Hot Air –
Get ready for another front on the debate over privacy, consumption, and the trade-off between them. Yesterday, Judicial Watch announced that they had received data through a FOIA demand that showed warrantless surveillance on 5 million American consumers — not for national-security reasons, but for the new Consumer Financial Protection Board. The documents show that the controversial panel has contracted out the service of trawling through millions of transactions, emphases in original:
Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) revealing that the agency has spent millions of dollars for the warrantless collection and analysis of Americans’ financial transactions. The documents also reveal that CFPB contractors may be required to share the information with “additional government entities.”
The records were obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on April 24, 2013, following the April 23 Senate Banking Committee testimony of CFPB Director Richard Cordray. …
The full extent of the CFPB personal financial data collection program is revealed in a document obtained by Judicial Watch entitled “INDEFINITE-DELIVERY INDEFINITY-QUANTITY (IDIQ) STATEMENT OF WORK.” Issued by CFPB Contracting Officer Xiaoling Ang on July 3, 2012 the IDIQ document’s stated objective: “The CFPB seeks to acquire and maintain a nationally representative panel of credit information on consumers for use in a wide range of policy research projects… The panel shall be a random sample of consumer credit files obtains from a national database of credit files.”
To accomplish this objective, the CFPB describes the scope of the program accordingly:
The panel shall include 5 million consumers, and joint borrowers, co-signers, and authorized users [emphasis added]. The initial panel shall contain 10 years of historical data on a quarterly basis [emphasis added]. The initial sample shall be drawn from current records and historical data appended for that sample as well as additional samples during the intervening years [emphasis added] to make the combines sample representative at each point in time.