U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Investigating Apple and Other Tech Companies

Apple is facing yet another investigation by U.S. regulators, this time from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB, which is investigating the business practices of companies operating payment systems, today announced that it has asked Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, and Square to provide details on their consumer data practices.

Apple Pay Feature
The CFPB is seeking information that will help it better understand how the tech companies "use personal payments data and manage data access to users" to make sure consumers are protected.

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

According to the CFPB, tech companies have developed "new products and business models" during the ongoing global health crisis, which "present new risks to consumers and to a fair, transparent, and competitive marketplace."

As an example, the CFPB says that "Apple and Google have sought to integrate payments services into their operating systems," though there have been no changes on that front to iOS and the iOS App Store during the pandemic.

The CFPB is specifically concerned with data harvesting and monetization and "access restrictions and user choice," which seems to be aimed at Apple and Google.

When payment systems gain scale and network effects, merchants and other partners feel obligated to participate, and the risk increases that payment systems operators will limit consumer choice and stifle innovation by anticompetitively excluding certain businesses. The orders seek to understand any such restrictive access policies and how they affect the choices available to families and businesses.

According to a sample letter [PDF], Apple will need to offer up quite a bit of information, including details on all products, all product features, all product operating manuals, fees to use products, discounts and promotions for each product, and more.

Responses to the CFPB's request must be submitted bu December 15, 2021, so Apple will need to provide the relevant data by that date.

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Top Rated Comments

RogueWarrior65 Avatar
35 months ago
Translation: the CFPB wants greater control and insight into your spending habits. Note that in the latest power-grab attempt by the government in demanding to know everything about your spending habits if you have more than $600 to your name, NOBODY at the CFPB is raising a red flag that THAT information will be kept confidential and what they plan to do with the data.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scuac Avatar
35 months ago
When the CFPB director already refers to Apple et al as "empires" you know that this will be an unbiased investigation :rolleyes:
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacManiac76 Avatar
35 months ago
Seems more like Big Brother and CFBP want to spy more on our spending habits than anything else. It is my choice to use Apple Pay or whatever other payment source that I wish to as I know and accept whatever information they need and/or track about my purchases when I use their payment source. If I really cared I would pay cash for everything that I could. Hopefully it gets held up in the courts or better yet flat out denied and thrown out.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Brian Avatar
35 months ago
Often when I see various regulatory agencies such as the EU coming after Apple, Gooogle, etc., I wonder how much of that is motivated as a cash grab which is ultimately paid for by consumers....and this is no different. There is a fine line between working with the goal of legitimate support for what's right versus government bullying and I have zero trust, as others have expressed in the integrity of the federal government at this point.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The_Gream Avatar
35 months ago
Probably should also invite all the banks too. The big ones tend to have no issue with data breaches or doing shady stuff with customer data.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
35 months ago
Consumer financial protection bureau - that almost is an oxymoron in the US or they would have shutdown a place like Wells Farfo already, and now they’re joining the club “going after” high tech… yet the gauging cable providers for example get away with everything…
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)