Jewish World Review June 19, 2001 / 29 Sivan, 5761
You know, the ones everyone’s banks and brokerage companies have been spamming out in the mail like so much confetti, tucked in between ads for yet more “exciting” financial services?
I’d received a couple dozen of these small-print beauties before I got bored enough one day to actually stop and read one of them. I soon learned that the recently-passed federal “privacy law" – officially known as the “Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999” (though I prefer to call it simply the “Leech Act”) – actually protects your privacy about as much as would wearing clear Saran Wrap pants to go grocery shopping.
To save you the time, effort and brain capacity it might take you to actually read your bank or brokerage’s little love note (especially since you’ve probably already used it to get your barbecue grill started), I haven taken the liberty of summarizing it below:
Dear Depositor or Investor:
2) The term “personal information” may include any of the following:
a) Your name, address and telephone number;
3) You have the right to “opt out” of this disclosure of personal information if you choose. To exercise your right to “opt out,” you and your entire family must appear on the window ledge outside of the 45th floor of our Bangkok, Thailand offices on Friday, December 24th between the hours of 2:45 and 3:00 a.m., each holding an 80-pound bag of crushed stone and a bathtub. You must then write out and hand to us a formal letter asking to “opt out” in every language currently spoken in any part of the world in which we do business, including local native dialects.
4) We may come to your house while you are sleeping and remove some or all of your internal organs. We will do this unless you tell us not to before we have finished removing them. These may include your liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, heart, lungs, small and large intestines, ovaries, testicles and brain. We will then sell your organs and keep all of the money for ourselves. In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction should determine that this provision is unlawful, we will mail your organs back to you, parcel post, for reinstallation by you at your convenience.
5) You have certain rights if you feel “aggrieved” by this policy. Specifically, you have the right to contribute millions of dollars (like we did) to the political parties, senators and congressmen who made the privacy laws so incredibly lax and one-sided that we can buy and sell you like cattle. You have the right to hire high-priced lobbyists in Washington or your state capitol (like we did) to buddy up to those same legislators and sell your privacy rights down the proverbial river. And finally, you have the right to sponsor (like we do) lavish parties, golf outings and foreign travel junkets to hobnob with those legislators. Just remember that whatever you do, we have a lot more money than you do!
AND REMEMBER, WE VALUE YOUR BUSINESS