We Warn Congress: After Equifax, Firms Will Step Up Trojan Horse Efforts to Eliminate State Privacy Laws

Like clockwork, after any big data breach is disclosed, powerful special interests seek to turn the problem into a bigger problem for consumers by using it as an opportunity to enact some sort of narrow federal legislation that broadly eliminates state data breach notification, state data security and other privacy protections.  I testified yesterday in the House Financial Services Committee (link to full hearing archive and video transcript) warning of their efforts. I warned in particular of their Trojan Horse efforts to hide their broader plans. They don’t simply want to create a “uniform national breach law.” Inside that Trojan […] Read more

Congress votes to disallow consumers from suing Equifax and other companies with arbitration agreements

The Senate voted late Wednesday night to strike a federal rule that would have allowed consumers affected by the Equifax hack to sue the company. Without it, the millions affected by the historic security breach may be disallowed from related joining class action lawsuits. This specific rule, and only this rule, would be nullified if the joint resolution is signed by the President.

The vote was 50/50, with the tie-breaking aye cast by Vice President Pence.

The rule in question was entered into the Federal Register by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in July; it prevents financial companies that bind […] Read more

DAVID W. MYERS: Congress mulls tax ideas that could hurt homeowners and new buyers – News – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

There’s no formal legislation on Capitol Hill yet to overhaul our nation’s tax code, but some ideas that are floating about could hurt millions of property owners if the new measures are approved.

DEAR MR. MYERS: Is it true that Congress is planning to place a limit on the amount of tax deductions that homeowners can take for their mortgage interest payments? This would really hurt our family, because those write-offs are really the only thing that makes our home affordable!

ANSWER: There isn’t any formal tax-reform proposal in Congress — at least, not yet. But some ideas are floating about in […] Read more

IRS suspends $7.25 million Equifax contract after pressure from Congress

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Tami Chappell/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The IRS suspended a $7.25 million contract with the credit reporting company Equifax Friday after members of Congress complained the tax agency had awarded a no-bid contract to a company that recently had a massive data beach.

The IRS had contracted with Equifax to validate the identity of taxpayers communicating with the agency on the telephone or through its website.

In a statement Friday, the IRS said it suspended the contract as “a precautionary step” while the agency reviews the company’s security systems.

“During this […] Read more

Congress mulls tax ideas that could hurt homeowners and new buyers

Question: Is it true that Congress is planning to place a limit on the amount of tax deductions that homeowners can take for their mortgage interest payments? This would really hurt our family, because those write-offs are really the only thing that makes our home affordable!

Answer: There isn’t any formal tax-reform proposal in Congress – at least, not yet. But some ideas are floating about in Washington that could have a vast impact on home sales and prices if they’re approved — so much so that the powerful National Association of Realtors recently made a special trip to Capitol Hill […] Read more

Equifax Is Worth $500 Million More After Ex-CEO Faces Congress

Investors were expecting much worse as U.S. lawmakers hurled tough questions at Equifax Inc.’s former chief executive officer over three hours on Tuesday.

The credit-reporting company’s stock jumped as much as 4.3 percent — heading for its third-biggest gain of 2017 — after members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee finished a hearing on how the firm let hackers tap sensitive data on more than 145 million Americans. The shares were up 3.9 percent to $111.96 as of 1:50 p.m. in New York — boosting the company’s market value by more than $500 million.318695302

[…] Read more

Former Equifax chief to face questions from US Congress over hack

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Trading information and the company logo are displayed on a screen where the stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 8, 2017.

U.S. lawmakers are due to question the former head of Equifax at a Tuesday hearing that could shed light on how hackers accessed the personal data of more than 140 million consumers.

Richard Smith retired last week but the 57-year-old executive will answer for the breach that the credit bureau acknowledged in early September.

Late Monday, Equifax said an independent review had boosted […] Read more

Equifax manages 1,200 times more data than the Library of Congress. That’s why people are so worried.

After working largely out of the spotlight for decades, America’s thousands of credit reporting companies found themselves in trouble in the late 1960s as lawmakers grew concerned about the massive troves of sensitive information the firms had collected on private citizens.

The target of many of these complaints was one company, Atlanta-based Retail Credit Co. — now known as Equifax.

Among the company’s critics was an insurance executive named James T. Baker, who told a Senate committee in 1968 that he was having trouble finding a job after the company put a derogatory note in his file, alleging he had […] Read more

After Equifax breach, Congress unlikely to pass new rules to protect consumer data

Image by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Prospects are good for a public shaming in the Equifax data breach, but it’s unlikely Congress will institute sweeping new regulations after hackers accessed the personal information of an estimated 143 million Americans.

Since early this year, President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress have strived to curb government’s influence on businesses, arguing that regulations stifle economic growth. Lawmakers have repealed more than a dozen Obama-era rules and the House voted in June to roll back much of Dodd-Frank, the landmark banking law created after the 2008 economic crisis that was designed to prevent future […] Read more