U.S. senator asks FSOC to study risks of using consumer data

In a letter sent by Senator Janet Yellen to the Treasury Secretary, Brown asked the Council to assess “whether and to what extent the collection and sale of consumer data by financial institutions poses a systemic threat to U.S. financial stability and security.”

He continued that he has long expressed serious concerns about the potential risks associated with the sale of consumer financial data, and that “the vast amount of personal consumer data to which financial institutions have access and can legally sell or otherwise disclose to commercial entities and data brokers creates an opportunity for malicious actors to obtain and use that information for their own purposes.”

“The collection and sale of consumer financial data also opens the door to other abusive purposes, including using the data to determine consumer tolerance for price increases or using certain individuals’ cost structures for blackmail or ransomware.”

Earlier this year, Brown made headlines by criticizing “fintech companies that want to act like banks.”

He told Insider that these companies, often unbanked, don’t offer “the consumer protections and safeguards that real banks should adhere to,” putting people’s money at risk. “Consumers should not have their accounts blocked without access to their money to buy groceries, pay bills or pay rent.”

Unlike the approach taken in Europe, the U.K., Australia, Singapore and elsewhere, there is no mandatory sharing of consumer data between banks, also known as open banking. Financial technology marketers such as Plaid are encouraging the development and implementation of a regulatory framework under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act.