The war on privacy continues unabated, as the U.S. government continues to prove time and time again that it views the citizenry as a bunch of cattle to be branded, herded and dealt with at will. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone in the establishment that the public has lost all faith in institutions and so-called “authority” (a concept which I do not believe in to begin with). The evidence of a growing number of Orwellian databases being created has been available for quite some time. Most recently, I covered this topic in the following articles:
Moving along, the public faces another sinister and unacceptable invasion to our privacy. A national financial database is being planned, which would contain the most intimate details of our entire financial lives. It may apply to as many as 227 million Americans. We learn from the Washington Examiner that:
As many as 227 million Americans may be compelled to disclose intimate details of their families and financial lives — including their Social Security numbers — in a new national database being assembled by two federal agencies.
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.
FHFA will manage the database and share it with CFPB. A CFPB internal planning document for 2013-17 describes the bureau as monitoring 95 percent of all mortgage transactions.
FHFA officials claim the database is essential to conducting a monthly mortgage survey required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and to help it prepare an annual report for Congress.
Critics, however, question the need for such a “vast database” for simple reporting purposes.
In a May 15 letter to FHFA Director Mel Watt and CFPB Director Richard Cordray, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, charged, “this expansion represents an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of ordinary Americans.”
Mel Watt is one of the slimiest members of Congress, and that’s saying a lot.
Critics also 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.
Excellent. Once a cyber attack does compromise this idiotic database then we will be told we must give the NSA even more power to protect us from their own screwup. As usual.
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.
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.”
Cordray confirmed in his January testimony that CoreLogic had been retained for the national mortgage database.
“When you look at the kinds of data that are going to be collected on individuals, just about anything about you is going to be in this database,” he told the Examiner in an interview.
Meyster said she was unconvinced. “It seems they’re just adding information and they’re not really stating where it’s going or what it’s going to be used for. There’s no straightaway answer. They say they are trying to assemble as much information that they can.”
The Chamber of Commerce said that while Congress did ask for regular reports, it never granted FHFA the authority to create the National Mortgage Database.
“Congress did not explicitly require (or even explicitly authorize) the FHFA to build anything resembling the NMD,” the Chamber told Watt in its May 16 letter.
Oh so the agencies are just acting like tyrants without Congressional approval? Shocker.
A December report from the Government Accountability Office on breaches containing personally identifiable information from federal databases shows unlawful data breaches have doubled, from 15,140 reported incidents in 2009 to 22,156 in 2012.
Full article here.