Privacy Policies

Every organization seems to have a privacy policy.  Of course the one (pdf) at the Henry George School recognizes that we rely on and are subject to forces beyond our control, and can really only promise to do our best.  But most privacy policies (for example here) seem to have provisions like:

We may share your Information with any third party outside our family of companies as permitted or required by law or as expressly authorized by you.

Which imho could be equivalently stated as:

We will do anything we damn well please with your information as long as we don’t think it’s illegal.

That’s why I was struck some years ago by the  privacy policy of the iconoclastic but quite successful Mairs and Power Funds

We do not disclose any nonpublic personal information  about our shareholders, past or present, to nonaffiliated third parties, such as consultants or accountants, except as authorized by shareholders or required by law.

Which I restate as:

We’ll give out your information only if you, or guys with badges and guns, want it given out.

Unfortunately, somebody seems to have told Mairs and Power that investors really don’t care about privacy, and policy now says:

We do not … disclose … information … unless … permitted by law.

It’s really too bad, but what else are we rentiers supposed to do?

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