Feeds

US banking bill computerises you like never before

'Quit whining -- it's for your own good,' says Congress

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A banking reform bill due for a vote in Congress this week will allow mergers among banks, insurance companies and securities firms, and so place Gargantuan reams of personal data at the fingertips of nosy auditors, marketing strategists and of course the dreaded "service consultants", as American sales people like to call themselves. The bill's sponsors claim it contains measures to prevent data-mining on a colossal scale by requiring financial institutions to inform their customers if they are selling information to third parties. But it does not address the extent to which any new financial conglomerates conceived under the measure may share information among their own divisions. Senator Richard Shelby (Republican, Ala.) called the protections "a sham". Shelby has been a vocal proponent of outlawing all but strictest 'opt-in' data-mining schemes in both business and government sectors alike. He has been instrumental in checking the power of state and local governments to sell information to commercial data buyers. The industry sees it as pure altruism. "Information sharing between affiliates is a convenience for customers," according to Charlotte Birch of the industry front group American Bankers Association. Data-mining is crucial as well for the marketing wings of financial corporations, so they might target customers with sales pitches tailored to their individual 'needs'. Consumer advocates are most concerned about a practice called 'red-lining', where negative information in one area may affect a customer's treatment in another. Say, for example, that one is applying for a mortgage through a bank affiliated with one's health insurer. The loan officer has a look at one's records, finds that one is an unlikely candidate for survival over the full mortgage period, and so charges a higher rate of interest. Industry reps counter by saying that the conglomerates will be chastened against such abuse by the customers' ability to "vote with their feet". But this is clearly a lot of talk -- such regulations are imposed at the state level, and industry will sink uniformly to the lowest form of consumer protection required under each state's privacy laws. And while some states do have fairly strict regulations in place, these govern only what industry may do with a given piece of information. Nothing can stop them having a peek on the sly, since the data will be readily available. And nothing can stop them being prejudiced by what they may find. The implications for European customers of the coming American financial mega-operations are interesting. There again, local regulations may prevent the active use of combined financial and personal data, but the information will be there, a deliciously tempting resource for actuaries, marketers and auditors, not to mention legions of bored, nosy employees. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.