US consumer watchdog probes Big Tech’s use of payment data


The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered six tech giants to hand over information on their payment system plans so that it can see how they gather and use customer data.

The consumer watchdog says it has the statutory authority to order participants in the payments market to turn over information to help it monitor for risks to consumers and to publish aggregated findings that are in the public interest.

It has therefore sent out orders to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square – and says it may also target Chinese players such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

This comes at the time when Facebook, the number one culprit of consumer data abuse, has been caught in yet another act secretly harvesting sensitive data of users for its selfish end.
Facebook actually admitted to committing the act, but insisted it did not see anything wrong with it. Meanwhile, not long ago, some male Facebook staff were fired for using some female users’ private data to trace their location and ask for dates.

While big tech’s move into payments can benefit people and businesses, the CFPB says it also presents risks to consumers and to a fair, transparent, and competitive marketplace.

The orders therefore demands information on data harvesting and monetization; whether firms employ restrictive access policies; and what the companies are doing to ensure consumers are protected.

“Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” says CFPB director Rohit Chopra. “We have ordered them to produce information about their business plans and practices.”

This is something Ghanaian regulators – Bank of Ghana and Data Protection Agency can learn from to ensure the the various players in the Financial technology and mobile technology ecosystem are playing fair with the consumers’ data in their possession.


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