Date: Fri, Mar 10, 2000 3:13 PM
RE: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Rule, 16 CFR Part 313 -Comment
To Whom it may Concern:
I am writing because of my concerns with the proposed regulations to implement Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. I do not believe the changes being considered would be in the public interest.
Although I am licensed as a private investigator, much of my time is spent as an expert witness and litigation consult in security related litigation matters and I regular rely on data base sources which are avaliable at present to locate critical witnesses and other sources of information in a cost effective manner.
If "non-public personal information" is defined to include simple names and addresses of customers of financial institutions, litigation costs (which ultimately are passed on to the consumer) will significantly increase.
It seems clear the 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, but not names and addresses. Congress seemed to provide a clear distinction by describing financial information. I have assumed the Act was intended to keep credit, employment and financial asset information confidential. I see no reason why names and addresses should not be public.
Professional private investigators rely on the economical availability of addresses, names and phone numbers in matters ranging from financial fraud, insurance claim fraud and other criminal investigations to "deadbeat parent" cases and matters where information from a witness to an accident is needed to clarify a claim.
In recent years, restrictions on access to information have often benefited criminals and fraudsters and have done little to protect the privacy of innocent individuals. For instance, in Michigan, it is illegal for a private investigator to obtain the ownership information of a vehicle used in a crime through a DMV check. While it would be great if the public sector police agencies could handle all these matters, in the real world, this just doesn't happen.
I believe this non-personal information should remain unrestricted and I urge you to define it as congress in the manner intended by congress.