Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 

Postings

Advocates urge Congress to pass online kids’ safety reform
In a letter to Congress, coalition groups urged legislators to provide protections for kids and teens online. Advocates warn that the business model of the internet as we know it today isn’t healthy for children. Among their questionable practices, Big Tech companies prioritize continued engagement and data collection over taking offline breaks, encourage kids to share their sensitive data to get more “likes,” and expose young people to predators online.

The FCC and FTC can do more to protect consumers’ location data
Consumer Action joined privacy experts and consumer rights advocates in endorsing a letter from Rep. Katie Porter, Rep. Jamie Raskin, and 42 other House members who are calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish stronger rules governing the collection and sale of consumers’ location data. The letter also asks the FCC to reaffirm that location data collected by mobile phone carriers is subject to privacy safeguards, including when a user’s phone is idle.

Advocates ask the CFPB to bring back public consumer complaint narratives
Dozens of consumer, civil rights, community, housing and privacy groups urged the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Rohit Chopra, to stop burying the complaint details (called narratives) in the agency’s consumer complaint database. Under its Trump-appointed director, Kathy Kraninger, the CFPB made it more difficult for consumers to access the most useful portion of the complaints. Burying the complaint narratives was one of many big gifts Kraninger gave to financial firms that long fought public display of the consumer-provided descriptions that reveal the unfair practices companies would rather keep hidden.

Boosting the FTC’s oversight ability through the Build Back Better Act
Consumer Action and 34 civil rights, civil liberties and consumer protection organizations joined in urging Congress to pass key provisions of the Build Back Better Act that will strengthen the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) power to halt discriminatory and abusive data practices. The bill provides $1 billion in funding for the Commission’s privacy and antitrust work and establishes an FTC bureau to address privacy, civil rights and data security issues.

The FTC must act now against data abuses and discrimination
Abusive data practices are prevalent across the digital economy, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the authority to protect consumers right now. Through a rulemaking process, the FTC can establish guardrails against discriminatory and dangerous data practices that prevent companies from weaponizing our data and putting profits over public safety. Consumer Action joined 45 other organizations to urge the FTC to exercise its statutory rulemaking authority and protect consumer data, through the entire data life cycle—collection, use, management, retention and deletion.

The FCC should protect Americans from sneaky voicemails from telemarketers and debt collectors
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a request to allow the use of "ringless" voicemail technology by exempting it from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits most unwanted calls and texts. The new technology enables telemarketers and debt collectors to send potentially unwanted, prerecorded messages directly to the subscriber’s cell phone voicemail without ever giving the consumer the opportunity to answer—or to block—the incoming call. Consumer Action joined consumer groups in urging the FCC to deny the request to omit ringless voicemails from the TCPA. Ringless direct-to-voicemail messages are just as invasive, expensive and annoying as calls and texts to cell phones.

Protecting democracy from a lawless president
For decades, as the executive branch has increased its power, Congress has increasingly struggled to fulfil its constitutional duties to protect the rule of law by holding presidents accountable for overreaches and preventing abuses of presidential power. Advocates joined together to support the Protecting Our Democracy Act (HR 8363 and S 4880) in an effort to push for necessary institutional reforms to protect our democracy and restore Congress’s ability to check and balance the executive branch, without infringing on the president’s constitutional powers.

Requiring SSN collection by peer-to-peer payment services puts consumers at risk
Consumer rights groups sent a letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo of the Senate Finance Committee regarding a proposal under consideration in the budget reconciliation bill that would require peer-to-peer payment apps such as Square Cash and Venmo to collect Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) for virtually all payee accounts. Because, unlike businesses, most individuals do not hold a separate TIN from their Social Security number, these companies will be collecting the SSNs of millions of Americans, potentially putting their privacy and financial health at risk.

Comprehensive privacy protections needed at home before transatlantic deal is passed
Consumer Action joined over 20 organizations in urging the Biden administration to pause negotiations on a new transatlantic data transfer agreement until Congress passes comprehensive privacy legislation and reforms surveillance laws. Until the United States addresses privacy protections for personal data, concerns about data transfers to the United States will remain, and data flow agreements are likely to be invalidated.

Congress asked to restore FTC’s monetary relief powers
Groups ask Congress to expand the FTC’s powers to protect consumers, which have been jeopardized by a recent Supreme Court decision calling into question the FTC’s authority to demand monetary relief in its enforcement actions.

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