Zack Whittaker reports that some lawmakers have wised up and are now asking credit reporting agencies for more disclosure of how much consumer data they provide to government in response to national security letters.
Three lawmakers — Democratic senators Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren, and Republican senator Rand Paul — have sent letters to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, expressing their “alarm” as to why the credit giants have failed to disclose the number of government demands for consumer data they receive.
“Because your company holds so much potentially sensitive data on so many Americans and collects this information without obtaining consent from these individuals, you have a responsibility to be transparent about how you handle that data,” the letters said. “Unfortunately, your company has not provided information to policymakers or the public about the type or the number of disclosures that you have made to the FBI.”
Read more on TechCrunch.
As Senator Wyden explains:
Under the USA FREEDOM Act, companies that receive NSLs from the FBI may publish information about the volume of NSLs they receive and release redacted versions of the letters if and when the nondisclosure orders are lifted by the FBI. However, while dozens of technology and telecommunication companies have been transparent about their receipt and handling of NSLs, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have not.
“May publish” and “shall publish” are very different things. When did government ever tell credit reporting agencies that they have to be more transparent about this issue? Never? Next week?