Economy

Monopoly Man Photobombs the Senate's Equifax Hearing

Monopoly Man Photobombs the Senate's Equifax Hearing”

A person dressed in a black top hat and bushy white mustache, occasionally putting on a monocle or dabbing forehead sweat with giant paper money, sat in the audience of the Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Equifax data breach on Wednesday.

Amanda Werner, arbitration campaign manager for Public Citizen and Americans for Financial Reform, dressed up as the Monopoly Man and led the delivery of "Get Out of Jail Free" cards to Tuesday's Wells Fargo hearing as well as to all 100 Senate offices - a symbol of how forced arbitration grants virtual immunity to financial institutions.

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who stepped down in disgrace following the public disclosure of a massive security leak, has been answering questions Tuesday and Wednesday in front of different congressional committees about what exactly happened.

Public Citizen took issue with forced arbitration clauses that allow companies such as Equifax EFX, +1.17% to screw over consumers and avoid punishment - kind of like a "get out of jail free" card, of course.

"It's to protest Equifax's behavior in the wake of the breach, and to draw attention to forced arb CRA", Americans for Financial Reform explains on Twitter.

Equifax announced in early September that roughly 143 million US customers likely had personal information stolen due to a large-scale data breach.

When it first announced the breach in September, Equifax offered a credit monitoring service that required consumers to accept arbitration to settle disputes, something it has since removed. The fine print initially included an arbitration clause to prevent people from suing or joining a class-action lawsuit. Smith has said that the arbitration requirement was a mistake.

"I can't understand why you think for those 145 million in that case that forced arbitration is unfair, but in other uses in your company you think it's fair", he said. Werner said an intern arrived at 7 a.m.to save a spot in line.



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