The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services considered testimony on bills addressing the "vast amounts" of information and data being collected on consumers (i.e., "big data").

The bills under consideration included the following:

  • H.R. 4008, the "No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act of 2019," which would prohibit (i) biometric recognition technology and (ii) biometric data analysis from being used in certain public housing units and buildings;

  • H.R. ____, the "Safeguarding Non-bank Consumer Information Act," which would (i) make clear the consumer financial privacy and data security provisions under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the "GLBA") and (ii) provide rulemaking and enforcement authority to the CFPB over data aggregator safeguards rules and over other financial institutions; and

  • H.R. ____, the "Financial Information Data Modernization Act" ("FIDMA"), which would establish minimum data security standards by clarifying "financial data" and "non-financial institutions" under the GLBA in order to (i) enhance protection for consumers and (ii) provide guidance for entities making technological advances concerning financial data.

Testimony on the "Safeguarding Non-bank Consumer Information Act"

National Consumer Law Center Associate Director Lauren Sanders supported giving the CFPB rulemaking and enforcement authority regarding data aggregator's compliance, arguing that (i) the FTC does not have a "supervision regime" and (ii) data aggregators and banks should not be subject to the same supervisory standards under the GLBA.

Brown University Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science Seny Kamara criticized existing data security laws for the difficulty involved in determining which newly formed financial services and companies qualify as "financial institutions." He urged Congress to prioritize (i) addressing uncertainties under the GLBA, (ii) protecting consumers and (iii) fostering advances in financial and privacy technologies.


Are there uses of biometric data that are broadly objectionable, even if they produce a public good? H.R. 4008, a bill to prohibit the use of biometric recognition technology and biometric data analysis in certain federally assisted dwelling units, poses difficult questions. Are the persons who live in government housing being protected by such measures or are they being denied access to a tool that is available to others? As we begin to wrestle with issues as to permissible uses of data, a lot of questions will arise as to which there is no obvious answer.