Senators ask why consumers shouldn't have power over data Equifax collected on them
By AnnaMaria Andriotis, Michael Rapoport and Christina Rexrode
Bipartisan suggestion a large overhaul of data collection is needed
Senators questioning Equifax Inc.'s former chief on Wednesday attacked the business model of the credit-reporting industry, asking why consumers shouldn't have power over the data that the companies collect on them.
The hearing, one of a series this week, was as much about the control consumers have over their personal data as it was about the Equifax (EFX) hack. Senators questioning former Equifax Chief Executive Richard Smith asked whether a large overhaul is needed for both private sector and government activities.
"Massive data collection is being undertaken across this country," said Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Michael Crapo, Republican from Idaho, during Wednesday's hearing before his panel. He added that Congress needs to take action with personal identification being collected by government, the private sector and others.
Speaking about the big credit-reporting companies--which along with Equifax include Experian PLC and TransUnion--senators repeatedly raised the following point: Consumers don't choose to share their data with these firms, but much of their financial lives, including whether they can get approved for loans or rent an apartment, depends on the data the companies have and then sell to lenders and other companies.
An expanded version of this story is available at WSJ.com (https://www.wsj.com/articles/senators-rip-credit-reporting-model-in-wake-of-equifax-breach-1507136171)