GOP Senator Questions CFPB’s Right to Collect Consumer Data

MAY 17, 2013 5:26pm ET

Republican senators are becoming suspicious of the huge amount of consumer data the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is buying and collecting.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Ida., raised concerns about the CFPB’s collection of “Big Data” at an April 23 Senate Banking Committee hearing. The senator asked CFPB director Richard Corday to provide a legal analysis that justifies the bureau’s collection and use of this financial data.

The ranking committee Republican claims the bureau has not provided this legal analysis and now Crapo has submitted a written request for the analysis.

“Congress and the public have the right to know how broad this data collection is, how consumers’ financial information is being used by a government agency, and how sensitive information is stored and protected. I respectfully request that these documents be provided to me in writing prior to any request by CFPB officials to meet with my staff,” Crapo says in a May 16 letter to Cordray.

At a recent CFPB forum, Promontory Group director David Stein noted that the data allow the bureau to spot emerging trends and identify firms that are engaging in activities that may pose significant risks to consumers.

“It makes perfect sense to me,” Stein said, provided this data is properly protected. But it is “scaring a lot of people,” he added.

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