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How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score

This story in The Nation explains our work challenging the way data brokers use "black box," or secret, algorithms to make scoring decisions that may violate the law and deny credit opportunities. This work was also the subject of our recent livestream event featuring Professor Frank Pasquale and his new book, "The Black Box Society." We've now posted an archive of that event, in 3 chapters on our Youtube page.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Illinois Taking Action on Data Security | Abe Scarr

Another week, another massive data breach - but Illinois is taking action to update its personal information security laws.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Transportation

Congress Punts for 33rd Time in Six Years on Federal Transportation Spending, then Leaves Town

With Congress having just passed another short-term transportation patch to extend current transportation law until the end of July, members left town on recess. The new patch marks the 33rd time in the last six years that Congress has relied upon a short-term extension of prior legislation for transportation funding, rather than find consensus on a long-term bill.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Once more into the breach | Abe Scarr

Another health insurer data breach affecting 1.1 million consumers highlights the need for the Illinois House to pass the Data Security and Consumer Protection Bill.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED TO CONFIRM CFPB Speaker. We are hosting an event Monday, 5/11, from 9am-noon ET to discuss a new book, The Black Box Society, with author Frank Pasquale. Click Keep Reading to RSVP to attend in person or to watch the livestream. While credit bureaus have long functioned as black box gatekeepers to opportunity, panelists will discuss the growing use of more and more, even less transparent black boxes to categorize consumers in the digital economy.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Passage of H.R. 4078 Would Shut Down Public Health and Consumer Safeguards and Put All Americans at Risk

The House’s passage of H.R. 4078 would shut down the U.S. regulatory system as we know it, delaying virtually all rule making and public health protections.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to Illinois PIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

POLL SHOWS VOTERS FAVOR STRONG OVERSIGHT OF WALL STREET AND BACK NEW CFPB

Financial reforms enacted in response to the financial meltdown remain popular to voters on the eve of the first anniversary for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Health Care

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Health Reform Law

"Today’s decision is good news for consumers in Illinois. Insurance companies can’t go back to the days of dropping your coverage once you become ill, or denying coverage to sick children. And beginning in 2014, the days of insurers being able to deny anyone coverage for “pre-existing conditions” will be history. Now it’s time for Illinois leaders to move forward on the next steps, and make sure health reform delivers lower costs and better quality coverage."

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Higher Ed

Local Faith Groups Call on Congress to Keep Student Loan Interest Rates Low

As the Senate debates student loan reform, congregations across Illinois are calling on Congress to make college more affordable. Congregations, including Wheaton Franciscans, New Hope Christian Community Church and First Congregational Church of Chicago U.C.C., are circulating petitions and mobilizing their members to urge Congress to stop the student loan interest rate from rising.

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Blog Post | Budget

Budget Address: Close Corporate Tax Loopholes | Celeste Meiffren

In his budget address today, Governor Pat Quinn called for closing corporate tax loopholes, saying ‘For too long, we’ve had a revenue code that looks like Swiss cheese, with plenty of loopholes for the powerful." With tough budget decisions facing the State, closing tax loopholes that serve no public purpose, is the right thing to do...

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Today, CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, possibly end $39 lattes. | Ed Mierzwinski

Would you knowingly agree to pay a $35 fee each time you used your debit card at point of sale, simply to allow you to purchase a $4 latte with only $2 in your account? Even the banks didn't think so, that's why they made “standard overdraft protection” a feature of your checking account that you didn't need to choose...

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Blog Post | Tax

"PIRG Releases report on TIF in Chicago" | Celeste Meiffren

Our friends at Good Jobs First, the national leader in research on the impact of economic subsidies, blogged about our new report on tax increment financing (TIF) in Chicago...

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Blog Post | Tax

Will Rahm's TIF reforms go far enough? | Celeste Meiffren

Yesterday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he will be immediately implementing some of the reforms proposed by his Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel five months ago. All of the proposed reforms are necessary to fix TIF and need to become law before more of our tax dollars are wasted.

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Blog Post | Tax

Case Study: Republic Windows and Doors | Celeste Meiffren

Every week, Tax Dollars and Sense offers a case study to analyze the problems with TIF. This week we will look at the Republic Windows and Doors project within the Goose Island TIF District.

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