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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED TO CONFIRM CFPB Speaker. We are hosting an event Monday, 5/11, from 9am-noon ET to discuss a new book, The Black Box Society, with author Frank Pasquale. Click Keep Reading to RSVP to attend in person or to watch the livestream. While credit bureaus have long functioned as black box gatekeepers to opportunity, panelists will discuss the growing use of more and more, even less transparent black boxes to categorize consumers in the digital economy.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Supporters of Duckworth Amendment to Protect Our Troops From High-Cost Loans

Last night, on a 32-30 bipartisan vote, the House Armed Services Committee supported the Tammy Duckworth (IL) amendment to strike language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have delayed Pentagon-proposed improvements to the Military Lending Act of 2007. It's a critical victory for servicemembers, veterans and their families, although the fight to protect our troops from high-cost loans will continue.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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News Release | Health Care

Survey: Small Businesses Crushed by Rising Health Costs

Philadelphia, PA, July 21, 2009— Pennsylvania small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released by Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group on South Street in Philadelphia today.

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News Release | Financial Reform

House Passes Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2009 – Statement from PennPIRG's federal Consumer Advocate Ed Mierzwinski on the passage of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

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News Release | PennPIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG’s Trouble In Toyland

Washington, DC-- Hazardous toys are still sold in stores across the country, despite a new law overhauling the nation’s product safety watchdog agency, according to the 23rd annual toy safety survey released today. The group also warned that the Consumer Product Safety Commission may delay one of the new law’s toxic toy protections indefinitely.

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News Release | Financial Reform

We're Deeply Disappointed with Wall Street Bailout

U.S. PIRG is deeply disappointed that Congress punted on enacting critical protections for taxpayers and homeowners in the Wall Street bailout legislation passed today.

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News Release | Budget, Transportation

Leasing the turnpike would be like signing up for an HMO -- for 75 years!

The proposed contract to privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike is available on the Internet, but most people won't read one word of the 686-page document. Not only is its length intimidating, but it begins with 21 pages of specialized definitions, such as "compensation event," cross-referenced to other parts of the contract. Might as well post a Keep Out sign.

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Tell your senators to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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