio 
    ads, the privacy forces had reported donations of just $2,450
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