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April 18, 2018

CFPB and IRS Incompetence With Data

The CFPB has been hacked hundreds of times, compromising millions of Americans’ private financial data.

Facebook might collect data for profit and politics, but your answers to quiz questions may be the least of your worries. In yet another massive black mark against the rogue Democrat-created and ironically named agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Director Mick Mulvaney revealed that the agency had been hacked at least 240 times, and perhaps another 800 times, potentially exposing millions of Americans’ private financial data. Mulvaney said, “Data got out that should not have got out.” After its creation, the CFPB, Investor’s Business Daily explains, “started collecting and stockpiling data from more than 600 million credit card accounts, along with personal data from almost all mortgage loans taken out since 1998, as well as car payments and other financial data. All without anyone’s knowledge or consent.”

Beyond the obvious problem of government overreach, the CFPB failed to take aggressive measures to safeguard all the data it was collecting. In 2014, the Government Accountability Office reviewed the CFPB’s data security protections and warned that “additional efforts are needed in several areas to reduce the risk of improper collection, use, or release of consumer financial data.” The following year, the GAO found that the CFPB still had “not yet fully implemented a number of privacy control steps and information security practices.” And last fall, the inspector general again noted that more steps needed to be taken.

The irony here is that the CFPB was ostensibly created to safeguard consumers’ finances, but rather than safeguard it has proven itself to be a liability, exposing Americans to even greater threats of fraud and theft. Mulvaney is absolutely correct in his efforts to rein in the agency.

Unfortunately, the CFPB is far from the only government agency guilty of negligence in protecting Americans’ private data. Reason’s J.D. Tuccille writes that the Internal Revenue Service has an “impressive history … of storing [data] carelessly, leaking data through every possible conduit, and hiring employees who appear to only marginally prefer a career in tax collection over knocking over liquor stores.” For example, the IRS estimates that in 2013 “it paid out $5.8 billion worth of bogus refunds … as a result of identity theft.” Talk about a massive oops.

That’s not to mention the website going down on Income Redistribution Day.

And those in Washington wonder why so many Americans lack trust in our government.

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