Banks Get Payout From Equifax Hack While Consumers Still Wait For Compensation

from the performative-fluff dept

We've noted several times that the FTC's settlement over the Equifax hack that exposed the public data of 147 million Americans was little more than a performative joke. While much was made of the historic fine levied against the company, the FTC's settlement failed to provide impacted victims much of anything outside of a sad chuckle.

The agency originally promised that impacted users would be able to nab 10 years of free credit reporting or a $125 cash payout if users already subscribed to a credit reporting service. But it didn't take long for the government to backtrack, claiming it was surprised by the number of victims interested in modest compensation, while admitting the settlement failed to set aside enough money to pay even 248,000 of the hack's 147 million victims. Even the credit reporting was relatively useless given such offers have been doled out the last seventy times consumers were impacted by a company's shaky security and privacy standards.

While consumers didn't see their promised compensation, US banks are facing no such hurdles. The company this week agreed to shell out $5.5 million to thousands of banks and credit unions who say they were harmed by the targeted hack of Equifax customers. The full agreement with the banks also doles out an additional $25 million to help beef up security, with Equifax also covering the banks' administrative costs, attorney fees, and assorted expenses.

But while the banks are now covered, the actual victims of the hack attack remain lost in the bureaucratic mire:

"It’s been more than two-and-a-half years since the biz was thoroughly hacked, and just under a year since the $700m settlement was agreed, so it’s perhaps surprising that not a cent appears to been given to the people directly impacted by the cyber-break-in.

Even now, with a final settlement approved in December 2019 and a deadline to apply for the money of January 22, 2020 – four months ago – Equifax still apparently hasn’t sent out any checks and still hasn’t given a firm date for when it will do. Questions from The Register on the topic have gone unanswered."

That again falls on the back of the FTC and the original settlement, which received a lot of initial gushing press adoration for being "historic," but doesn't appear to have lived up to any of its original promises. After not providing enough money to live up to that $125 cash payout offer, victims were forced to jump through hoop after hoop to try and get the funds, which won't wind up being anywhere close to $125 whenever the checks do arrive. The entire process is now bogged down in the courts after victims fought for a more equitable settlement for the hack.

It's another example of how headline-grabbing fines usually tend to be performative. There's no genuine compensation coming for most victims of Equifax's lax security, and efforts to actually craft meaningful penalties for companies (like say, an actual US privacy law) remain bogged down in partisan bickering. As a result we see scandal after scandal, followed by pseudo-punitive tap dances where the actual victims are lucky to see a dime. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Filed Under: banks, ftc, hack, leaks, security, settlement
Companies: equifax


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 3:44pm

    Of the Corporations
    By the Corporations
    For the Corporations

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    virusdetected (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:00pm

    FTC == F**k The Consumer

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 22 May 2020 @ 4:25pm

    Love the gov....NOT.

    HOW is it that 'We the people',
    End up paying for everything.
    And the gov. seems to think Millions of dollars is enough for a corp to pay?
    Who would think that giving a Service or giving MONEY, that all of them would want the service, even if it worked?(or wasnt free elsewhere)

    THEY offered, and the people answered, and THEY should pay out..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 5:44pm

      Re: Love the gov....NOT.

      Of course the FTC is itself regulated by the Federal RRC (Regulatory Regulation Commission)

      Just file a complaint against the FTC with the RRC.

      Everything is government regulated in America because government regulation works so well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 23 May 2020 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re: Love the gov....NOT.

        laziness and Corp payouts to kill regs..
        Works so well.
        Consider, everytime we get a new president he can change Everyone in charge of those departments..
        And how do you choose who to hire?
        Your political group decides..
        And thats how politics gets into the system when most of its parts Are not supposed to be political..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 5:34pm

    So... banks need money for running a data job that cancels everyone's cards? OK then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anomalous Cowherd, 22 May 2020 @ 6:57pm

    Hidden message

    $248,000 / $125 = 1984 ???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 May 2020 @ 9:58pm

    The Equifax settlement is held up because some serial objectors have tied up the settlement on an appeal. There is the separate issue of why the Appeals Court hasn't scheduled the appeal for a hearing. If these judges don't want to do their work because of Covid-19, then get off the government payroll and collect unemployment like the rest of us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 23 May 2020 @ 5:56pm

      Re: Appeals Court hasn't scheduled the appeal

      Fortunately the US has a world-leading everyone-everywhere 100%-uptime broadband network for everyone, with modest and completely affordable plans, so that Courts can meet online and continue on unhindered by pandemics.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 22 May 2020 @ 9:59pm

    It's simple. The upper class does not tolerate Robin Hoods. It does not want any of its money taken from it and given to any of the lower classes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 23 May 2020 @ 8:48am

    Apparently, the swamp is still as full as ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lord Lidl of Cheem (profile), 26 May 2020 @ 6:19am

    Citizens United Wins Again - corporations are people, and apparently they're significantly more important than, well, actual people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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