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U.S. consumer watchdog to query tech giants over financial data -sources

Exclusive-U.S. warns against IP, trade secret risks in draft EU tech rules - paper
Exclusive-U.S. warns against IP, trade secret risks in draft EU tech rules - paper   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p>By Katanga Johnson and Michelle Price</p> <p><span class="caps">WASHINGTON</span> -The U.S. consumer watchdog is expected this week to query tech giants including Facebook, Amazon and Google on how they handle consumer financial data as part of a broader effort to boost consumer protections and financial sector competition, according to two people briefed on the matter.</p> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (<span class="caps">CFPB</span>) plans to send the companies a 55-page request for information about how they collect, use and market consumer financial data, the people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.</p> <p>“The regulator’s questions will pay special attention to what it is firms are collecting, how they’re collecting it and what they’re using it for,” said one of the sources.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">CFPB</span> declined to comment. Facebook Inc., Amazon Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which are not directly regulated by the <span class="caps">CFPB</span>, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>The expected request for information follows the arrival of Rohit Chopra as director of the <span class="caps">CFPB</span> following his Senate confirmation last month. A former Democratic commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission, he built a reputation as a consumer advocate who was frequently tough on big tech. </p> <p>Democrats’ top policy priorities include boosting competition in the consumer finance sector by requiring financial companies to give consumers more control over their financial data — a concept known as “open banking.”</p> <p>Requiring banks and other financial firms to allow consumers to download data about account balances, payments, transactions and investments and share it with a third party, for example, could make it easier for consumers to switch providers. </p> <p>Chopra is expected to move ahead with an open-banking rule first proposed by the agency under the former Trump administration in coming months.</p> <p>The companies’ confidential responses many help inform the open banking and other future rule makings, the source said. </p> <p>“This move by the agency is a clear signal that this broader array of companies, which are not covered by the <span class="caps">CFPB</span>, are seen to undertake activities and collect consumer financial data that may be subject to future, open banking regulation,” the source added. </p> </div>