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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Program would require divulging social security numbers and credit card info

In another example of how the federal government continues to grow and encroach into the private lives of American citizens, a new program may compel more than 200 million Americans to disclose private family and financial information.

Mel Watt is the director of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency.

Mel Watt is the director of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: US, News


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Spearheaded by two government agencies, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Mortgage Database Program will now include personally and identifiable information that reveals actual users, a reversal of the former policy.

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This expansion will force 227 million Americans to disclose details of their family and financial lives, as well as their Social Security numbers, credit card information and loan details.

The FHFA will manage the database, and claim it is essential to conducting monthly mortgage surveys, as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, as well as to help prepare an annual report for Congress.

The program has immediately been criticized by those who question the needs of such a massive database of personal information, especially if required for simple reporting purposes.

In a letter from May 15, addressed to FHFA Director Mel Watt and CFPB Director Richard Cordray, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) alleged that "this expansion represents an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of ordinary Americans."

Another criticism of the database is its' vulnerability to cyber attacks, which would leave millions of consumers at risk.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) said that he had deep concerns about the program's expansion.

"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 said in an interview with The Examiner.

Another critic, a regulatory affairs counsel for the NAFCU, Angela Meyster, said that there needed to be more transparency, especially for a program that "harbors significant privacy concerns."

"NAFCU believes greater transparency should be provided by the FHFA and CFPB on what this information is being used for," said Meyster. "It goes back to the breadth of information they're asking for without really speaking to what they will be used for."

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