Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news coming across HousingWire’s weekend desk, with more coverage to come on larger issues.
The Equifax security breach impacted a jaw-dropping 143 million U.S. consumers.
That’s right 143 million consumers, meaning the likelihood you or someone you know had their information wrongfully stolen is uneasily high.
And to make matters worse, according to this from veteran securities reporter, Brian Krebs, on his Krebs on Security blog, the website (equifaxsecurity2017.com) that the credit bureau set up for consumers to see if their personal information was impacted by the breach, may just be haphazardly telling consumers they were impacted when they weren't — and perhaps vice versa, too. Krebs proves his case by publishing screen shots.
The credit bureau website is also intended as a place for consumers to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection, which will be provided by Equifax for one year. As Krebs notes, the new website not only drives new clients to Equifax, but also forces them to sign an arbitration clause to get out of being sued later.
From the article:
As noted in yesterday’s breaking story on this breach, the Web site that Equifax advertised as the place where concerned Americans could go to find out whether they were impacted by this breach — equifaxsecurity2017.com —
is completely broken at best, and little more than a stalling tactic or sham at worst.
In the early hours after the breach announcement, the site was being flagged by various browsers as a phishing threat. In some cases, people visiting the site were told they were not affected, only to find they received a different answer when they checked the site with the same information on their mobile phones.
Others (myself included) received not a yes or no answer to the question of whether we were impacted, but instead a message that credit monitoring services we were eligible for were not available and to check back later in the month. The site asked users to enter their last name and last six digits of their SSN, but at the prompting of a reader’s comment I confirmed that just entering gibberish names and numbers produced the same result as the one I saw when I entered my real information: Come back on Sept. 13.
Equifax remains infuriatingly silent on a lot of the giant debacle, especially since the company said it discovered the unauthorized access on July 29, 2017, and “acted immediately to stop the intrusion.”
But, it didn’t immediately inform the public on any of this, waiting nearly two months to say anything.
As the public anxiously awaits news on how this impacts them, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the House Financial Services Committee, and the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are each launching an investigation into the breach.
For more information on what to do if you were impacted, the Federal Trade Commission published this list of steps consumers can take to protect themselves after a data breach.
As one of the last remaining Democrats in a top political position in Washington, CFPB Director Richard Cordray is struggling to work in harmony with other Republican-led departments in Washington.
According to an article in The Hill by Sylvan Lane, the U.S. Department of Education on Friday announced it will stop working with the CFPB to police student loan fraud.
From the article:
The department, now led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, canceled agreements with the CFPB from 2011 and 2013 that established the working relationship, arguing the agency violated its terms by overstepping its boundaries.
Education Department officials said the CFPB violated the agreements by not directing complaints about Title IV student loans to the department within 10 days; instead, the bureau addressed the cases.
The Education officials said the department “takes exception to the CFPB unilaterally expanding its oversight role to include the Department’s contracted federal loan servicers,” and called it “characteristic of an overreaching and unaccountable agency.”
DeVos’ view that the agency is an “overreaching and unaccountable agency,” doesn’t differ much from other Republicans in Washington.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is no fan of the CFPB either, previously saying, “"It is the single-most unaccountable and powerful agency in the history of our republic, running afoul of every tenet of separation of powers and checks and balances.”
The Hill quoted CFPB spokesman David Mayorga saying that “the bureau was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the Education Department's move, and that CFPB hadn't heard from Education about any concerns.”
If Amazon wasn’t striking enough fear into businesses across America, the online-shopping giant announced it is opening a second headquarters somewhere in America, leaving top metros across the country vying to attract Amazon’s business.
In an unusual move, an article in The New York Times by Nick Wingfield and Patricia Cohens, stated, “Amazon took the unusual step on Thursday of announcing it wants a second home outside Seattle, starting what is sure to be a fierce bidding war to lure Amazon — and the thousands of high-paying jobs it will bring to town — using a combination of tax breaks and other sweeteners.”
And the article is right. Publications in America’s top metros are all hashing out why their city would be the best place for Amazon to open a new headquarters in. Think Denver, Boston, Dallas, Portland and more.
The article explained the reasoning behind the decision from Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO:
The plan is the latest surprise from Mr. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, who has reshaped Seattle in the more than two decades since he founded Amazon. He overshadows even Bill Gates, the former Microsoft chief executive who put the Seattle area on the map as a destination for tech companies. Amazon is now the biggest corporate employer in Seattle, and it occupies 19 percent of the prime office space in the city, more than any other employer in a big American city, The Seattle Times reported last month.
But Amazon executives have talked internally and with outsiders in recent years about how much more of the company’s hyper-growth Seattle would be able to handle. Housing prices here are skyrocketing, the competition for tech industry talent is getting more fierce and traffic chokes the roads.
If Bezos wanted to take the advice from The New York Times, they already did the math on the city that would be the best choice: Denver.
Will keep watch to see if they are right.
While HousingWire followed the controversial construction of Fannie Mae’s new headquarters in Washington, D.C., what will happen to the government-sponsored enterprise's old building?
Fannie Mae’s building, as pictured below, has become one of the more famous buildings in Washington thanks to the building’s Colonial Revival style.
Andrew Giambrone explained in an article in the Washington City Paper why developers’ want Fannie Mae’s headquarters designated as historic.
The article explained that the project is notable for how it will modify and reuse an existing structure.
From the article:
D.C.-based Roadside Development and North America Sekisui House, a Japanese building firm, acquired the site last year through a joint venture for $89 million. Their plans include additional retail and housing.
Just this summer, the joint venture filed an application with D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office to designate the red brick Fannie Mae headquarters, built in the mid-1950s, as a landmark.
The team’s application for landmark status makes much of the building’s Colonial Revival style, which D.C. architect Leon Chatelain, Jr. used to evoke the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia.
While there are three main reasons for deeming the headquarters a historic building, one of the main reasons is because everyone knows the building, and it was unlikely the community would allow developers to come in and take it down.
And according to the article, the olive branch appears to be paying off, with residents now excited about the prospect of using the lawn as community space.
Since a lot of these stories are still developing, be sure to check back throughout the week for more details.
For now, enjoy the start of your week.