Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Equifax breach might have been worse than...

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: Equifax breach might have been worse than anyone thought

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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at the news coming across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.

Probably the most watched news over the weekend was the kick off to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, which began with the opening ceremony Friday night.

So far, the U.S. has won one gold medal and one silver medal. Go Team USA!

In other major news that came to light this weekend, a new revelation shows Equifax’s massive data breach, which occurred last year and affected about 145.5 million consumers, may have been worse than anyone thought.

But this isn’t the first time the credit agency revealed the breach was more damaging than initially announced. Back in October, Equifax revealed the data breach was bigger than they first thought, moving the number of victims up from 143 million to 145.5 million.

But now, confidential documents Equifax provided to the Senate Banking Committee showed additional information such as tax IDs and driver’s license details were also accessed during the hack.

And now, some interest groups are urging Congress to hold Equifax accountable and pass consumer protection bills.

U.S. PIRG, a federation of state public interest research groups, is urging Congress to pass pro-consumer privacy and data security bills introduced in the five months since the breach was first reported.

“Why did it take Equifax so long to disclose this additional stolen information?” asked Mike Litt, U.S. PIRG consumer campaign director. “And why hasn’t Equifax directly notified consumers about this yet?”

“In addition to raising more questions over Equifax’s many failures, these new revelations show the urgent need for action,” Litt said. “For starters, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should complete its investigation into the breach. In the meantime, Congress should pass legislation now.”

U.S. PIRG listed several bills introduced in Congress that it supports, and says would support consumers including S. 2289, the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act, S. 1816, the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act and S. 2362, the Control Your Personal Credit Information Act.

“There are already several good bills just sitting there,” Litt said. “Will it take an even worse breach for Congress to pass them?”

And it may take an act from Congress to make any meaningful changes for Equifax as CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney said the agency is enforcing the law but not being aggressive under his leadership.

“We’re not pushing the envelope,” Mulvaney said Sunday on CBS. “We’re taking a different attitude toward the job, but the priorities have not changed.”

Mulvaney explained he is taking this new approach because the CFPB is “perhaps the most unaccountable bureau or agency there is.”

“We want to run that place with a good deal of humility and prudence,” Mulvaney said. “This bureau is unlike any other federal bureaucracy. It’s run by one person. Right now me.”

As you continue watching the Olympics play out this week, and cheer on the 244 U.S. athletes, make sure you check in on HousingWire to stay up to date on the latest news in housing finance.