Public Thoughts on Privacy from Minnesota's Attorney General

By Cocheo, Steve | ABA Banking Journal, July 2000 | Go to article overview

Public Thoughts on Privacy from Minnesota's Attorney General


Cocheo, Steve, ABA Banking Journal


The man behind last year's U.S. Bank case promises more state-level court action

Around this time last year the long-simmering stew about financial privacy finally seemed to boil over. But little did anyone know that the hot times were just beginning. As the law that eventually became the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act lumbered toward passage, the nation's attorneys general began tackling financial services privacy in earnest.

One of the most zealous, then and since, has been Mike Hatch, attorney general of Minnesota. Hatch and his department filed last year's much-publicized suit against U.S. Bank for allegedly releasing private customer data to a telemarketer in exchange for fees plus commissions on resulting sales. While settled without the bank conceding anything, the resulting headlines were a black eye for the company and for the industry. Further Hatch and other attorneys general vowed to pursue further cases.

Since then, Congress not only produced the Gramm-Leach-Bliley privacy provisions, but continues, along with the White House, to propose and debate further privacy legislation.

In a recent interview, Hatch, who pressed unsuccessfully for a package of financial, medical, and telemarketing privacy measures in the Minnesota legislature this year. Says his agency has been conducting half a dozen investigations of larger banks on privacy-related grounds. Hatch expect to announce a new case at around the time of this issue would be published.

"Some people worry about the government having our data," says Hatch. "The one good thing about the government is that it's not competent enough to deal with it." Industry, he believes, is what should be worrying consumers.

Roots of a cause

In Washington, consumerist-banking legislation often arises because a member of Congress--or a staff member--gets personally burned by some practices.

No such anecdote lies behind Hatch's privacy campaign, however. He has no story to tell about some relative getting burned.

As for personal privacy for himself, he laughs.

"I'm a politician," Hatch explains, "so I gave up my right to privacy." Carrying on a crusade about privacy--much of his agency' website (www.ag.state.mn.us) is devoted to privacy issues and legislation, plus tips on how to get off mailing lists and such--made Hatch a target for various sleuths, he says.

"They keep telling me it's pretty plain stuff" that they find, he chuckles.

Hatch says the source of his initial interest in financial privacy was fairly workday--a raft of consumer complaints heard about MemberWorks Inc., a Stamford, Conn.-based marketing firm. The company specialized in selling various "club plans" over the phone--dental discount clubs, merchandise discount clubs, travel clubs, and more. Hatch's suit against that firm (settled in April 2000) charged that the company, among other things, was billing consumers' financial accounts for services that the consumers had not consented to take.

Hatch says his staff investigators frequently found that consumer complainants had financial accounts with U.S. Bank that had been charged for the MemberWorks services. This led to the suit, and later settlement, with U.S Bank.

Hatch is no stranger to banking, nor the state's institutions. Attorney general since his election to the post in 1996, Hatch spent an earlier political incarnation as Minnesota's commerce commissioner (1983-1989), which included supervision of the state's banks. In Private law practice between that job and his present position, his clients included bankers.

"Most bankers I knew believed, as I did, as a bank lawyer, that there is a right to privacy as it relates to bank data," says Hatch. "And there is a good argument that certain data is private. For example, loan files. And, independent of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there is a fiduciary duty, at least in my state, that a bank shall keep business plans private. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Public Thoughts on Privacy from Minnesota's Attorney General
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.