Apple and others to face US data probe over customer info

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What you need to know

  • Apple and other tech firms are to face questions about how they use consumer data.
  • A new report says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to examine Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.
  • It will cover topics like financial lending decisions and data for ads.

A new report says that Apple and other large tech firms are to face questions from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over how they use consumer data.

WSJ reports:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is poised to examine consumer data practices at Inc., Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc. and other firms, according to people familiar with the matter. The move would open a new front in Washington's scrutiny of the firms. The bureau is expected Thursday to issue orders seeking information from the companies, the people said. All of the companies are engaged in consumer-facing financial services or have ambitions to expand in that sector.

According to the report, questions will cover how consumer data these companies held is used in "lending decisions to how data determines what ads consumers are shown." Firms are said to facing "dozens" of questions and the CFPB also wants public comments on the request, according to the report.

As the report notes, the CFPB doesn't seem to have bipartisan backing:

Democrats have wanted a muscular CFPB to take on what they characterize as financial-industry excesses. Republicans and Wall Street firms have criticized the bureau as an instrument of excessive government regulation, with too much power over a significant slice of the economy.

Both of the subjects, lending decisions, and data for consumer ads, are highly pertinent to Apple, which has moved in recent years to give consumers more choice about what information they share with companies and how it is used. Apple also now offers Apple Card, however, that credit card is issued by Goldman Sachs.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9