Senators, seeking feedback, to examine how Fair Credit Reporting Act works in digital economy

Feedback on the collection, use and protection of sensitive information by financial regulators and private companies is being sought by the leaders of the Senate Banking Committee, toward the ultimate goal of examining how well the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is working in the digital age, the leaders said Wednesday.

In a joint press release, Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said examining how FCRA should work in a digital economy – and whether certain data brokers and others serve a function similar to the original consumer reporting agencies – is of interest to the committee.

In a release, they indicated that collection and use of personally identifiable information will be a major focus of their committee in this Congress. They added that information collection by financial regulators and private financial companies (including third-parties that share information with financial regulators and private financial companies) deserves close scrutiny, as Americans are rightly concerned about how their data is collected and used, and how such data is secured and protected.

“I am particularly interested in what data is contained in modern consumer reports, how the information is gathered, who compiles it, how it is protected, how consumers can access it and correct it, and how privacy is respected,” Crapo stated. Brown voiced similar interest, adding that Congress should make it easy for consumers to find out who is collecting personal information about them “and give consumers power over how that data is used, stored and distributed.”

The senators said the committee wants feedback (which will be made public) by March 15 on five questions:

  1. What could be done through legislation, regulation, or by implementing best practices that would give consumers more control over and enhance the protection of consumer financial data, and ensure that consumers are notified of breaches in a timely and consistent manner?
  2. What could be done through legislation, regulation, or by implementing best practices to ensure that financial regulators and private financial companies (including third-parties that share information with financial regulators and private financial companies) provide adequate disclosure to citizens and consumers about the information that is being collected about them and for what purposes?
  3. What could be done through legislation, regulation, or by implementing best practices to give citizens and consumers control over how financial regulators and private financial companies (including third parties that share information with financial regulators and private financial companies) use consumer data?
  4. What could be done through legislation, regulation, or by implementing best practices by credit bureaus to protect consumer data and to make sure that information contained in a credit file is accurate?
  5. What could be done through legislation, regulation, or by implementing best practices so a consumer can easily identify and exercise control of data that is being (a) collected and shared by data brokers and other firms and (b) used as a factor in establishing a consumer’s eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, or other purposes?

Responders should submit electronic copies of their responses to committee staff at submissions@banking.senate.gov.

Crapo, Brown Invite Feedback on Data Privacy, Protection and Collection

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