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Federal Agency Data-Mining Hundreds of Millions of Credit Card Accounts 264

Posted by timothy
from the but-frogs-love-warm-water dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are conducting a massive, NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts. It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998. ...Later in the hearing, [Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas] remarked that CFPB 'and NSA are in a contest of who can collect the most information,' ... although the CFPB disagreed with that statement. In previous testimony before Rep. Jeb Hensarling's panel, Antonakes said 'the combined data represents approximately 85-90 percent of outstanding card balances.' The Argus contract specifies that the company must collect 96 'data points' from each of the participating card issuers for each credit card account on a monthly basis. The 96 data points include a unique card-account identification reference number, ZIP code, monthly ending balance, borrower's income, FICO score, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and days past due. 'Would you object to getting permission from consumers, those people who you work for, before you collect and monitor their information?' Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., asked Cordray. 'That would make it impossible to get the data,' Cordray replied."
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Federal Agency Data-Mining Hundreds of Millions of Credit Card Accounts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:16PM (#46114889)

    If you conduct a financial transaction in the USA it is not private in any way. This includes information on your account balances and your income, which the IRS is already required to know about. The FICO score and other credit information is interesting though: this is the first time the government has ever bothered to look at the private credit market's practices in a substantial manner beyond giving people the right to know what their FICO score is.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:25PM (#46114995) Homepage Journal

    The only "news" here is that the government is data mining to benefit consumers rather than to exploit them. That's clearly crossing the line.

    Right; because as we all know, if the US government says they're doing something for Reason X, we should totally take their word for it. It's not like they have whole departments convinced that their job is to lie to the American People, right?

    Reminds me of the only thing Reagan said I ever agreed with: "The most frightening words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"

  • by coolsnowmen (695297) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:28PM (#46115035)

    I think a lot of people have credit cards they no longer use, forgot about, and haven't completly canceled. It wasn't until I got my first house, and so got a long form credit report, that I realized I had a credit card still open that I got in college....for a free t-shirt and CD.

  • by jratcliffe (208809) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:49PM (#46115271)

    I have about 15 cards. Only use three of them. The rest are ones I got for the signup bonuses, or have stopped using because other cards offered a better deal (points, cashback, etc.). Unless there's an annual fee, there's no good reason to close them, so they sit in the safe.

  • Re:Fucking Feds. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ls671 (1122017) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:53PM (#46115313) Homepage

    Everyone you know, everywhere you go, everything you say, everything you buy.

    Sounds to me just like:

    Every breath you take
    And every move you make
    Every bond you break
    Every step you take
    I'll be watching you []

  • by schivvers (823289) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:36PM (#46115983)
    You are not required to carry a credit card. I am currently working on achieving a FICO score of 0. Life can and will go on without debt for me. Yes, I can get a mortgage without a FICO requires manual underwriting, go to a smallish bank and you can do it. meh...another reason do remove myself from that plastic run economy.
  • by mjwx (966435) on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:42AM (#46117231)

    People get TV's and what not on these 24 month intrest free deals but dont read the fine print that states it also signs them up for a credit card with that same company. I'm fairly certain that wont be the worst abuse hidden in the fine print either.

    Its not sneaky, you are opening a revolving credit account and charging the purchase to it with special repayment terms. Its commonplace in the US to the point that it is now impossible to get a traditional installment loan on any financed purchase outside of a car loan.

    Actually it is sneaky because you're not opening a credit account at all, you're opening a secured loan.

    What they are doing is paperclipping a second revolving credit account onto that which is not attached to the asset/object being purchased on the loan. If they attached it to the loan (which they aren't permitted to in Oz) they'd be forced to close the account when final payment is received.

    Its commonplace in the US to the point that it is now impossible to get a traditional installment loan on any financed purchase outside of a car loan.

    You've just pointed out the way the US deals with credit is fundamentally broken.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".