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Privacy Please

Aug
18
2003

Progressive Libertarians, those socially liberal business-conscious types who have entered politics flush with Internet Bubble cash, are about to rack up a big political victory.
Their privacy bill is gonna pass the state legislature. Helped in part by an endorsement from soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Gray Davis, scrambling, as he does so well to keep his job, big banks have cut a deal with privacy advocates. Their leader eLoan CEO Chris Larsen had pledged $1 million to put the measure on the Spring ballot (Californians, we can’t vote enough). A pretty sizable threat given the number of people who have signed for the state and federal “do not call” lists to keep telemarketers away.
Larsen’s politics weren’t purely personal. There was, as there almost always is with these guys, a business angle (think stock options). Larsen, a big Demoratic Party contributor, was joined in his fight by the on-line likes of Craigslist Craig Newmark and other Geeky business types who think — sincerely — that the information they give their credit card companies shouldn’t be used to sell them mortgages or car loans. Larsen’s independent loan company doesn’t have that option, unlike Wells Fargo, BofA or Schwab, all of which spent millions opposing the measure, so he was against it.
The privacy campaign has been jeered at in a number of quarters but as business-like as the privacy initiative is, Larsen’s tapped the same vein Presidential candidate Howard Dean is after: people who hate politics and think, as Davis has just proved by jumping on board at the last minute, that politicians only look after their own butts.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 4:21 PM | Permalink

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