Federal agency seeks to monitor 80 percent of U.S. consumer credit card transactions in 2013
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
In a controversial move, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is reportedly seeking to monitor 80 percent of consumer credit card transactions in the United States in 2013, totaling up to 42 billion transactions.
If accomplished, this would be yet another massive federal database containing the private information of Americans. It would also be an additional database the government can’t protect.
The data mining program was revealed in a CFPB planning document for fiscal years 2013-17 obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The “markets monitoring” program would collect information on some 42 billion transactions made with around 933 million credit cards.
The CFPB, established in 2011, came under fire soon after its inception.
Even the Richard Cordray, the newly-appointed director, acknowledged the many concerns.
“People aren’t sure what to make of it,” Cordray said to The Washington Post. “They’re worried about a new agency and how it will exercise authority.”
Cordray defended the CFPB data mining practice at a House Financial services Committee hearing on Wednesday. He said the agency is monitoring the use of credit cards at 110 banks.
“This is one step closer to a Big Brother form of government where they know everything about us,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) was also quite critical of the agency, noting that it is “designed to operate outside the usual system of checks and balances that applies to every other government agency.”
Rep Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) pointed out the apparent conflict of interest in the issuing of a $5 million contract by CFPB to a company co-founded by the agency’s Office of Research.
Duffy attempted to get Cordray to say exactly how many credit cards are being monitored by the CFPB but Cordray reportedly refused multiple times until he listed just five major institutions.
Cordray identified “Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Capital One, Discover and American Express,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“The agency has never given us a number of how many Americans have been surveilled,” Duffy said. “However, we’ve seen in their disclosures they are collecting 80 percent of credit cards in America, 1.16 billion credit cards, which means that they are collecting information on just under a billion credit cards in America. That’s a scary number.”
On top of monitoring credit card transactions, the agency also reportedly hopes to monitor 95 percent of all mortgage transactions by 2014.
An interesting aspect of the recent criticism of the CFPB is that it seems to largely come from Republicans or otherwise conservative individuals.
This isn’t at all surprising, given the wild partisanship of individuals in Washington. In the case of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, democrats largely opposed it under George W. Bush then completely flip-flopped to support it under Obama.
If a republican happened to be in office and a similar agency was employing similar tactics, it is almost certain that the same people now supporting the CFPB would oppose it and vice versa.
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