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Hensarling: GAO Report Reveals Security, Privacy Weaknesses with CFPB’s Collection of Consumer Data

Washington, September 22, 2014 - Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) today released the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showing the CFPB is not taking adequate steps to protect the private financial data it is collecting on millions of Americans:

“It literally took an act of Congress to obtain this information because the unaccountable CFPB would not answer our questions,” said Chairman Hensarling.  “The American people are rightfully worried about the massive amounts of private information government collects on their personal lives, especially in this age of criminal hackers, data breaches and identity theft.  This report reveals troubling deficiencies in the CFPB’s data security procedures and privacy controls, as well as an apparent effort by the CFPB to skirt the consumer privacy protections required by Congress in both the Dodd-Frank Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act.

“As the GAO report notes, the CFPB is collecting information on hundreds of millions of credit card accounts.  But the credit card database is just the tip of the iceberg.  It is merely one of 13 massive data collection programs the CFPB has undertaken, and the numbers are staggering. These programs include the collection of 11 million credit reports monthly, 195 million mortgages monthly, 700,000 monthly auto sales transactions linked with consumer credit data, plus the National Mortgage Database, which was not fully examined by the GAO as part of this report.
“It seems the CFPB is trying to out-NSA the NSA when it comes to accumulating information on Americans.  This is, without a doubt, an unwarranted and shocking intrusion into the privacy of American citizens.  How exactly does the CFPB’s effort protect consumers?” Chairman Hensarling added.

Congress passed legislation in January requiring the GAO to examine the CFPB’s data collection efforts after the CFPB refused to disclose information to Congress about the scope of its program.  The GAO study also satisfies requests made by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

Click here to read the GAO report.


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