Recently, new consumer privacy legislation has been introduced in Congress. I like this because, like you, I’m a consumer and I’m always wondering how my information is being used when I provide it to others – in person or on a website. This is good legislation, and I expect and hope that as it comes out of draft form and goes through the legislative process, it will get better.
NAR responded quickly to this legislation suggesting improvements, some of which I thought were sensible clarifications, but also requesting a “safe harbor” for those following “best practices” – basically they are requesting an exemption from the legislation, should it become law. I think NAR missed the point on this one – this legislation would re-define best practices.
I would suggest that real estate professionals have a hard enough time gaining trust with consumers, and some might interpret NAR’s response to the recent privacy legislation as an industry attempt to weasel out of consumer privacy responsibilities.
NAR’s response states that, “The Realtor® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice explicitly acknowledge a Realtor’s® obligation to preserve the confidentiality of personal information provided by clients in the course of any agency or non-agency relationship – both during and after the termination of these business relationships.” This is good, but I don’t think most Realtors know what that means, from a practical perspective. Having clear, understandable and auditable guidelines can only help the Realtor in their efforts to comply with the Code of Ethics and with any attempt to validate compliance.
I’m not the only one concerned about our industry’s response to this legislation – check out Brian Bell’s blog here: http://ageekblog.com/earclog/
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