|Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2000 7:03
RE: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Rule, 16 CFR Part 313 -Commen
To Whom It May Concern:
While the following is a form letter, I ask you not let that fact diminish its importance. I am not a writer. I am an investigator. I am currently investigating two theft cases involving elderly victims and a child custody/sexual abuse involving a six year old victim. I am working for the victim's families. Without the ability to make use of "credit headers" to locate subjects and witnesses, my job would be much more difficult, if not impoosible. A "credit header" is not a be-all-to-end-all. However, as it is updated more regularly than the phonebook, it allows an investigation to proceed more cheaply, which is important as, in the theft cases I have mentioned, many individuals are extremely limited in funds. As important as cost, if not more-so, is time. The "credit header" often allows a resolution, positive or negative, to be reached much more quickly, which allows the individuals the opportunity to put an issue to rest and get on with their lives. Two years ago, a local attorney built child abuse cases against both an individual and a professional person. These two gentlemen were abusing females in the age range of 2-6. Said cases had not been built by the prosecuting attorney because most of the witnesses could not be found. With the use of "credit headers" and a lot of leg work, I was able to help locate witnesses the prosecutor could not. I could go on and on, but let's move to the form letter:
I am writing to express my concern with the proposed regulations to implement Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. As a licensed private investigator and small business person, I fear we would lose a valuable and very necessary source of locating witnesses and suspects if "non-public personal information" is defined to include simple names and addresses of customers of financial institutions.
It was my impression that the clear intent of Congress was to provide an opportunity for customers of financial institutions to "opt-out" of sharing their personal financial information with non-affiliates of the institutions. The statute provides protection for financial information--not mere names and addresses. If all information available to a financial institution is defined as "non-public personal information," then what is "public"? Congress seemed to be offering a distinction by describing financial information. I believe the Act provides opt-out of information regarding credit history, employment and financial assets. But name, address and phonenumber should not be classified as "non-public."
Private investigators play an important role in our civil and criminal justice systems which is not understood by many. The information we obtain regarding addresses and phone numbers is essential to our conduct of business and fulfilling our obligations to consumers. We utilize this information to investigate embezzlement, insurance fraud, locate delinquent child support debtors and serve process among other things. Stalkers and scam artists seldom reside where their vehicles are registered so current address information is essential and law enforcement seldom has the manpower to develop these cases for prosecution.
If this information is deemed "non-public personal," only wrongdoers and criminals will benefit and the law-abiding consumer will be the loser. I urge you to define non-public personal information in the manner that Congress intended.