The Direct Marketing Association today responded to the findings of a new report released by the Federal Trade Commission entitled: "Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability." "We appreciate the Commission's ongoing interest on these issues. The calls for notice, choice and transparency are consistent with existing hallmarks of the ethical standards for our industry, which DMA has produced and enforced for more than 40 years

The April release of the president’s Identity Theft Task Force’s report, “Combating Identity Theft: A Strategic Plan,” offers a convenient reason to revisit the subject of protecting customer data. The report contains a comprehensive overview of existing laws that relate to the protection of customer data, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) and its attendant Safeguards Rule, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The report also discusses the data breach notification laws that currently have been enacted by 38 states. Instead of this patchwork of state laws, the task force’s report recommends the passage of pre-emptive federal

Make sure your privacy policy is more than just words. Although respect for the privacy of customer information has always been a pillar of good business, few businesses felt the need to develop formal policies until they entered the world of e-commerce and Web sites. Nowadays it’s rare to visit a corporate Web site that doesn’t have a “Privacy” link to a statement describing the company’s privacy practices. Your company’s privacy statements must be based on policies to which you are committed. This implies a considerable amount of corporate decision-making, which in turn implies a corporate strategy with respect to privacy. Such a strategy

By Donna Loyle In the current two-year legislative season, about 1,500 privacy-related bills at both the state and federal levels have been introduced, according to The Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Following are three examples that affect direct marketers: Online Privacy Bill Proposed The Online Personal Privacy Act of 2002, introduced by Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-SC) in April, would mandate that companies get consumers' opt-in permission to use sensitive data, such as financial records, Social Security numbers and health information. The bill also requires companies to provide opt-out options for non-sensitive data such as transactional information from Internet purchases. The bill passed

Privacy notices should be written in plain English, simple for consumers to understand, and in a font and type point size that matches their surrounding text. That's the conclusion of numerous governmental agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses that met in Washington, D.C., last week at the behest of the Federal Trade Commission. Panelists discussed ways in which enterprises can improve the readability and accessibility of their privacy policies and notices published both online and offline. The workshop, entitled "Get Noticed: Effective Financial Privacy Notices," was designed to help companies better comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB), which requires that financial

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