U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate the “big data” collection effort being undertaken by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on consumer spending habits. After discovering the CFPB was spending millions of dollars to collect information on millions of Americans’ personal credit card, banking, mortgage and student loan information, Crapo asked during a hearing and subsequently a letter to CFPB for information regarding the legality and scope of this data collection. The size and scope of CFPB’s data collection warrant proper government oversight to both guard consumers’ privacy and ensure that the CFPB is acting within its existing authority.
In the request to GAO, Crapo notes that it is still unknown exactly what information is being collected by the CFPB, on how many accounts and how it is being used. Crapo also points to security issues, citing concerns by the CFPB’s own Inspector General regarding what safeguards are in place to protect consumer data.