Press Release: Advocates Support CFPB Commitment to Closing Accountability Loopholes for Data Brokers Selling Dossiers on Americans in Secret
August 15, 2023
|Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Ben Winters, EPIC Senior Counsel: [email protected]
Laura Rivera, JFL, [email protected]
EPIC, Demand Progress, Just Futures Law, and the National Consumer Law Center today announced support of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra’s announcement that the agency will use its rulemaking authority under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to address the rampant harm data brokers are causing to the public. FCRA requires that covered entities have a permissible purpose to sell covered personal data, that they follow reasonable procedures for maximum possible accuracy, and that they provide an opportunity for consumers to inspect and correct information about them.
Director Chopra explained that as part of their ongoing efforts to rein in data brokers, the CFPB will clarify through rulemaking that “credit header” data falls under the FCRA and that entities selling the types of data normally contained in consumer reports will have to comply with the statute. Credit header data includes names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and birth dates. Expanding the FCRA’s coverage will be a strong first step in protecting vulnerable consumers.
Earlier this year, a coalition of groups urged the CFPB to “ensure and clarify coverage of data brokers when they sell data that should be considered a ‘consumer report’ under the Act.” The coalition called on the CFPB to clarify that credit header data, which is often used in ways that jeopardize the safety and security of immigrants in the U.S., is covered by FCRA.
The undersigned groups look forward to engaging with CFPB throughout the rulemaking process to hold data brokers accountable.
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)Demand Progress
Just Futures Law
National Consumer Law Center
“For far too long, data brokers have been allowed to profit off Americans’ personal data with little to no oversight, compromising people’s privacy and safety. The CFPB’s action will bring much needed transparency and accountability to the data broker market.” – Ben Winters, Senior Counsel at Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
”Data brokers have been flagrantly evading the FCRA when they sell private or sensitive information about us, including: property records, asset information, criminal records, social media posts, license plate reader data, demographic categorizations. When they sell this information for purposes covered by the FCRA, such as employment, credit, and government benefit screenings, they need to follow the Act’s requirements. Brokers should not be selling our information without complying with the law and the CFPB’s action is a step towards eliminating these abuses.” – Chi Chi Wu, senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center
“We applaud the CFPB for using their authority to address the credit header loophole and rein in the data broker industry. Data brokers have taken advantage of these data loopholes to profit immensely from selling the personal information of anyone and everyone. This is a huge step in protecting our privacy, civil liberties, but most importantly the people whose lives are impacted by their sensitive data being sold to the highest bidder.” – Laura Rivera, senior staff attorney with Just Futures Law
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C., established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues and to secure the fundamental right to privacy in the digital age for all people through advocacy, research, and litigation. Learn more at epic.org
Demand Progress and our more than two million members seek to protect the democratic character of the internet – and wield it to make the government accountable and contest concentrated corporate power. For more information, visit: http://demandprogress.org.
Just Futures Law is a transformative legal organization that defends and builds the power of immigrants’ rights and criminal justice organizers and base-building community groups working to disrupt and dismantle our deportation and mass incarceration systems. Follow us @JustFuturesLaw.
National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) uses the tools of advocacy, education, and litigation to fight for economic justice for low-income and other vulnerable people who have been abused, deceived, discriminated against, or left behind in our economy. Learn more at https://www.nclc.org/