April 19, 2012

Dodd-Frank's Office of Financial Research Raises Privacy Concerns

Hester Peirce

Former Senior Research Fellow
Summary

As the House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing this morning on the Office of Financial Research’s budget, Mercatus Center scholar Hester Peirce says that Congress should take the OFR back to the drawing board, because it compromises our financial privacy without enhancing our financial stability.

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As the House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing this morning on the Office of Financial Research’s budget, Mercatus Center scholar Hester Peirce says that Congress should take the OFR back to the drawing board, because it compromises our financial privacy without enhancing our financial stability.

Peirce says that the OFR’s ability to monitor financial transactions is too broad, and raises serious concerns about privacy. “Consumers have the ability to walk away from online companies that want their information, but the Office of Financial Research offers no opt-outs,” she said.

Peirce says that the OFR won't necessarily keep the information it collects close to the vest, as Dodd-Frank specifically authorizes the agency to disseminate that information.  “Dodd-Frank does a better job of providing OFR employees with flexible work schedules and phased retirement than offering protection of the information the OFR collects.”