Financial Privacy

Public Comments: August 2009 – WPF asks Treasury to get consumers’ consent before checking their credit reports

The World Privacy Forum filed comments today urging the U.S. Treasury Department to obtain consumers’ consent before checking their credit reports. Consumers who participate in the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) — an Obama administration program created to help consumers renegotiate their mortgages so they can keep their homes — must allow the Federal Government to check their credit reports without first obtaining consent. This procedure sets a negative precedent, and is at odds with consumer expectations of privacy. The Treasury gave itself this power in an obscure set of “Routine Uses” in a Privacy Act notice published along with the proposed system of records for the program. The World Privacy Forum has objected to this, and has filed detailed comments with the Treasury about the lack of consumer consent. The public comment period on this program is open until September 4, 2009.

OECD reaffirms its support for the 1980 OECD principles on privacy, or “Fair Information Practices”

OECD | Fair Information Practices — At a key meeting of the OECD on the future of the Internet economy, the OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria reaffirmed support of the 1980 OECD Privacy Principles. Also, Secretary General Angel Gurria expressed support for formalizing the participation of civil society in OECD going forward and for paying more attention to information security and identity theft problems. Secretary General Gurria noted that “A more decentralised, networked approach to policy formulation for the Internet Economy that includes the active participation of stakeholders needs to be the norm.” Many parts of the recent OECD meeting may be viewed online.