Surveillance

Federal Consumer Bureau Accused of Trying To Drag Bankruptcy Group Into Data-Mining

Trustee program is intended to be independent and impartial

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Serious allegations are being raised in the legal community that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recruited the U.S. Trustee Program to collect bankruptcy data on its behalf to aid a controversial data-mining program.

Documents obtained by the Washington Examiner describe efforts by the CFPB to collect a decade's worth of private financial data on the consumer behavior of five million American citizens without their knowledge or consent. The CFPB data-mining campaign has alarmed privacy watchdogs.

The USTP was created by Congress in 1978 to be a rigorously neutral agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. Its attorneys are supposed to be "impartial" and to serve as a "watchdog over the bankruptcy process," according to the agency's website.

If USTP is aiding CFPB's data-mining program in any manner, bankruptcy authorities argue it would constitute an "unprecedented" violation of the organization's reason for being and destroy its independence.

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