US consumer watchdog warns payment systems risk Chinese-style surveillance

(Reuters) -The top U.S. agency for consumer financial protection is considering regulatory moves to help protect the public from the kind of excessive surveillance of their financial data enabled by payment structures in China, its director said on Friday.

This will involve ordering some large U.S. tech firms to provide information on their use of personal data and private currencies, Rohit Chopra, director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), said in a speech.

The agency will also release a much anticipated regulatory proposal later this month on consumers’ control of their banking data, keeping to a previously announced schedule, Chopra said.

“I fear the that the U.S. is lurching toward a consolidated market structure like the one that has emerged in China that blurs the lines between payments and commerce and creates the incentives for excessive surveillance and even financial censorship,” Chopra said.

The CFPB will also consider the use of legal authorities allowing it to directly supervise non-bank financial institutions that offer consumer payment platforms, particularly when these are services provided to large financial institutions, he added.

“It’s critically important for American consumers to have stronger protections against excessive surveillance and misuse of our data,” Chopra said in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Chopra’s remarks on Friday suggested his agency’s regulatory agenda would continue uninterrupted despite upheaval in Washington, with the recent threat of a partial government shutdown and Supreme Court deliberations widely seen as posing a threat to the CFPB’s existence.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “open banking” proposal is expected to give consumers the ability to switch service providers more easily and control how financial tech service providers collect consumer data.

(Reporting by Douglas Gillison; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)


More Sponsored Headlines