Web Privacy Bill Goes To California Gov.

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By Jim Connolly, NU Life-Health Senior Editor

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 6, 4:06 p.m.EST?A Web privacy measure has been passed by theCalifornia legislature and sent to Gov. Gray Davis for hissignature.

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The legislature, which ended its session Aug. 31, also killed amajor privacy bill opposed by insurers.

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Left for dead was the controversial Senate Bill 773, a financialprivacy bill sponsored by State Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo andAssemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael. The measure expired in thefinal hours of the session.

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The bill's definition of an affiliate, and the opt-out provisionthat it would require, concerned insurers. For companies considerednon-affiliates, an opt-in would have been required.

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In the final hours of the session, the Senate refused to agreeto changes made in the Assembly, and the Assembly voted the billdown 36 to 34. Forty-one votes were needed to pass the bill.

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Assembly Bill 2297, addressing privacy policies on Web sites,was passed by a 47 to 28 vote. It requires privacy policies to beposted and requires that notification be given if there is a breachof security on a Web site and confidential consumer information isaccessed.

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Sen. Speier's measure, which failed, was opposed by both lifeand property-casualty groups including the American Council of LifeInsurers, Washington, and the Alliance of American Insurers,Downers Grove, Ill.

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It had support from consumer groups and credit unionsrepresented by the California Credit Union League, RanchoCucamonga. CCUL supported an opt-out provision for third partiesthat would make it easier for small financial institutions tomarket products.

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Opt-outs require a consumer to say that they do not wantinformation shared. Opt-ins require a company to get a consumer'sconsent before information can be shared.

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