Magazine article American Banker

Technology Can Defuse Privacy Issue

Magazine article American Banker

Technology Can Defuse Privacy Issue

Article excerpt

To the Editor: As a regular reader of American Banker I look to your publication as my primary source of unbiased information and presentation of issues pertaining to the industry. I was particularly struck by Michelle Heller's June 26 article "Cost of Compliance Could Deter Data-Sharing." Uncertainty over regulatory compliance, along with Bank of America's announcement that it will never share consumer information, have brought data-sharing to the forefront of issues facing financial institutions, and may cause an unfortunate rush to judgment. New technology and processes are coming of age and creating new paradigms that could significantly benefit consumers while preserving their privacy. Financial institutions should evaluate the new opportunities carefully before closing the door on potential benefits to their customers and themselves. Traditionally, financial institutions have sold identifiable, private information to third parties that wanted to market products directly to the consumers. This invaded consumers' privacy while creating limited benefits for them. There are other options that provide value-added service to consumers while maintaining their anonymity. For example, my company, Zingbill Inc., has developed an anonymous, reverse bill auction system that facilitates data-sharing in such way that guards consumer privacy while directly benefiting the consumer. While paying bills online, consumers can opt into the system and allow billers such as phone, wireless, and utility companies, to view anonymous profiles containing rate and usage data. …

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