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Senators Rip Credit-Reporting Model in Wake of Equifax Breach - ABI

Senators questioning Equifax Inc.’s former chief yesterday attacked the business model of the credit-reporting industry, asking why consumers shouldn’t have power over the data that these companies collect on them, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The hearing before the Senate Banking Committee was as much about the control consumers have over their personal data as it was about the Equifax hack, which has affected potentially 145.5 million Americans. Senators questioning former Equifax Chief Executive Richard Smith, who is appearing before a series of congressional panels this week, asked whether a large overhaul is needed for both private sector and government activities. “There is massive data collection being undertaken in this country,” said Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Michael Crapo (R., Idaho) during Wednesday’s hearing before his panel. Congress, he said, needs to address broader issues about “the collection and use and protection of personally identifiable information that is being collected by the government, by the private sector and others.” In terms of the big credit-reporting companies, which along with Equifax include Experian PLC and TransUnion, senators repeatedly raised a key point: Consumers don’t choose to share their data with these firms nor do they receive compensation for it, even though companies like Equifax profit by gathering it and selling it to lenders and other companies.

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