In the weeks of negotiations preceding the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB) – the sweeping legislation that removed long-standing barriers between insurers, financial institutions, and securities firms – privacy of consumer financial information emerged as a highly contentious issue.

For a while, it appeared that disagreement over this issue would actually scuttle the legislation. Instead, a compromise was struck that left information sharing among affiliates largely unregulated, but imposed significant disclosure obligations and restrictions on sharing information with nonaffiliated third parties.