Opening Statements of Committee Members

Prepared Testimony of Senator Wayne A. Allard (R-CO)

Hearing on Financial Privacy Issues

10:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 9, 1999

Mr. Chairman: Earlier this year I sponsored an amendment on the floor to prohibit implementation of the "Know Your Customer" regulations. I first learned of this issue at town meetings in Colorado, and I was pleased that the vote put the Senate on record in clear opposition to these regulations.

It quickly became apparent to me that this issue was a good indication of the growing concern of Americans regarding privacy. Much of this concern is the result of technological advances and an increasing recognition that personal information is being shared in an aggressive manner. I think it is also the result of the increasing size and power of governments on all levels.

I am pleased that we are having this series of hearings. First, they will highlight the issue, and second they will help to explore some possible responses. This is a very difficult matter to address, there are no simple solutions and we should proceed with caution before enacting more federal laws as a knee-jerk reaction.

On the other hand, I do believe that we are going to want to look at ways to provide more information and disclosure to consumers regarding the sharing and use of their confidential information. Informed consumers can then act in a manner they deem appropriate. I will focus my questions on whether we can accomplish this without more legislation, or whether federal legislation will be necessary.

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