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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | COVID-19, Consumer Protection

Statement: SBA data breach puts business owners at risk of ID theft and other fraud

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Tuesday that the personal information of nearly 8,000 business owners applying for federal disaster loans had been exposed. The breach affects applicants to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), and may have included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, citizenship statuses and insurance information.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health, Consumer Protection

Stimulus check plans, finding hand sanitizer, and avoiding scams during coronavirus | Grace Brombach

Each week, we’ll be posting a round-up of short stories from across our network from staff experiencing various COVID-related issues, and what they did about them.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG and Environment America

EPA decision to undercut mercury pollution standards puts our health at risk

After months of protest, even from members of the industries the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) keeps in check, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an action that defangs the regulations.

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Blog Post | Consumer Tips, COVID-19, Public Health

COVID-19 and the question of priorities | Douglas H. Phelps

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | COVID-19

Former CFPB Director Rich Cordray offers insights on consumer protection, government response to COVID-19

During an online discussion hosted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Richard Cordray laid out urgent consumer protection priorities for Congress and the Trump administration, while offering advice to consumers struggling at this difficult time.

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News Release | Food

Cutting Ag Subsidies Key to Implementing USDA’s Dietary Recommendations

Statement of Elizabeth Hitchcock, MontPIRG Federal Public Health Advocate on the USDA’s announcement of new Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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News Release | Health Care

Health Law to Deliver Coverage For 4340 Young Adults in Montana

A provision of the new federal health care law that goes into effect today allowing parents to keep children on their health insurance plan until age 26 will benefit 4340 young people, according to consumer group MontPIRG.

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News Release | MontPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

USDA's New Performance Standards Should Bring Safer Poultry to Market

WASHINGTON, May 10 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced new performance standards (PDF) for Salmonella and Campylobacter—the most common disease hazards in the meat and poultry supply. USDA has cut the target levels for Salmonella in poultry by over 60 percent, and set the first-ever performance standard for Campylobacter.

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Media Hit | Food

USA Today: 'Growing concern' over marketing tainted beef

Beef containing harmful pesticides, veterinary antibiotics and heavy metals is being sold to the public because federal agencies have failed to set limits for the contaminants or adequately test for them, a federal audit finds.

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News Release | Transportation

Private Roads Public Costs: The Facts About Toll Road Privatization and How to Protect the Public

States Vulnerable to Make Bad Deals; Public Protections Called for

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Will Flawed CFPB Wells Fargo Consent Order Be Reopened To Help Victims? | Ed Mierzwinski

Questions are being raised. Will the ballyhooed $1 Billion CFPB settlement with Wells Fargo be reopened because it clearly favors the wrongdoer at the expense of the victims? There is a reopening precedent for bad consent orders, which we discuss below.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

We Join Groups in FTC Privacy Complaints Against Facebook and Google's YouTube | Ed Mierzwinski

We've joined complaints that two behemoth firms are in violation of Federal Trade Commission privacy rules. In the first, U.S. PIRG joins the Electronic Privacy Information Center and other groups claiming that a number of Facebook's practices - particularly, its use of facial recognition techniques without consent -- violate a previous 2011 privacy order. The facial recognition practice may also violate PIRG-backed Illinois law. Second, we join the Center for Digital Democracy's filing alleging that Google's YouTube collects information about kids in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). And we haven't forgotten about Equifax.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Home remodeling shouldn’t be a deadly project: Toxic paint removers being sold by Lowe’s and other stores | Dev Gowda

No one should lose a loved one to deadly chemicals. But right now you can walk into Lowe’s and other stores and buy paint removers containing highly toxic chemicals.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

32 state Attorneys General to Congress: Don't replace our stronger privacy laws! | Mike Litt

Some 32 Democratic and Republican state Attorneys General have sent a strong letter to the bi-partisan sponsors of a draft federal data breach and data security bill. The weak, industry-backed proposal from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) would override, or preempt, numerous better state privacy laws and, importantly, prevent states from ever again acting to protect their citizens' financial DNA better. We don't like the bill either.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

We Signed A Letter In 2014 But That Doesn't Mean We Support The Bank Lobbyist Act | Mike Litt

Why would we support an amendment to make a bad bill worse? We wouldn't. Here's our explainer on how our signature on a 2014 letter should not have been used to somehow imply we supported an amendment to S2155 on credit scoring favoring Equifax and the other Big 3 credit bureaus.

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Blog Post

The CFPB has asked BigTech giants including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square to answer questions about their payment system practices. The CFPB has also asked consumers, small businesses and others for comments (including complaints), which are due on December 6. Learn more.

Graphic from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine's first crawl of the new CFPB's new website, February 8, 2011.

Blog Post

How to spot an unfixable bike designed for the dump

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

More than 125 medical professionals organized by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund sent a letter to McDonald’s Thursday urging the company to meet its 2018 commitment to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. The coalition delivered the letter at the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week to stress the urgency of taking action to stop overusing our life-saving medicines in agriculture. Otherwise, the drugs may no longer heal sick people. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG

The Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (VCFCA) was reintroduced in the House Committee on Financial Services on Monday. This bill would limit interest rates on loans and go a long way toward protecting consumers, including veterans, who are often victimized by predatory lenders.

Solid Waste

Apple corrects course on Right to Repair

Once one of the most visible opponents to repair access, Apple has now reversed its longstanding policy against making spare parts and repair software tools available to customers. The commitment came just days after the company pledged to stop deactivating Face ID for iPhone screens repaired independently.

 

Consumer Tips

Trouble In Toyland

The 36th annual Trouble in Toyland report calls attention to counterfeit toys evading safety rules and other issues online and in stores. Check out our tips on how to identify potentially unsafe toys and to minimize the risk in your home.

 

Solid Waste

Let’s 'Buy Less, Give More' this holiday season

For many, this holiday season will feel like a return to normal. But what if we didn't return to piles of presents and even bigger piles of waste? We don't have to, and U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s “Buy Less, Give More” guide has suggestions for what to do instead.

 

Health Care

PIRG applauds strong rules against surprise medical bills

A landmark PIRG-backed law protecting consumers from surprise medical bills just got some teeth. Newly proposed regulations dictating how to enforce the federal No Surprises Act will help ensure that payment disputes between insurers and out-of-network providers don't result in extra costs for the consumer.

 

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