06 December 2005

Lawyers Don't Have To Send Privacy Notices

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has held that the FTC was wrong in requiring lawyers to send privacy notices to clients under the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. As a result, lawyer can now, once again, simply rely on attorney-client privilege and their rules of professional ethics to guide them in the privacy area. Before this ruling, the FTC had required lawyers to send privacy notices to clients about whom they have financial information, similar to those you receive from your credit card company. In the ruling, the judge said:

=To find this interpretation deference-worthy, we would have to conclude that Congress not only had hidden a rather large elephant in a rather obscure mousehole, but had buried the ambiguity in which the pachyderm lurks beneath an incredibly deep mound of specificity, none of which bears the footprints of the beast or any indication that Congress even suspected its presence.

The suit was brought by the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. The full text of the ruling is here. Hat tip to How Appealing.

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