WASHINGTON - A California bank's sale of credit card data on three million consumers to operators of a pornographic Web site could open the floodgates for privacy legislation, industry critics said last week.

To date, financial services lobbyists have been effective in fighting off tough new privacy laws, but consumer advocates are contending that this latest scandal could push politicians their way. The California incident follows on the heels of U.S. Bancorp's agreement two weeks ago to pay $3.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit charging that it had illegally shared customer information with a marketing firm.

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