Government now collecting, storing credit reports and more

From the Washington Examiner:

The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of previously stated policy…

…under the April register notice, the database expansion means it will include a host of data points, including a mortgage owner’s name, address, Social Security number, all credit card and other loan information and account balances…

The database will also encompass a mortgage holder’s entire credit history, including delinquent payments, late payments, minimum payments, high account balances and credit scores, according to the notice.

The two agencies will also assemble “household demographic data,” including racial and ethnic data, gender, marital status, religion, education, employment history, military status, household composition, the number of wage earners and a family’s total wealth and assets…

The mortgage database is unprecedented and would collect personal mortgage information on every single-family residential first lien loan issued since 1998. Federal officials will continue updating the database into the indefinite future…

A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions…

FHFA has two contracts with CoreLogic, which boasts that it has “access to industry’s largest most comprehensive active and historical mortgage databases of over 227 million loans.”

Critics…warn the new database will be vulnerable to cyber attacks that could put private information about millions of consumers at risk. They also question the agency’s authority to collect such information…

Neugebauer said the hacker threat is real. “If someone were to breach that system, they could very easily steal somebody’s identity.”

Meyster said she doubts the government can protect the data. “We’re essentially concerned that these government systems don’t have the necessary precautions to make sure that individual consumers are identified through the database,” she said…

A May 1 White House report on cybersecurity of federal databases also recently warned, “if unchecked, big data could be a tool that substantially expands government power over citizens.”

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