Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief: Yes, We Have Data. No, We're Not the NSA

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and National Security Agency both collect data. They are both federal agencies. So does that make them the same thing?

At least one House member seems to think so.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray appeared before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday to deliver a semiannual report on the work of his agency. His opening testimony covered implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and efforts to improve consumers' financial literacy.

But Rep. Randy Neugebauer wasn't interested in any of that. The Texas Republican wanted to know whether the data the bureau was collecting about consumers was safe and not jeopardizing the privacy of everyday Americans. "You are collecting a lot of data and you are doing the best you can," he offered.

Neugebauer then began quoting at length from President Obama's Jan. 17 policy speech that outlined some reforms to the NSA before he launched into a quixotic series of questions.

"You are saying that you are not [abusing the data you collect], but the president says we cannot always take that at face value," Neugebauer said. "Can this data be reverse engineered?"

Cordray, the agency's first director, responded: "You are giving me quotes about the NSA, which is not us and not what we are doing."

But Neugebauer was undeterred. "You are in a contest [with the NSA] of who can collect the most information."

Cordray, a bit agitated, shot back: "I fundamentally reject the categorization. In terms of what we are doing, we are making every effort to be very careful in satisfying the federal law in terms of security and privacy and in terms of treating consumers properly."

Neugebauer proceeded to ask some variation of "can your data be reverse engineered?" another three times until his time expired.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.