SACRAMENTO, CA: A final vote is due by the end of this week on the Financial Information Privacy Act, which would prevent financial institutions from selling marketing information to third parties without permission from the consumer.
The state assembly must vote on the measure by midnight on Saturday August 31, which is the end of this legislative year.
The San Francisco Chronicle has been the principal sounding board for all sides of this debate. Campaigns have been undertaken for and against the bill.
The Financial Services Privacy Coalition, which opposes the legislation, retains APCO Worldwide and Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli. The coalition is a group of financial services and business organizations including the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Bankers Association.
The campaign has primarily been a media relations effort by the coalition itself, as well as the individual efforts of the PR teams in its member groups.
Fred Main, chairman of the coalition, said that the media effort has focused on clearing up "misunderstandings about what the bill does and doesn't do."
Main added, "Proponents want to talk about how it prevents identity theft when it has little to do with that. The challenge is that privacy is something that is very popular, but privacy means many things to many people."
For its part, the Consumer Federation of California asserts that privacy issues are connected. "This is about a fundamental principle that will undoubtedly make for improvements in people's lives by limiting the purchasing of lists, said Richard Holober, executive director of the federation.
The federation works through a number of affiliate organizations, including consumer groups, labor unions, and senior-citizen organizations.