Privacy notice

We value your privacy.

The privacy notice is a curious modern phenomenon. As usual, the well-intentioned idea is a result of government regulation. Sometimes I wonder how many trees die in order to print these notices each year, or each time some company information changes, and ship them to the consumer.

You know. You get one from the bank, the insurance company, the utility provider, the credit card company, and one is sent for every product you have with these businesses. Got a checkings, a savings, and a CD? Three privacy notices. Auto insurance, homeowners, jewelry and furs, life insurance? Four notices. Lots of dead trees.

Have you ever read these notices? True, most require a magnifying glass and a couple of aspirin to get through all the dull, boring, repetitive prose, but they are supposed to be read and filed with your other business papers.

A couple of weeks ago I heard a security expert say that one reason identity theft is mushrooming is because people don't block their private information from being sold to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who gathers personal data. He went on to say that people should take advantage of the protection offered by the privacy notice and restrict this info.

Like any concerned citizen, I decided to do this. The opportunity presented itself when a privacy notice from Comcast appeared in our mail box. Comcast bought Time Warner cable last year and recently took over. I waded through the tiny 6 page leaflet, printed front and back, circled the phone number to call to opt out of their information sharing program.

I delegated the task to my husband. He called one evening and was directed to call the next day during business hours. He did. After calling the number in the notice, he traversed the dreaded voice mail menu options and ended up on hold for about 15 minutes. A customer service representative finally came on and did not have a clue as to what my husband wanted. Didn't know anything about this privacy notice "thing." He palmed my husband off with another number to call.

More voice mail menu options. Holding for 30 minutes. Finally, a confused person who said to call Billing and gave him a number.

More voice mail menu options. Long hold. A woman named Rhonda who listened patiently and said she would take care of it.

My husband and I both wonder if the matter is taken care of. Is there a big X mark next to our names now? Do not sell this person's private information. How do we know? Do they send us an acknowledgment by mail to confirm?

In a perfect world, they might. In a perfect world, the flood of junk mail would lessen. Of course in a perfect world, there wouldn't be such a thing as identity theft.

Too bad this isn't a perfect world.

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