Housing Bill Amendment Requires Reporting of Consumer Purchases to the Federal Government

Housing Bill Amendment Requires Reporting of Consumer Purchases to the Federal Government

San Francisco, June 27, 2008 – In an open letter to Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Pacific Research Institute technology policy fellow Daniel R. Ballon, Ph.D., called to their attention an amendment to the housing bill that requires the reporting of consumer purchases to the federal government. Dr. Ballon writes: “HR 3221 compels [online companies] to construct vast databases of personal data for the government to tap at any time….The Senate could act now to protect fundamental freedoms and prevent unlimited and unchecked data-mining of the Internet.”

Without debate or discussion, the Senate included an amendment to the housing reform bill H.R. 3221 to require major credit card companies and Internet payment services, such as PayPal and Google Checkout, to collect, aggregate, and transmit detailed information about every online sale to the federal government. According to Dr. Ballon, the amendment:

  • Disregards the privacy of consumers
  • Subjects customers to greater risk of identity theft
  • Adds significant compliance costs to providers that would eventually be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices
  • Cripples advertising platforms that enable companies to offer free and unfettered access to services
    Burdens a promising new crop of California-based startups working to revolutionize paperless commerce.

To read the entire letter, please visit www.pacificresearch.org. To schedule an interview with Daniel Ballon, please contact PRI’s Press Office at 415.955.6139 or Brenda Buhler at [email protected].

About PRI
For 29 years, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has championed freedom, opportunity, and individual responsibility through free-market policy solutions. PRI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. For more information please visit our web site at https://www.pacificreseach.org

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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