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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.jpg

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.

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

RogueWarrior65

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2003
291
173
Redondo Beach, CA
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.
 

MacManiac76

macrumors 68000
Apr 21, 2007
1,657
438
White Mntns, Arizona
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.
 

Doctor Brian

macrumors newbie
Mar 20, 2016
18
21
Toronto
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.
 

RalfTheDog

macrumors 68000
Feb 23, 2010
1,632
590
Lagrange Point
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.
The $600 thing is getting spun all over the place. It's not bad. They are not looking at every transaction you make. At the end of the year, your bank reports the total amount deposited and the total amount spent. If you say, you only made $800 dollars that year, but 128 million passed through your accounts, that might trigger an audit. They don't know that you spent all your money on putter miniatures of Darth Vader, all painted in pink.
 

amartinez1660

macrumors 65816
Sep 22, 2014
1,137
1,028
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.
I concur with this.
Banks, Insurance companies, credit bureaus and other lending financial services… these groups right there know to the T or can predict close to the T customers spending habits, trigger money movements from A to B, entice them to sell/buy “financial products”, etc.
All that information that they harvest directly from the source for sure they share between each other and third parties building said “financial profiles”.
 

hcherry

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2012
55
118
I feel like the folks at CFPB are using either a dart board or a random tech blog from 4 years ago to pick what they choose to focus on.
 
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steevn

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2016
220
605
I feel like the folks at CFPB are using either a dart board or a random tech blog from 4 years ago to pick what they choose to focus on.
It’s funny you mentioned four years ago, as their power was all but completely stripped away and essentially shut down about four years ago, with people who hated the CFPB placed in charge of it.

It’s more like they are going back to make up for lost time until the next “conservative” leader completely cuts all services that actually benefit citizens.
 

Orange Bat

macrumors 6502
Mar 21, 2021
264
644
The $600 thing is getting spun all over the place. It's not bad. They are not looking at every transaction you make. At the end of the year, your bank reports the total amount deposited and the total amount spent. If you say, you only made $800 dollars that year, but 128 million passed through your accounts, that might trigger an audit. They don't know that you spent all your money on putter miniatures of Darth Vader, all painted in pink.
It’s a way for the government to get the foot in the door. For now, it won’t affect most people. But down the road, the government can use this data to audit you if there‘s even a hint that your finances don’t meet the government‘s expectations. It’s like my dad used to say: if you let the camel stick its nose under the tent, pretty soon the whole camel will be in the tent. The government is a very big camel.
 
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