NU Online News Service, Aug. 27, 2003, 5:28 p.m. EDT – California Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, has signed S.B. 1, a financial services privacy bill.

The law based on the bill forbids insurers, banks and other financial institutions from sharing personal financial information with other companies unless consumers actively “opt in” to the information-sharing arrangements.

Davis, who is battling a recall campaign, says he hopes the state’s new privacy law will set an example for the rest of the United States.

“By signing this bill, we’re putting consumers in control of their intimate financial DNA,” Davis says in a statement about the signing. “You wouldn’t let a stranger riffle through your wallet or pocketbook. Just as well, we shouldn’t let financial institutions look through your checkbook or credit card spending habits.”

But the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, says the final version of the bill will hurt life insurers’ ability to provide financial products and services tailored to consumers’ needs and interests.

S.B. 1 “should not serve as a model for federal privacy policy,” the ACLI says.

The old California privacy law required insurers to provide privacy notices when taking applications and when delivering policies, then to send annual privacy notices.

The new law will require insurers to provide many more notices, the ACLI says.

S.B. 1 was introduced by Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, Calif.

Links to the text of the enacted version of the bill and other information about the bill are posted at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1&sess=CUR&house=S&author=speier