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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

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