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First City to Adopt Consumer Privacy Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 11, 2002
Press Contact:  
Adrienne Tissier, Vice Mayor of Daly City
(650) 991-8008

Daly City: First City in California to Adopt Consumer Privacy Law


Daly City – The City Council voted 4-0 Monday night (September 9, 2002) to adopt a stringent consumer financial privacy protection law, making Daly City the first city in California to have one. Ordinance No. 1295 would require local financial institutions "to provide their customers notice and meaningful choice about how consumers' personal information is shared or sold by their financial institutions."

Vice Mayor Adrienne Tissier, who originally introduced the law on June 24th, reiterated her stance against unwanted financial disclosure. "Financial institutions know more about us than some members of our own family. They have access to information - equal to a financial x-ray - of who you are, what you buy, how much you make, and what you owe. The consumers, not the banks, own this information. It should not be sold or shared with others, unless and until permission is given," she stated.

"Consumers must be able to protect their own financial DNA," echoed Mayor Michael P. Guingona.

"I am very passionate about consumer protection," stated Councilmember Sal Torres. "The Daly City ordinance focuses on banks because most of them have a multitude of subsidiaries, including insurance companies. Banks also have access to the most number of consumers," he asserted.

Addressing the crowded Council Chambers, Councilmember Carol Klatt thanked "all the residents who called, and said they were supportive of this ordinance." She added that she, too, favors privacy protection for Daly City residents.

Similar legislation, authored by State Senator Jackie Speier (D - San Francisco / San Mateo), has stalled in the State Legislature for two consecutive years. Federal legislation currently allows financial institutions and insurance companies to trade consumer information virtually without restriction.

Personal financial information of consumers who have been "silent", or who have not properly followed the often-complex procedures for requesting privacy protection from these companies, is currently not protected. In the absence of an ordinance like Daly City's, the consumer's confidential information can be sold or shared with others.

"All politics are local," Vice Mayor Tissier said, quoting former Congressional Minority Leader Tip O'Neil. "This measure sends a strong signal to the State Legislature that we, at the local level, want action on this issue in Sacramento." Tissier, a six-year member of the City Council, vowed to work with other cities in getting similar ordinances passed throughout California.

Ordinance No. 1295 will take effect January 1, 2003, and mandates a $500 fine for each violation of the law.