Yo, Mr. CEO, get our point now?

Monday, 27 October 2003, 8:26 AM EST

A privacy group hired a skywriter to write part of the Social Security number of Citigroup's chief executive above New York City on Friday, protesting the bank's lobbying efforts to keep lawmakers from tightening privacy regulations and demonstrating that even the privacy of bank executives is at risk.

Working during a break in cloud cover, an airplane scrawled the first five digits of CEO Charles Prince's Social Security number in 15-story numerals above Citigroup's global headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights called attention to the bank's backing of a Senate bill that would prevent states from protecting consumers' privacy.

The National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act is up for renewal. Some business-friendly legislators are trying to amend it to prevent states from enacting or enforcing laws that would bar companies from exchanging the personal information of customers with affiliates. California recently passed a bill that bans exactly that practice.

Backers of the revised Senate bill -- primarily financial institutions -- argue that the credit act lets banks offer cheaper services to customers. Opponents say it puts the sensitive information of millions of people in too many hands and increases the risk of identity theft and other fraud.

[ Read more ]




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