In August, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo held a press conference at the Idaho Capitol, where he raised concerns about the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its practice of recording every credit card transaction in the country.
In an interview with IdahoReporter.com Thursday, Crapo noted what he calls the "cross comparing" of personal data collected by the CFPB with data that will be collected by the nation's various Obamacare insurance exchange websites.
IR: You have once again raised concerns about personal data security, just days away from the national implementation of Obamacare. What do we need to know about this?
Crapo: The first time I jumped into this was when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau started collecting everybody's credit card information and mortgage information. Now I'm working with my colleagues on the finance committee in regards to the roll-out of Obamacare.
Because what they're going to be doing as they try to get people to sign up on these exchanges around the country is collecting from them phenomenal amounts of private data. Not just your name and address, and not even just asking for your Social Security number, but asking a lot of personal verifying questions and then working with credit card rating agencies who have collected lots of data, and then cross comparing that data.
The point is that it's going to turn into another huge data collection program on Americans that will now be tied to your ability to get access to health care. The federal government keeps getting more and more into the business of big data, and being Big Brother.
IR: When you speak to advocates for the Obamacare exchange here in Idaho, and there are a good many Republicans in Idaho who have been advocates for this including our governor, and they have said ‘Oh no, everything is going to be safe and secure, we're keeping all of this data right here in Idaho.’ We now know that the state exchange website will be connected directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but what happens when our fellow Idahoans come to you and say, ‘No Sen. Crapo, there's no reason to be concerned here?’ How does that conversation go?
Crapo: Well, I think they are concerned. I haven't had that specific conversation with our governor or with those implementing the exchange. But I think they are and, in fact, we'll contact them and make sure they are aware of these concerns because you are correct, if we are connected to the federal exchange program, then we run the risks that that program creates. I believe we've got to do what is necessary to restrict the types of data that the government collects.
IR: There have been reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was to have signed a new United Nations treaty that would require supporting countries to participate in a global gun owner's registry. What can you tell us?
Crapo: Yes. He signed it yesterday (Wednesday) morning against the wishes of Congress and against the demands of many of us. In fact, we had a vote encouraging the president and the administration to not sign the agreement some months back.
Although that was not binding on them, obviously, it certainly indicated the will of the Congress. I and several of us, when we heard that he was going to do this, wrote to him and told him that this was in violation of the intent of Congress and bad for the American people. He's gone ahead and done it any way.
The president still has to get this ratified by the Senate, which I do not believe will happen. But it is very unfortunate to see the president ignore what the Congress has been saying and move ahead on this.
IR: There are those who are surmising that the president may sign this treaty and then go to the U.S. Senate and, in essence, bully and badger his fellow Democrats in the Senate and tell them ‘You'd better ratify this, or else ...’ Does he have the power, the political sway to make that happen?
Crapo: I believe he has sway with his caucus (the Democrats). I'm not sure he can get 100 percent of them because a number of them voted with us (the Republicans) when we voted on this issue before. He can get most of them, but that won't be enough to ratify this treaty. He has to get all of the Democrats, plus a number of Republicans, in order to get this ratified. I still believe the chances of this being ratified are very low.
Full audio of Crapo's comments can be heard HERE.