U.S. Bancorp Will Pay $4M For Privacy Policy

Failure to live up to its privacy policy will cost U.S. Bancorp more than $4 million--$2 million of it already being paid out and another $2 million ordered last Friday. The Minneapolis-based bank last year had settled a suit by Minnesota Attorney General Michael Hatch for selling customer names to telemarketer MemberWorks Inc. when it was hit by a second suit by about 30 other states.

The bank also agreed to repay customers who bought but did not use memberships in various discount-purchasing clubs and post a new policy that clarifies how consumers can opt out of having their data passed along to third parties.

A number of bills to tighten regulation of online privacy policies are in the works in Washington, though insiders say the issue almost certainly will be tabled until the next congressional session in 2001. In the meantime, the state attorneys general are acting as the main force for privacy-policy policing.

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