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Home > Privacy and Business > Financial Privacy > The Value of Free-Flowing Financial Information

The Value of Free-Flowing Financial Information

The United States has the most advanced economy and financial services sector in the world, in part because of the free information principles on which it is based. Sharing of information allows companies to make better judgements about what products to offer consumers, to whom they should be offered, and so on.

The benefits of freedom of information in the financial services sector include reduced risk of fraud, improved customer service, lower cost of credit, better prices and special offers, and reduced junk mail.

The financial services industry is under a legal obligation to protect the privacy of consumers. They can be sued under the tort laws if they do not. This legal regime allowing freedom of information, but punishing harmful use of information protects consumers while allowing for innovation in ways that administrative regulation can not.

Any proposal to regulate freedom of information in the financial services industry should protect the ability of consumers to enjoy the benefits of shared information. Consumers alone should make these choices. They should not be based on the guesses of politicians, bureaucrats, or "consumer advocates" about what consumers want.


Credit Information Reporting: Why Free Speech is Vital to Social Accountability and Consumer Opportunity by Professor Daniel B. Klein, Santa Clara University

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[updated 01/29/01]

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