U.S. consumer finance watchdog opens inquiry into data brokers

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

By Hannah Lang

(Reuters) – The U.S. consumer finance watchdog launched an inquiry on Wednesday to examine companies that track and collect personal data, requesting public feedback about the business models and practices data brokers use.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s request for information marks the latest move from the regulator to explore how various firms use personal financial data, and could inform future rulemaking, the CFPB said in a release.

In one of his first moves as CFPB director in 2021, Rohit Chopra ordered Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Facebook Inc to hand over information about how they gather and use consumer payment data.

“Modern data surveillance practices have allowed companies to hover over our digital lives and monetize our most sensitive data,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra in a statement. “Our inquiry will inform whether rules under the Fair Credit Reporting Act reflect these market realities.”

The CFPB is asking the public to submit information about the types of data brokers collect and the sources they rely upon, as well as people’s direct experiences with data brokers, including when they attempt to remove or correct their data.

(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)

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