[Federal Register: September 28, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 189)]
[Notices]
[Page 49742-49744]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28se01-177]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Office of Thrift Supervision

NATIONAL CREDIT UNION ADMINISTRATION

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION


Public Workshop on Financial Privacy Notices

AGENCIES: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board); Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC); Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS);
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); Federal Trade Commission
(FTC); Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); and Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC).

ACTION: Joint Notice Announcing Public Workshop and Requesting Public
Comment.

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SUMMARY: The OCC, Board, FDIC, OTS, NCUA, FTC, CFTC, and SEC ("the
Agencies") are planning to host a joint public workshop to educate the
Agencies and the public about how financial institutions can provide
consumers with effective notice of their privacy policies and practices
as required by Title V of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C. 6801 et
seq. (the "GLB Act" or "Act").

DATES: The workshop will be held on Tuesday, December 4, 2001, from
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Federal Trade Commission, 600
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580.
    Pre-registration: The event is open to the public and there is no
fee for attendance. However, attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-
register, as seating will be limited. To pre-register, please email
your name and affiliation by November 16, 2001, to glbworkshop@ftc.gov.
    Requests to participate as a panelist: As discussed below, written
requests to participate as a panelist in the workshop must be filed on
or before October 15, 2001. Persons filing requests to participate as a
panelist will be notified on or before November 16, 2001, if they have
been selected to participate.
    Written comments: Whether or not selected to participate, persons
may submit written comments on the Questions to be Addressed at the
workshop. Such comments must be filed on or before January 4, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and requests to participate as a panelist
in the workshop should be submitted to: Secretary, Federal Trade
Commission, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC
20580. Alternatively, they may be emailed to glbworkshop@ftc.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Toby Milgrom Levin, Division of
Advertising Practices, 202-326-3224, or Julie Brof, Division of
Financial Practices, 202-326-3224. Both of the above staff can be
reached by mail at: Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW., Washington, DC 20580.
    Interested parties may also contact the following staff at the
Agencies:
    OCC: Amy Friend, Assistant Chief Counsel, 202-874-5200
    Board: Ky Tran-Trong, Attorney, Division of Consumer and Community
Affairs, 202-452-3667
    FDIC: Stacy Messett, Review Examiner, Division of Compliance and
Consumer Affairs, 202-942-3406
    OTS: Cindy Baltierra, Program Analyst, 202-906-6540
    NCUA: Mary Rupp, Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, 703-
518-6553
    CFTC: Nancy Yanofsky, Assistant Chief Counsel, Division of Economic
Analysis, 202-418-5260
    SEC: Penelope Saltzman, Senior Counsel, Office of Regulatory
Policy, Division of Investment Management, 202-942-0690

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Workshop Goals

    The GLB Act (Pub. L. No. 106-102) was signed into law on November
12, 1999. Subtitle A of Title V of the Act, captioned "Disclosure of
Nonpublic Personal Information," limits the instances in which a
financial institution may disclose nonpublic personal information about
a consumer to nonaffiliated third parties, and requires a financial
institution to disclose to all of its customers the institution's
privacy policies and

[[Page 49743]]

practices with respect to information sharing with both affiliates and
nonaffiliated third parties.\1\ With certain exceptions, the Act also
prohibits a financial institution from disclosing nonpublic personal
information about a consumer to nonaffiliated third parties if the
consumer opts out of the disclosure.
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    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 6801 et seq. The implementing regulations are set
forth at 12 CFR part 40 (OCC); 12 CFR part 216 (Board); 12 CFR part
332 (FDIC); 12 CFR part 573 (OTS); 12 CFR part 716 (NCUA); 16 CFR
part 313 (FTC); and 17 CFR part 248 (SEC).
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    The Act directed each of the Agencies to adopt regulations
implementing these provisions.\2\ Compliance with those regulations was
required not later than July 1, 2001.\3\ Each Agency's final rule
requires that financial institutions provide clear, conspicuous, and
accurate notice of their privacy policies and practices to their
customers. Each rule also specifies the general content (but not the
particular language) to be included in the notices and provides sample
clauses designed to illustrate the appropriate level of detail.
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    \2\ Persons or entities subject to the jurisdiction of the CFTC
were initially excluded from the coverage of the GLB Act. 15 U.S.C.
6809(3)(B). That was changed by the Commodity Futures Modernization
Act of 2000, which made the CFTC a federal functional regulator
under the GLB Act, and required it to promulgate privacy regulations
for certain persons or entities subject to its jurisdiction. 7
U.S.C. 7b-2. The CFTC's implementing regulations are set forth at 17
CFR part 160.
    \3\ The compliance date for the CFTC's final privacy rule is
March 31, 2002. 17 CFR 160.18.
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    Some consumer and privacy advocates and others have expressed
concerns about the adequacy of a number of privacy notices provided
thus far, stating, for example, that the notices are confusing and/or
misleading and that the opt-out disclosures are hard to find. At the
same time, some financial institutions, which are implementing these
rules for the first time, have sought additional guidance from the
Agencies about the form and content of their notices. The Agencies
therefore believe that it would be useful to provide a public forum to
discuss strategies for providing effective notices. The workshop will
bring together financial institutions, consumer and privacy groups,
experts on readability and consumer communication, and others to
discuss the issues through moderated panel discussions. The Agencies
anticipate that the workshop will provide a greater understanding of
the challenges financial institutions face in developing effective
notices under the Act and may also be a vehicle for developing consumer
and business education materials about GLB notice issues.

Registration Information

    The workshop will be open to the public and there is no fee for
attendance. As discussed above, pre-registration is strongly
encouraged, as seating will be limited. To pre-register, please email
your name and affiliation to glbworkshop@ftc.gov by November 16, 2001.
A detailed agenda and additional information on the workshop will be
posted on the FTC's website at http://www.ftc.gov/glbworkshop before December
4th. After the workshop, a transcript will be posted on the website.

Questions To Be Addressed

    The questions to be addressed at the workshop include:
    1. What challenges are associated with providing effective privacy
notices?
    2. What are some examples of privacy notices that are easy to read
and understand and that can serve as models for effective communication
to consumers? What formats are particularly effective?
    3. What can we learn from readability and communications experts
that will help financial institutions draft notices that are easy to
read and easy to find?
    4. Are any industry groups developing self-regulatory guidelines or
"best practices" regarding GLB privacy notices and reasonable opt-out
methods? Are there useful models or guidelines from other contexts,
such as online privacy, that could provide guidance here?
    5. Have individual financial institutions or industry, consumer, or
privacy groups developed effective business and consumer education
materials regarding GLB privacy policies? Would it be useful for the
Agencies or others to develop additional consumer and business
education materials regarding GLB privacy policies? \4\
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    \4\ The FDIC has published guidance for consumers about the GLB
Act, available at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/index.html.
Later this year, the Agencies expect to issue additional consumer
education materials on the GLB Act, which will be available online
as well.
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Form and Availability of Comments

    The Agencies request that interested parties submit written
comments on the above questions to facilitate greater understanding of
the issues. Of particular interest are any studies, surveys, research,
or other empirical data related to these questions. Comments should
indicate the number(s) of the specific question(s) being answered,
provide responses to questions in numerical order, and use a new page
for each question answered. Comments should be captioned "GLB Act
Notice Workshop--Comment, P014814," and must be filed on or before
January 4, 2002.
    Parties sending written comments should submit an original and two
copies of each document. To enable prompt review and public access,
paper submissions should include a version on diskette in PDF, ASCII,
WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word format. Diskettes should be labeled with
the name of the party, and the name and version of the word processing
program used to create the document. Alternatively, comments may be
emailed to glbworkshop@ftc.gov, and should include the same information
requested above.
    Written comments will be available for public inspection in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, and FTC
regulations, 16 CFR part 4.9, Monday through Friday between the hours
of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Public Reference Room 130, Federal Trade
Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580. This
notice and, to the extent technologically possible, all comments will
also be posted on the FTC website at http://www.ftc.gov/glbworkshop, and a
link to this site will appear on the website of each of the
participating Agencies.

Requests To Participate as a Panelist in the Workshop

    Those parties who wish to participate as panelists in the workshop
must notify the FTC in writing of their interest in participating on or
before October 15, 2001, either by mail to the Secretary of the FTC or
by email to glbworkshop@ftc.gov. Requests to participate as a panelist
should be captioned "GLB Act Notice Workshop--Request to Participate,
P014814." Parties are asked to include in their requests a statement
setting forth their expertise in or knowledge of the issues on which
the workshop will focus and their contact information, including a
telephone number, facsimile number, and email address (if available),
to enable the Agencies to notify them if they are selected. An original
and two copies of each document should be submitted. Panelists will be
notified on or before November 16, 2001 whether they have been
selected.
    Using the following criteria, Agency staff will select a limited
number of panelists to participate in the workshop. The number of
parties selected will not be so large as to inhibit effective
discussion among them.
    1. The party has expertise in or knowledge of the issues that are
the focus of the workshop.

[[Page 49744]]

    2. The party's participation would promote a balance of interests
being represented at the workshop.
    3. The party has been designated by one or more interested parties
(who timely file requests to participate) as a party who shares group
interests with the designator(s).
    In addition, there will be time during the workshop for those not
serving as panelists to ask questions.

    Dated: September 14, 2001.
John D. Hawke, Jr.,
Comptroller of the Currency.
    By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
System, September 21, 2001.
Jennifer J. Johnson,
Secretary of the Board.
    Dated at Washington, DC this 18th day of September 2001.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Robert E. Feldman,
Executive Secretary.

    Dated: September 13, 2001.
    By the Office of Thrift Supervision.
Ellen Seidman,
Director.
    By the National Credit Union Administration Board on September
5th, 2001.
Becky Baker,
Secretary of the Board.
    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary of the Commission.
    Issued in Washington, DC, on this 5th day of September 2001 by
the Commission.
Catherine D. Dixon,
Assistant Secretary, Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
    By the Commission.
    Dated: September 21, 2001.
Margaret H. McFarland,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 01-24260 Filed 9-27-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P