WASHINGTON — Two Senate Democrats vowed Wednesday to continue the fight for tougher privacy laws.

“The huge, gaping hole of protecting privacy has not been filled, despite promises of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act,” Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said Wednesday during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Internet privacy.

Sen. Nelson went on to say that he was concerned about the loss of medical and financial privacy that has accompanied the landmark law that broke down Depression-era barriers between segments of the financial services industry. Insurance products are now sold through financial holding companies, putting sensitive medical data in the hands of bankers, which is troublesome, he said.

Worried about the mingling of medical and financial data and the potential for selling them to third-party marketers, Sen. Nelson has introduced a bill to discourage the misuse of that information.

The bill would hold corporate executives personally accountable for failing to protect customers’ medical and financial privacy. It also carries an “opt-in” provision that would require financial services companies to get customers’ permission before sharing their information with anyone, including affiliates.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., also said that Congress needs to do more to ensure consumers’ financial privacy.

Last year he and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced a bill addressing Internet privacy, but it did not speak to medical and financial privacy. “Medical and financial privacy deserves the most privacy you can give it,” Sen. Kerry said.

He said that as he and Sen. McCain work on a new version of their bill that stalled last year, they intend to differentiate between financial and medical privacy, which demand absolute privacy, and some data gathered during e-commerce transactions, which may not need as much protection.

“We will not be silent this time,” he said.

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