Jeremy Stein - Journal

« »

Privacy Policy Farce

The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 requires financial institutions to send annual notices of their privacy policy. The privacy policy I receive from Guardian includes the following explanation of when they will hand out my personal information:

To better serve you, we may disclose without an authorization, both inside and outside Guardian, the information that we collect as described above as follows:

  • With affiliates to administer your account, or to give you information about other products and services that may be of interest to you. We may also share non-credit-related information with affiliates to develop marketing programs. We may do this without obtaining prior authorization and law does not allow customers to restrict these disclosures.
  • We may also share your information with our affiliates about your transactions and experiences with us, such as payment history.
  • With your agent, broker, or representative in order to service your account.
  • With non-affiliates in order to administer your account or administer our business. With non-affiliates with whom we have a join marketing agreement, such as other financial companies, in order to send you information about products and services. We require all non-affiliates to keep your information confidential. We do not share your information with non-affiliates for any reason other than those stated above.
  • We may also share your information if the law permits or requires sharing.

Suppose I told you that I promise to mow the lawn every Saturday except when there is rain, lightning, nuclear war, or I don’t want to do it. Since the other three situations are included in “I don’t want to do it”, it’s equivalent to saying… well, pretty much nothing since there’s no point in promising to do what I want.

Look at the last bullet point in the Guardian statement again:

  • We may also share your information if the law permits or requires sharing.

If Guardian can share my information whenever the law permits… well, I can rest assured they’ll follow the law. If they violated their privacy policy, that would be illegal.

It appears that Guardian’s privacy policy lies to me (“to better serve you”), attempts to distract me with a boiler-plate list of disclosure policies, and then tacks on the statement that they can do whatever they want. They have no intention of mowing the lawn whatsoever and will spend their Saturdays how they like.

October 13, 2011 No Comments.

No Comments

Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« »