Coalition Efforts

Consumer Action is working on these important issues along with other organizations. If you would like to know more about these issues, please see “More Information” at the end of each article.

 

Postings

The FCC should protect Americans from sneaky voicemails from telemarketers and debt collectors
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a request to allow the use of "ringless" voicemail technology by exempting it from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits most unwanted calls and texts. The new technology enables telemarketers and debt collectors to send potentially unwanted, prerecorded messages directly to the subscriber’s cell phone voicemail without ever giving the consumer the opportunity to answer—or to block—the incoming call. Consumer Action joined consumer groups in urging the FCC to deny the request to omit ringless voicemails from the TCPA. Ringless direct-to-voicemail messages are just as invasive, expensive and annoying as calls and texts to cell phones.

Protecting democracy from a lawless president
For decades, as the executive branch has increased its power, Congress has increasingly struggled to fulfil its constitutional duties to protect the rule of law by holding presidents accountable for overreaches and preventing abuses of presidential power. Advocates joined together to support the Protecting Our Democracy Act (HR 8363 and S 4880) in an effort to push for necessary institutional reforms to protect our democracy and restore Congress’s ability to check and balance the executive branch, without infringing on the president’s constitutional powers.

Requiring SSN collection by peer-to-peer payment services puts consumers at risk
Consumer rights groups sent a letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo of the Senate Finance Committee regarding a proposal under consideration in the budget reconciliation bill that would require peer-to-peer payment apps such as Square Cash and Venmo to collect Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) for virtually all payee accounts. Because, unlike businesses, most individuals do not hold a separate TIN from their Social Security number, these companies will be collecting the SSNs of millions of Americans, potentially putting their privacy and financial health at risk.

Comprehensive privacy protections needed at home before transatlantic deal is passed
Consumer Action joined over 20 organizations in urging the Biden administration to pause negotiations on a new transatlantic data transfer agreement until Congress passes comprehensive privacy legislation and reforms surveillance laws. Until the United States addresses privacy protections for personal data, concerns about data transfers to the United States will remain, and data flow agreements are likely to be invalidated.

Congress asked to restore FTC’s monetary relief powers
Groups ask Congress to expand the FTC’s powers to protect consumers, which have been jeopardized by a recent Supreme Court decision calling into question the FTC’s authority to demand monetary relief in its enforcement actions.

The new California privacy agency should prioritize consumers’ privacy
The recently-passed California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) augments and supplements California’s existing privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). It also creates a new supervisory authority for data protection and privacy in California — the California Privacy Protection Agency. Privacy advocates wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to select members to the new agency who have demonstrated experience working on behalf of consumers and a commitment to civil rights and ending discriminatory business practices.

Advocates urge the Biden administration to reject Big Tech appointments to his cabinet
In a letter to President-elect Biden, consumer and privacy advocates urged the President-elect to avoid appointing representatives from tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to his cabinet. These companies represent serious threats to privacy, democracy, innovation and to Americans’ economic well-being. Advocates warned that representatives from these companies should not hold positions of power within our government. Instead, advocates urged Biden to assemble a team of advocates that will represent working Americans and not the Big Tech companies that work to exploit them.

Privacy advocates urge U.S. FCC to protect privacy during pandemic
Consumer Action joined in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to uphold privacy protections during the pandemic. The agency is attempting to remove the Customer Proprietary Network Information certification requirement, which is the easiest and most straightforward way to hold wireless and telephone companies accountable for violating their customers’ privacy. The COVID-19 crisis has made telecom privacy protections even more essential as people are more reliant than ever on their phones. It would be highly inappropriate for the FCC to eliminate or weaken these valuable protections during the pandemic.

You private genetic testing information can be sold without warning—that needs to change
Help could be on the way for California consumers thanks to SB 980, a bill that was recently approved by the California legislature with strong bipartisan support. If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill would provide strong privacy and security requirements over deeply personal data that Californians currently lack by way of consumer genetic testing services provided by companies like Ancestry and 23andMe.

The next COVID-19 relief package should include these critical consumer protections
Millions of people and small businesses in the United States are experiencing tremendous financial distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment is skyrocketing and families are struggling to put food on the table. Congress and the administration need to enact broad-based, efficient, and effective relief that goes far beyond the CARES Act to protect people’s homes, cars, bank accounts, income, and benefits so that they can weather this crisis. Consumer Action joined nearly 100 consumer, civil rights, community and other public interest groups weigh in on recommendations for Congress' next stimulus package.

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