California DA’s settle privacy lawsuit against Bank of America

District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, along with the Los Angeles, Riverside, Alameda, and San Diego District Attorneys’ Offices, has settled a $1.9 million civil law-enforcement action against Bank of America alleging violations of California’s privacy laws.  The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Bank of America violated Penal Code sections 632 and 632.7 by failing to timely and adequately disclose its automatic recording of phone calls with members of the public. 

California law requires that each party to a confidential conversation must be advised at the outset if a call is being recorded, so that he or she can object or terminate the call if he or she does not wish to be recorded.  Once notified of the alleged deficiencies in the recording disclosures, Bank of America worked cooperatively to implement changes in the bank’s policies nationwide.

Under the terms of the court-approved judgment, Bank of America will pay civil penalties totaling $1.6 million and will reimburse the prosecutors’ investigative costs of $240,000.  In addition to the above penalties and investigative costs, Bank of America will contribute $100,000 to the Consumer Protection Prosecution Trust Fund, which is dedicated to advancing consumer protection and privacy rights.

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