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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED TO CONFIRM CFPB Speaker. We are hosting an event Monday, 5/11, from 9am-noon ET to discuss a new book, The Black Box Society, with author Frank Pasquale. Click Keep Reading to RSVP to attend in person or to watch the livestream. While credit bureaus have long functioned as black box gatekeepers to opportunity, panelists will discuss the growing use of more and more, even less transparent black boxes to categorize consumers in the digital economy.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRG Commends Supporters of Duckworth Amendment to Protect Our Troops From High-Cost Loans

Last night, on a 32-30 bipartisan vote, the House Armed Services Committee supported the Tammy Duckworth (IL) amendment to strike language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have delayed Pentagon-proposed improvements to the Military Lending Act of 2007. It's a critical victory for servicemembers, veterans and their families, although the fight to protect our troops from high-cost loans will continue.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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News Release | MontPIRG Education Fund

NEW REPORT: Montana Receives "A-" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Montana received an “A-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the sixth annual report of its kind by the Montana Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. Montana's grade improved since last year, jumping from a B to this year's A-.

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Blog Post

Without access to digital repair software, farmers are too often forced to send their machines to authorized dealers for fixes.

News Release | US PIRG

Beech-Nut will stop selling all single grain rice cereal after Alaska state officials discovered high arsenic levels during routing sampling, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said in a statement released Tuesday.

Blog Post

We’re backing legislation to prevent the billionaire Sackler family from using the corporate bankruptcy of its company Purdue Pharma (makers of Oxycontin and other opioids) to avoid personal liability in ongoing lawsuits by some 24 state Attorneys General attempting to bring some justice to the families of the victims of the opioid crisis. Congress will hold a hearing Tuesday, June 8 at noon ET.

Blog Post

Replacing the nation's lead service lines would protect children from lead exposure.

Farmers need to fix their equipment. Repair restrictions continue to get in the way.

Without access to digital repair software, farmers are too often forced to send their machines to authorized dealers for fixes they otherwise could have made themselves, leading to lengthy delays and inflated repair bills.

 

Public Health

PIRG backs Get the Lead Out Act to protect children's health

Lead exposure is particularly harmul for kids. The bipartisan Get the Lead Out Act would set aside $46.5 billion to replace the approximately 9 million lead service lines still in use today within 10 years.

 

Solid Waste

Shareholder advocacy wins plastic commitment from Target

In response to a shareholder proposal filed by Green Century and As You Sow, Target agreed on May 5 to set a goal for eliminating virgin plastic from its private brand packaging for fast-moving goods. Green Century is, like PIRG, a member of The Public Interest Network.

 

Solid Waste

FTC report finds 'scant evidence' to justify repair restrictions

Manufacturers too often prevent consumers from repairing the products they own, resulting in more waste and more cost to consumers. An FTC report now asserts that manufacturer justifications for repair restrictions have "scant evidence" to support them.

 

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