A financial services industry official went to Congress earlier this week to attack a recent federal court ruling that upheld California’s strict privacy laws.[@@]

If the ruling is sustained, it will give states the authority to establish patchwork financial standards “contrary to the clear intent of Congress for national, uniform standards for cross-marketing of financial products by financial services companies,” according to a written version of testimony delivered by Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, Washington.

Bartlett, whose group represents companies in all sectors of the financial services industry, spoke before the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday.

Bartlett did not give a clear statement about whether his group was asking Congress to pass a law this year specifically establishing a national, uniform privacy law. Congress thought it was doing that last year when it amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Bartlett’s testimony was the first official industry reaction to a ruling from the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., that found that the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act does not preempt California’s restrictions on financial services company affiliates’ moves to share customer data.

The affiliate-sharing restrictions, created by California Senate Bill 1, require insurers to give California consumers notice about and an opportunity to “opt-out” of affiliates’ efforts to share information for marketing purposes.

U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. in American Bankers Association vs. Lockyer said states still have the authority to enact privacy standards that are tougher than the federal standards.

A staff member at the Financial Services Roundtable said the current plan is to seek an expedited appeal of the ruling before the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

In his testimony, Bartlett also called for the government to support Gramm-Leach-Bliley by promulgating a simplified, national privacy notice with a safe harbor provision.