OSPIRG Latest Blog Posts

The worst data breach in history could have been prevented with some basic security measures.

For the past year or so, there was only one holdout among the largest chicken producers in the U.S. on action to keep life-saving antibiotics working. Now there are none.

Out of the 40 largest retailers in North America, 19 lack any public policy to address toxic chemicals in the products found on their shelves.

 "It's freeing to not be constantly wanting more and better stuff."

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

As the year 2018 came to an end, U.S. PIRG, Americans for Financial Reform and AFR members filed the last in in a seemingly interminable series of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Requests for Information. Although there was no clear intent to this "Data Collection" RFI, we, and allied academic scholars who filed a separate comment, both inferred it as another opportunity for industry opponents of the CFPB to attack the Bureau's consumer protection mission -- this time by challenging its collection and use of data to evaluate and respond to financial marketplace problems that harm consumers. 

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Today, 7 member groups of the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) asked each of their national Data Protection Authorities to investigate Google Android's smartphone locational data collection practices following an investigative report by the Norwegian Consumer Council (Forbrukerrådet) finding that Google may be in violation of the new European GDPR privacy law. All the groups are members of the U.S. PIRG-backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue, which itself  followed up on the report and EU actions with a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Meanwhile, as the Senate prepared for an afternoon FTC oversight hearing today where Facebook may be a focus, we joined leading groups in a separate letter to complain to the FTC about its biased staff report that adopts unsubstantiated industry claims in defense of an FTC call to the administration for weak baseline privacy choices. 

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Next year, a highly-anticipated privacy and data rights battle will occur in Congress. Powerful special interests from Google to Facebook are responding to the new European General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) by seeking to quash any similar effort to protect U.S. consumers while simultaneously seeking to preempt a new California privacy law before it takes effect in 2020. Will we continue as data collector products, not their customers, or will we gain control over our own financial DNA? The state PIRGs are in this one; guess which side we're on. Today we joined 34 leading groups in issuing shared Privacy Principles.

Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in America. Oregon is working to help people avoid that fate.

Imagine locking your front door only to discover that your security company dropped by moments later and left your key on top of your welcome mat.