New Federal Database to Track Americans

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Air Date: June 3 2014

Host: Jim Schneider

Guest: Richard Pollock

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Richard Pollock is Senior Investigative Reporter with the Washington Examiner.

According to Richard, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its sister agency the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) are 2 relatively new agencies that have both decided to assemble very large databases. The CFPB is trying to assemble a very large credit card database. In fact, recently they announced both to the public and to Congress that they are also going to assemble one for mortgages called the National Mortgage Database. They said they will be monitoring 95% of all residential mortgages.

Initially after Congress raised questions about this, the CFPB and other government officials said they wouldn’t have personal, identifiable information but instead would have aggregate information in order to look at trends. Then on April 16th, the CFPB and the FHFA filed a federal register notice. The Privacy Act requires that if you’re going to set up a database you must notify the public. In this case, what these organizations said totally contradicted what they had promised the government and Congress in its previous hearings.

The federal register notice indicated that these organizations would have your name, address, social security number, your entire financial profile along with household demographic data.

In response, Jeb Hensarling, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and Senator Mike Crapo, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, jointly sent a letter stating that they felt this move was a complete invasion of the privacy of Americans and did not see how it could be justified. They also asked what real statutory authority existed to create such a database.

The idea is to enable these two agencies to produce reports for Congress about trends in mortgage data. The question is: Why does such detailed personal information need to be gathered just to monitor and create reports about trends?

Find out more details, where you think this is headed, how identity theft plays into this and how you should respond when you review this edition of Crosstalk.

More Information

Contact your senators and congressmen at 202-224-3121 and 202-225-3121.

Senate Banking Committee—202-224-7391
House Financial Services Committee—202-225-7502

Washington Examiner website:

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