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United States Government Privacy The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

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 ackthpt (218170) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:15PM (#46114877) Homepage Journal

    That this appears to state every person in the US, regardless of age, has on average three credit cards.

    Adjusting out the 17 and unders and the elderly who are less likely to be stacking up credit purchases on retirement budgets, this suggests about 5 cards per person.

    Yeek.

    • 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 NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:45PM (#46115215) Journal

        Heh, in college, I got a Discover card with a 2 liter bottle of Sunkist soda.

        • by ackthpt (218170)

          Heh, in college, I got a Discover card with a 2 liter bottle of Sunkist soda.

          Somewhere I have a T-shirt from a credit card company for filling out an application. (I did get the card and still have it, as my sole credit card) But what tool goes around wearing a [Credit Card Company] shirt?

          • by mk1004 (2488060)
            The same kind of tool that wears a polo shirt with an alligator image on it (yes, I know, an ancient example), or any number of other clothing items. I guess you were never a teenager.
            • by the_arrow (171557)

              The same kind of tool that wears a polo shirt with an alligator image on it

              I do that sometimes. But then it was my wife who bought the shirt so I kind of have wear it sometimes. So I'm not a tool of the brand, I'm a tool of my wife!

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:54PM (#46115323)

            somebody who doesn't want to bother wasting a perfectly good tshirt, and needs something to wear when cleaning out gutters or painting a house.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        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.

        This.

        Even in Australia, which has very strict laws governing credit cards, there are still sneaky ways to give people credit cards (that usually have very bad terms). One of the biggest tricks is to tack a CC onto another credit application. 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.

      • by SCPaPaJoe (767952)
        My bank just recently cancelled my first credit card for inactivity. I got the card 25 years ago while I was in college. Being a long standing revolving credit account, its closure lowered my FICO score by 15 points.
      • I think a lot of people have credit cards they no longer use, forgot about, and haven't completly canceled.

        If you carry a balance, which I suspect most people do, then cancelling a credit account hurts your credit score as the ratio of total credit vs. your balance is used in calculating the score. Of course the same institutions that provide credit are the ones most concerned with your score, so it's likely the system was designed that way for a reason. Hint: not to benefit you, the average consumer.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      That this appears to state every person in the US, regardless of age, has on average three credit cards.

      The data is surely skewed by "financing" offers. I bought some furniture a couple of years ago and in order to get my discount they effectively opened a credit card account (basically same as Macy's cards and their ilk). Of course I never used it beyond paying off my balance, because the rates were atrocious. But I believe it would count as an extra account.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        That this appears to state every person in the US, regardless of age, has on average three credit cards.

        The data is surely skewed by "financing" offers. I bought some furniture a couple of years ago and in order to get my discount they effectively opened a credit card account (basically same as Macy's cards and their ilk). Of course I never used it beyond paying off my balance, because the rates were atrocious. But I believe it would count as an extra account.

        I wasn't comfortable with having many cards. I did have one from a few department stores, back when I was first trying build a credit score. I purposely closed each one of them, but one, which expired and was closed out by the store (I was in Chicago on a trip and saw a cool jacket I wanted - the store did not take my Visa card, but would take American Express or their store card, so they opened a store card account with a tiny little limit.) I know where I have accounts and within $100 what the balances

        • by Delarth799 (1839672) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:01PM (#46115383)
          There is a British company named Wonga who's APR is just a tad over 5850%
          • by ackthpt (218170)

            There is a British company named Wonga who's APR is just a tad over 5850%

            And NUFC forward Papiss Cissé objected to wearing the shirt sponsor's logo on moral and religious grounds. Fair play to him.

          • There is an American company with a British subsiduary named wonga with a apr of that sort of figure apr.
            There was an interesting documentary about bank of dave a small bank set up by a businessman called dave. In this documentary he looked into the payday loan companies and actually went round to the uk offices of many of these companies all of which were just mail forwarding addresses and all pretty much run by American companies. Some offices were just empty buildings.

            Britain does have a problem having a

        • by cusco (717999)

          Wait until you buy a house. When we bought ours we were flooded with credit card offers, one week the total value of all the card offers was $250,000. That was 50% more than we had just paid for the house.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Pretty much this. Everytime I walk into a Sear or Target or anything else they want me to pay with their store credit card and offer from 15 to 25% off my purchase to apply for one.

        At the moment, I have one CC I use for almost everything. My wife uses a spousal card so we accumulate rewards on one card. She has her own card as well so she has credit in her own name...

        But sure, last time I bought a home, I closed a few pointless credit accounts that I'd opened over the years for various signing benefits as p

        • by mjwx (966435)

          Pretty much this. Everytime I walk into a Sear or Target or anything else they want me to pay with their store credit card and offer from 15 to 25% off my purchase to apply for one.

          They do this because every time you use a credit card in their store, it costs them (merchant service fees).

          If they get you using their credit card, they will have to pay fewer fees.

          For a business that does as many transactions as target, the costs for accepting CC's will outstrip their staffing costs.

    • by CODiNE (27417) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:40PM (#46115151) Homepage

      It takes that many cards to hold all the debt an average American family has

      http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog... [nerdwallet.com]

      O_o
      That's crazy high!

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        It takes that many cards to hold all the debt an average American family has

        http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog... [nerdwallet.com]

        O_o
        That's crazy high!

        About 9 years back I received a pre-approved offer for a credit card (Visa, IIRC) with a limit of $100,000. I tore that sucker up into teensy-weensy bits. The utterly bizarre thing was I didn't gross that at the time (though I was close.)

        • About 9 years back I received a pre-approved offer for a credit card (Visa, IIRC) with a limit of $100,000. I tore that sucker up into teensy-weensy bits.

          I've got a couple like that.

          I use them regularly, and (hopefully) annoy the CC company by paying my bill, in full, every single month.

          • by w_dragon (1802458)
            Every purchase you make on a credit card the merchant pays a portion to the credit card company, generally 1-3%. The interest on balances is actually a small portion of the major cards' profits.
            • Not sure I really care what the merchant is getting charged by the CC company, unless the merchant gives me cash discount.

              And I haven't noticed merchants giving cash discounts for a long time.

              • And I haven't noticed merchants giving cash discounts for a long time.

                They still exist, but are rare. Most commonly, I see this at gas stations for some reason -- and there, it's actually somewhat frequent (though by no means common anymore).

        • by ls671 (1122017)

          Those "pre-approved offer" are just a marketing scheme. They don't do any credit checks before sending them out.

          The credit check occurs when you reply to the offer. Then, they may refuse you or say; "After review, we can provide you with a limit of $5,000 or $10,000.

    • I have three "credit cards". I have a bank debit card, a paypal debit card, and then a credit card that's an actual credit card.

      Technically if you count the cheesy ass HSA debit card that my employer considers "health insurance", then I've got four. Only one of them is a "real" credit card (as in, buying things on money I don't have).
    • Five cards per person sounds about right.

      You usually get a card or two while in college, and then as you move on you get other cards you use more. But there's no need to cancel the old cards, which you can keep for an emergency.

      And there are cards for different uses - some cards I use for international purchases as they do not charge a conversion fee, but I don't use them the rest of the time.

      Some cards also get you rewards for different things depending on the purchase made.

      As long you carry no debt it do

    • 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.

      • by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @10:03PM (#46116501)

        Unless there's an annual fee, there's no good reason to close them, so they sit in the safe.

        In fact, depending on your financial situation, it may actually hurt your credit scores to close them.

        Nobody knows the exact details of how the FICO algorithm works, but one significant component is your "debt-to-credit ratio." To take a simple example -- if, say, you have $4,000 in credit card debt, but a $10,000 limit, you have a credit utilization of 40%.

        Technically, they do this with installment loans too (like car payments, mortgages, etc.), but as long as you don't have late payments on them, there's little chance that it will hurt you even if you still owe quite a bit.

        So, the discussion is usually mostly around revolving credit, which for most people is credit cards. From people who have tried to figure out the FICO algorithm (as much as possible), it seems clear that it's generally a bad idea to hold more than 25 to 30% of the credit limit on any given credit card.

        But this also applies to your collective available credit limit as well, which is where those extra cards can come in. Keep in mind that even if you pay off your balances every month, the statement balances still generally show up on your credit report -- so if you charge $5,000 every month but pay it off, it still looks like you're carrying roughly a $5,000 balance.

        And if you only have $10,000 in revolving credit, that looks bad (50% credit utilization). But if you have a few other cards laying around that you never use, and your total limit is more like $50,000 or $100,000, that looks very good.

        Important points: (1) This isn't going to make or break your credit score for most people, but if the debt-to-credit ratio is really off, it could hurt it by 50 points or more. So, (2) Think twice before cancelling any high-limit cards, if you don't have a lot of credit in general. There's no good reason to hold onto a store card with a $500 limit for most people, but getting rid of that $25,000 limit card you never use could actually make a dent in your credit score, depending on the rest of your finances.

    • I have several credit cards. None of them charge me to have an account, and they all have a zero balance. They're useful when renting a car, as car rental companies don't like debit cards, and they also came in useful when my credit union froze my debit card until I convinced them that donating to the neoN900 project wasn't suspicious activity. Having credit cards isn't necessarily identical to having debt.
    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      I would be much more worried if every man, woman, and child in the US carried a balance on their three credit cards.

      For me, I have three business credit cards and at least 5 personal credit cards. Only 3 of the total are used with any regularity, for specific purposes. The remainder are either emergency cards (stored in home safe), contingency cards for another specific purpose, or cards I have forgotten about. None of them carry a balance.

    • by csumpi (2258986)

      That this appears to state every person in the US, regardless of age, has on average three credit cards.

      Why on earth does that disturb you? I have probably 30. Or 50. I don't even know.

      The balance on all of them is 0. That's what matters.

      In fact, you don't even need a credit card to be in debt, if that's what you are getting to. You can get a student loan, a car loan, a mortgage, that's like 500k in debt right there. Without ever having a credit card (although having credit cards helps you establish credit so you can get the loans mentioned.)

      .

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:34PM (#46115095)

      > your account balances and your income, which the IRS is already required to know about.

      The part about account balances is not correct. Your 1099-INT does not contain your account balances. I've worked in a bank for nearly twenty years, and other than when we get court orders, I've never heard of someone giving an account balance to the IRS. I know for a fact there's no automated way for them to get that information since I'm the only person here that could write that code. The interest is reported because you pay taxes on it, but they do not receive the balance.

      > people the right to know what their FICO score is.

      You're wrong again. You do not have the right to know your FICO score. Fair, Isaac, and Company has no legal requirement to tell you their score. You do have the right to a copy of your credit report, but the FICO score is something else entirely.

      • by Cryacin (657549)
        If interest is reported, then there is an easy calculation to get the balance.
        • Unless you took it all out half way through the year....

        • If interest is reported, then there is an easy calculation to get the balance.

          No, there's really not. If my 1099 reports $100 in interest, I could have (using the rates on accounts I actually have) anywhere from $4k in the account (if it's my 2.5% checking account) to $111k (if it's my 0.1% checking account).

          In addition, even if you did know the rate on the account, you'd only know the average balance through the year - that $100 in interest could mean that I had $111k in my checking account all year, or $5 million for a week.

    • If you conduct a financial transaction in the USA it is not private in any way.

      Irrelevant. The US government is not allowed to aggregate data and compile dossiers on every citizen. There is a difference between an "expectation of privacy" and being stalked or having automated fishing expeditions..etc being run against people for any reason where there is no specific cause or reason to suspect.

  • Biased Much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rabtech (223758) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:16PM (#46114903) Homepage

    In order to regulate credit card companies and banks, the CFPB needs to know what is happening with these financial products.

    It would appear that the banks' astroturf campaign is in full swing trying to get people riled up.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858)

      In order to regulate credit card companies and banks, the CFPB needs to know what is happening with these financial products.

      And that requires 96 data points, some of which obviously have nothing to do with the financial products themselves, but rather uniquely identify the individuals who hold said financial products?

      My ass.

    • by Mitreya (579078)

      In order to regulate credit card companies and banks, the CFPB needs to know what is happening with these financial products.

      You would think that perhaps "unique card-account identification reference number" could be omitted to try to anonymize the data?
      Possibly even convert the data values into sub-ranges (income 60K-70K, 70K-80K, etc.), if all you need is to find out "what is happening" with financial products.

      • I think the "unique numbers" in this case are basically just acting like primary keys in a database. They can't actually use the credit card numbers, so they just set a PK for each account's information instead. Nothing sinister there at all.
        • I think the "unique numbers" in this case are basically just acting like primary keys in a database. They can't actually use the credit card numbers, so they just set a PK for each account's information instead. Nothing sinister there at all.

          Do you know what all of the 96 data points they're mining are?

          If so, by all means, give us a link.

          If not, then you're blowing smoke.

          • Re:Biased Much? (Score:4, Informative)

            by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:10PM (#46115455) Journal
            Making a comment about how having a "unique identifier" for a data set is required to do anything with the data - that is, Database 101 - is blowing smoke? I can think of 96 data points pretty easily, none of which will require the person's name, SSN, or credit card number. Zip code, age, income level, interest rate, card level, total outstanding debt, number of other credit cards, years on credit history, credit card max, number of credit card increases, number of credit history inquiries, education level, total number of purchases, interest rate changes, total number of late payments, total amount of later fees, annual fees, bonus points available, bonus points earned, total number of cards issue, total number of fraud inquiries, total number of document fraud reimbursements amount of fraud reimbursements, total purchases, average number of purchases a month - and then break each of those things that are variables down by the last five years per card. Bam, you're at well over a hundred.
    • by Tailhook (98486)

      Right, so regulating banks requires abject surrender of all financial privacy.

      I'll keep that in mind the next time someone argues that defending against terrorists doesn't require PRISM and the TSA.

      Or maybe I'll just chalk up your silly shit to the double standards you indulge on behalf of your world view.

      • You have already surrendered that privacy to the banks. If you don't let regulators have it too, exactly how effective do you think they will be?

        The only way to roll it back is to pass new laws that eliminate the Third Party Doctrine.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Right, so regulating banks requires abject surrender of all financial privacy.

        I know you're being sarcastic, but it doesn't.

        In fact, privacy is one of the things that gets regulated in Australia. Banks are not permitted to hand over information without a warrant and they certainly aren't permitted to share my personal information with anyone else (like advertisers). If the ATO (tax) or AQIS (customs) wants any information from my bank they need to ask me or get a warrant. If another department like DHS (Human Services AKA welfare) wants them they pretty much have no other option b

    • "In order to regulate credit card companies and banks, the CFPB needs to know what is happening with these financial products."

      "Knowing what is happening with these... products" does not require monthly financial information on every adult in America.

      Of course the official said asking for permission would make it impossible to get the data. Nobody in their right minds would give permission.

  • Fucking Feds. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anagama (611277)

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

    Data like this is not about protecting us from terrorism, it is about setting up the US Federal Gov't as the largest terrorist organization in the world today, directly softly at its own citizens ... for the present.

    • by anagama (611277)

      first post attempt typos:

      directly: directed

      and to clarify, while the power inherent in such vast data collection is only softly directed at US citizens in the present time, there is no other way this goes but toward a purely despotic control of the citizenry in the future.

    • 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

      http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/s... [lyricsfreak.com]

      • by s.petry (762400)
        haha, I thought the same. When reading the summary for TFA this [youtube.com] one popped into my head.
    • by DogDude (805747)
      everything you buy.

      Speak for yourself. I use cash.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:18PM (#46114935)

    All that information that they are going to collect has been collected without our permission for decades by the credit bureaus. ChoicePoint and the other background check companies (private spy agencies) accumulate even more data.

    We are also having to put more information on the web - like LinkedIN - in order to get employment. (I was told by several companies that they do ALL their recruitment via LinkedIN. )

    Do you really think when you apply for that job online via the outsourced web/HR firm that your data is kept confidential?!

    Aside from protecting myself from petty criminals (like publishing my SSN and DOB), I have pretty resided that my information is freely available to government and corporate interests and there is not a goddamn thing I can do about it.

    It's big business to pimp our data so that they configure out how to sell us more shit and how much they can charge for their shit.

    My only hope is that the CFPB will use this data wisely and find bank mistakes in our favor and order them to correct it.

    • by Kasar (838340) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:03PM (#46115403)
      The difference between private companies gathering data to create files and profiles on people is that they lack the legal standing of government. They can't arrest anyone based on a suspicion of anything, even if that a person is a deadbeat, while the government doesn't need a warrant or any specific law violation under the NDAA to incarcerate a person indefinitely.

      Alternatively, tie the financial with the capture and collection of all electronic communications and interactions, and finding dirt on anyone who becomes a political opponent or a valuable blackmail target becomes easier for those with access.

      /tinfoil hat off
  • Want privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsprig (167046) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:19PM (#46114939)

    ... become Amish.

    • I'm glad this is currently modded insightful rather than funny.
      I'm really calling for a Scary/Sad tag though...

    • ... and then get them to shun you.
    • Re:Want privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hebertrich (472331) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:00PM (#46115371)

      man .. the americans are so fu**** coming and going it's a wonder they do not take arms and revolt.
      sheep . little tiny babies with no balls to end this .they simply roll over and ask for more.

      pathetic
      America is pathetic beyond belief.

      • I'm just going to guess that you're a male who isn't responsible for a family yet. You don't sound like someone who's balanced difficult moral trade-offs yet. Here's my take on it:

        For the most part, a given region doesn't produce enough food, medicine, or fuel for itself.

        If we revolted, there would be a major disruption in our commerce and transportation networks. Without fuel, we'd run out of electricity, and then not have clean water nor proper sewage disposal. We'd possibly see dysentery and malnutri

  • by laird (2705) <lairdp.gmail@com> on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:20PM (#46114947) Journal

    While it's creepy, in the US your credit card transaction is not private - it's collected by credit card companies and massively data mined (and has been for decades) for direct marketing, credit scoring, etc., used by companies to sell products to consumers and to drive them as deeply as possible into debt.

    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.

    • 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 SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:55PM (#46115329)

      While it's creepy, in the US your credit card transaction is not private

      Are you saying, given a name I could arbitrarily pull up credit transactions for that person?

      I do not think so. The fact that I cannot means that data is private.

      Now credit card company can share that data with whoever it likes - in private - so long as I agree to that, which we all do in credit card agreements. But just because there is a subset of people who can see it, does not mean it is not private...

      Nor does it mean that a federal agency should be able to see transaction by transaction history for every single person in the U.S. They could do the job they need to with a much broader and filtered overview of data.

      • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:59PM (#46116131)

        Are you saying, given a name I could arbitrarily pull up credit transactions for that person?

        How do you think credit reporting bureaus get their information? Have you never gotten a "pre-approved" offer of credit?

        I do not think so. The fact that I cannot means that data is private.

        It's not private, it's profitable. The only laughable privacy Americans have with respect to credit cards is what little Congress has granted to shut up the few Americans who've noticed.

        Why do you think the credit card issuers themselves are collecting and storing all this information to begin with?

        Now credit card company can share that data with whoever it likes - in private - so long as I agree to that, which we all do in credit card agreements. But just because there is a subset of people who can see it, does not mean it is not private...

        If you care to read that agreement carefully, you'll note that your bank has exclusive say over who it can or won't share that information with, and can change the terms (if they were to ever get in the way) with little or no notice to you. It's nothing but "We promise to sell everything only to the highest bidder."

        And what are you going to do if they even do violate their own terms? Press your case in the mandatory individual arbitration you "agreed" to?

        They could do the job they need to with a much broader and filtered overview of data.

        And who sets up the filters, the very banks the CFPB is supposed to be policing?

        • How do you think credit reporting bureaus get their information? Have you never gotten a "pre-approved" offer of credit?

          I know exactly how and what they get, and it IS NOT line my line transaction data.

          Yes your credit limit, current outstanding debt and so on is essentially public. NOT your transactions.

          It's nothing but "We promise to sell everything only to the highest bidder."

          Yes, exactly what I said. Still private.

          And who sets up the filters

          Presumably they would be well defined by the government.

    • That's it exactly. Not only is this data not private, it has never been private. It has always been sold between companies, and is the entire basis for a multi-billion dollar industry. The CFPB is simply purchasing this information at the market price, just like hundreds of other companies do on a routine basis. As the joke goes, capitalists will sell the rope to hang themselves.

      You can bet the NSA collects this exact same information. The NSA collects this information to conduct drone strikes, and
      • by langelgjm (860756)

        You can bet the NSA collects this exact same information.

        This. I'm glad someone else pointed it out.

        The critical difference that this bloviating idiot of a Representative purposely fails to highlight is that we're having an open debate about whether and what the CFPB should collect.

        Whereas the NSA has been "collecting" (if by collecting, we mean sending NSLs forcing companies to turn over their entire databases, or provide access to the NSA on an ongoing basis without telling anyone, or if they don't comply, simply stealing the information) credit records, bank r

  • Give me a break (Score:4, Insightful)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:26PM (#46115011) Journal

    These two things are nothing alike. This sounds like a Republican attempt to induce some guilt by association for the CFPB, which they hate so much.

    First, there's the fact that we're hearing about this in a Congressional hearing directly from agency personnel, with numerous details. As opposed to having agency personnel lie directly to Congress, and that only after a leak.

    Second, why do we think the CFPB is collecting this information? Um, probably to see if credit card and mortgage companies are engaging in predatory lending practices, or abiding by regulations, or to better understand consumer financial behavior in the U.S. You know, things within their mandate. As opposed to the NSA, which has no business dealing with domestic intelligence.

    Now there are legitimate concerns about the quality of anonymization, why they can't use a sampling technique, who the contractor is, and what federal agencies should have access to the data. Note that these are everyday issues that the U.S. Census Bureau and the IRS deal with all the time.

    Not surprising to see this coming from the Washington Examiner, which if you don't know, is DC's right-leaning daily.

    • The CFPB was created by a law written by Christopher "Countrywide Mortgage" Dodd and Barney "Fannie Mae" Frank, two powerful politicians who were telling us that everything was fine with the banks' real estate practices right up until the bubble burst, while collecting large sums of money from those banks. Yeah, this is all about protecting the consumers. /s
  • If the govt insists on crawling up my ass with a microscope, then they should have the common decency to emerge with a completed IRS Form 1040

    • They would. The IRS would like to shift to a model where they send you your return (based on the info they have), and you either say "cool," or "nope, not right, here's my tax return." For a very large portion of Americans, who just generate wage and interest income, and don't itemize deductions, it would be much less hassle, reduce errors, etc.

      BUT...Intuit and H&R Block have lobbied against it tooth and nail, for obvious reasons.

  • But the government has finally figured out how to track and eventually control everyone. Just not fully implemented.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:35PM (#46115107)

    "Pro-Capital GOP uses NSA Leaks as New Excuse to Attack Consumer Protection Agency They Never Liked."

  • The Basic Problem Is (Score:4, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @06:46PM (#46115237)

    That YOU HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY when you disclose data to third parties.

    It's a basic characteristic of the current legal system. It lets the post office accumulate files of the outside of every envelope that passes through their system, it allows the NSA to search metadata associated with every phone call and tcp/ip packet that passes over the internet, and it allows collection of this sort of information without any oversight from the courts.

    It's called the Third Party Doctrine.

    Since modern systems never forget, it means technology has handed government vastly greater surveillance powers.

    The only way to change it is to get laws changed. In some cases, like health care records there are laws that prohibit this. BUT not in general.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @07:09PM (#46115447)

    The first two stories on the front page of Slashdot are based on articles from conservative troll publications, the Washington Examiner and the Daily Mail.

    It's really getting ridiculous around here.

  • Seems maybe we should be finding ways to make some massive SQL injections attacks on these massive databases with some simple "drop table" or "drop database" SQL injections. Time to take back our 4th amendment!

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @08:34PM (#46115963)

    '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."

    He could have quoted Emo Philips...

    "When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me."

  • You never know when your agency might be declared illegal and have to go rogue. If that happens you're going to need a fast source of funding. So it kind of makes sense if you think about it...
  • 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 score...it requires manual underwriting, go to a smallish bank and you can do it. meh...another reason do remove myself from that plastic run economy.

Put your Nose to the Grindstone! -- Amalgamated Plastic Surgeons and Toolmakers, Ltd.

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