In reality, most of the privacy notices, we receive are saying "if you don't respond to me, you are giving us permission to sell your personal and financial information."
These privacy notices (hard to distinguish from junk mail) come about from a law passed in 2001 to protect consumers from having their information sold (just about anywhere). This personal information is often put at risk because it wasn't protected, properly.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a lot of information on this subject and why the version of the law that was passed isn't as consumer friendly as it sounds. Here is what they had to say:
When this law was debated in Congress, consumer advocates argued unsuccessfully for an "opt-in" provision. This stronger standard would have prevented the sharing or sale of your customer data unless you affirmatively consented. Unfortunately, the opt-in standard did not prevail. That is why we emphasize in Fact Sheet 24 that the burden is on you to protect your financial privacy.
They do have an EXTREMELY informative page on the site, which gives a lot of information on the law and how you can protect your information, here.
They also have another page with a lot of information on how to opt-out from having a lot of different companies sell your personal details.
If you are like me and have a "time challenged" life style, there is one place everyone should opt-out from having their information sold, or the credit bureaus. Credit bureaus, collect and gather all our personal and financial information, and make a LOT of money, selling it.
In a lot of instances, they were the ones, who sold it in the first place.
You can do this, by going, here.
The Federal Trade Commission also offers information to consumers on this subject.
Since most of these laws were passed by Congress prior to data breaches being tracked, perhaps the time is right to make a few changes to the law.
In case any of them are interested, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, has also been maintaining a very telling chronology of why something should be done, here.
As of this post, 153,558,451 voters and potential voters have been compromised, according to the chronology (which freely admits it isn't 100 percent accurate). The stated reason that it is impossible to be accurate is because in many instances, the total number of people compromised couldn't be determined.
It's normally pretty hard to get the data thieves to comment on how much information they got in any particular breach!