U.S. consumer watchdog orders tech giants to turn over information on payment data – Reuters

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. consumer watchdog said on Thursday it has demanded information from tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square on how they gather and use consumer payment data, in a broad effort to protect consumers from privacy breaches, fraud and anticompetitive behavior.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will also study the payment system practices of Chinese tech giants, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.
The order is the first big move by Rohit Chopra, who was sworn in as director of the CFPB this 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.
Chopra is under pressure from Democratic progressives to reinvigorate the CFPB after it pulled back from enforcement and tough policymaking during the Trump administration.
While the CFPB does not directly oversee the tech companies concerned, it has the statutory authority to order participants in the payments market to turn over information to help it monitor for risks to consumers, the CFPB said on Thursday.
“Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” Chopra said in a statement. However, "little is known publicly about how Big Tech companies will exploit their payments platforms," he added.
The CFPB order seeks information on how tech companies harvest and monetize payment data, including whether they use the data to target specific consumer behaviors; whether the companies operate any policies that restrict the merchants or other third parties that consumers can use; and how consumers are protected from privacy breaches, fraud and other errors.
Representatives for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, Square and Alipay did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for WeChat could not be reached for comment.
Jodie Kelley, chief executive of the Electronic Transactions Association, which represents big tech and other companies, said in a statement that the industry goes to great lengths to protect consumer data.
“The digital transactions industry has a good story to tell about its efforts to protect consumer data. We look forward to working with Director Chopra and the CFPB on this important effort,” she added.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Rome is drawing up an offer to try to convince Intel to invest billions of euros in an advanced chipmaking plant in Italy, as Germany emerges as frontrunner to land an even bigger megafactory planned by the U.S. company, three sources said.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets – delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved