The US Consumer Coalition launched a targeted ad campaign against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s massive data collection just in time for the holiday season.  

The ad (watch below), entitled "The CFPB Man,” attacks the bureau’s controversial data collection practices and serves as a reminder to shoppers that they’re being monitored.

The USCC, according to its website, is a consumer advocacy organization that promotes expanded consumer choice, responsible regulation of consumer-facing industries, fair market conditions and consumer freedom.

The CFPB has been under increased scrutiny ever since President-elect Donald Trump unveiled plans to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, a move the US Consumer Coalition supports

“Santa isn’t the only one with a list this time of year. This week, millions of Americans are completing their holiday shopping and we want to remind them that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be monitoring their purchases whether they like it or not,” said Brian Wise, president of the US Consumer Coalition. “How would you feel if government bureaucrats knew what your kids were getting for Christmas before they ripped open the wrapping paper on Christmas morning?”

Included in the bureau’s purpose is a mandate to research consumer behavior. However, as asked in a recent HousingWire magazine piece, why is an organization dedicated to protecting consumers targeting those same consumers for research? 

The CFPB collects data on up to 600 million consumer credit accounts. The CFPB is also collecting arbitration case records, vehicle transaction-level data from departments of motor vehicles, credit scores, information on deposit advance products, data on overdraft fees and more.

The scope of the bureau’s data collection is vast, which makes it a tempting target for hackers.

The Office of Inspector General recently listed “ensuring an effective information security program” in its 2016 list of major management challenges facing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The report emphasized the importance of information security in the federal sector due to recent incidents involving breaches of sensitive data and the sharp increase in information security incidents reported by federal agencies over the last several years.

As with most federal agencies, ensuring effective information security presents a challenge to the CFPB due to the advanced persistent threat to information technology infrastructures. And, unfortunately for the industry, it’s not a matter of if it will be attacked, but when. 

“The CFPB’s consumer snooping campaign puts the NSA data collection program to shame. As the poster child for nanny-state government, the CFPB proudly claims the ability and necessity to monitor the individual financial transactions of Americans without cause or consent,” Wise continued. “This should be of special concern as shoppers buy their last minute holiday presents in stores and online.”