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US consumer watchdog probes Big Tech's use of payment data

US consumer watchdog probes Big Tech's use of payment data

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has ordered Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google to hand over information on their payment system plans so that it can see how they gather and use customer data.

The consumer watchdog says it has the statutory authority to order participants in the payments market to turn over information to help it monitor for risks to consumers and to publish aggregated findings that are in the public interest.

It has sent out orders to six firms - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square - and says it may also target Chinese players such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.

While big tech's move into payments can benefit people and businesses, the CFPB says it also presents risks to consumers and to a fair, transparent, and competitive marketplace.

The orders demand information on data harvesting and monetisation; whether firms employ restrictive access policies; and what the companies are doing to ensure consumers are protected.

"Big Tech companies are eagerly expanding their empires to gain greater control and insight into our spending habits,” says CFPB director Rohit Chopra. “We have ordered them to produce information about their business plans and practices.”

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