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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Privacy, We've Got Tips and Ideas For You, Congress and Regulators, Too | Ed Mierzwinski

Problems with privacy and data security are all over the news these days. We've got you covered, from releasing a new report and consumer tips on the security freeze today to testifying to Congress (last week) on payment card security and speaking on a panel at the FTC tomorrow on Internet lead generation (what's that?). Oh, and we're waiting for answers to our questions to the CFPB about the credit bureau Experian joining the ranks of the breached. We've been busy as we explain in this "roundup" blog entry.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Why You Should Get Security Freezes Before Your Information is Stolen

Here are tips for preventing ID theft and using a security freeze:

How To Avoid Identity Theft

How To Use a Security Freeze

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Blog Post | Public Health

A Sub-stantial Achievement | Steve Blackledge

On October 20, Subway announced its plan to phase out antibiotics from its entire meat supply. This victory is just the next step of our mission to save antibiotics.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Victory: Subway Commits to Help Save Antibiotics | Steve Blackledge

Today, Subway announced a plan to phase out antibiotics from it's entire meat supply in response to mounting consumer demand for stronger action by the chain to help save antibiotics from overuse.

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Media Hit | Food

Unsafe food puts Americans at risk, new report says

Contaminated food sickened at least 17 Iowans in less than two years and cost the state more than $1.4 million, according to a new report.

Those illnesses and costs were linked directly to food recalls, according to the report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Food

Total Food Recall

Des Moines, October 30 – Despite government commitments to address the problem, food recalls are on the rise and our food safety systems are broken, according to a new report by U.S. PIRG.  Contaminated food makes 48 million Americans sick every year and costs over $77 billion in aggregated economic costs.  In Iowa over the last 21 months, 17 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses linked directly to food recalls and the cost was $1,410,845.

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Media Hit | Safe Energy

Hands off Muscatine County

Virtually everyone in the standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people who turned out to talk about Iowa’s energy future wanted the same thing — to stop MidAmerican Energy Company from building a nuclear plant near Wilton.

A nearly unanimous show of hands about halfway through Tuesday evening’s meeting in Muscatine made the crowd’s opposition clear.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG Education Fund and Demos | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

US PIRG Education Fund and Demos team up to shed light on outside spending, secret money and super PACs in the 2012 election.

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News Release | Iowa PIRG | Safe Energy, Transportation

New Coalition Sets High Goals for Job Creation and Cost Savings

Today, leaders across Iowa revealed a plan to create 20,000 new clean energy jobs and save consumers at least $1 billion per year by 2020 through investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transportation priorities. Working as part of a coalition consisting of over thirty local organizations and businesses, Iowa Renewable Energy Jobs 2020 (IREJ2020) emphasizes the role of energy and transportation solutions in re-building Iowa’s workforce and economy.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Food

Total Food Recall

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off of store shelves.  These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund and Demos | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

Although each major party presidential candidate will likely break previous fundraising records, the big story of the 2012 election has been the role of Super PACs, nonprofits and outside spending generally.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Picking Up the Tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by transferring their earnings to tax haven countries with minimal or no taxes. These tax haven users benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation and the New Generation

Youth in Iowa and accross the country have begun to shift their transportation preference our from behind the wheel, and towards alternative options. Increased dependence on transportation alternatives like public transit, biking, or passenger rail supports re-invisioned transportation policy solutions that reflect the needs of twenty-first century Iowa.

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Report | Iowa PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Following the Money 2012

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence. In the past few years, state governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals.  These government-operated websites allow visitors to view the government's checkbook - who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach, The Less I Know, Except This: It's Bad | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers, Servicemembers | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Appropriations Committee, at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok, will vote to eliminate the CFPB's independence from the politicized appropriations process. Meanwhile, over at the CFPB, important work to protect consumers, including servicemembers, from unfair and predatory financial practices continues.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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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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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | Ed Mierzwinski

(UPDATED 30 April): Last year the Department of Defense proposed needed improvements to the 2007 Military Lending Act, since high-cost lenders were exploiting loopholes to evade the law's 36% APR cap on loans to servicemembers to make loans at 400% APR or more, harming military families and threatening unit preparedness to defend the nation. Now, days before a committee vote, predatory lenders have succeeded in convincing House Armed Services Committee leaders to insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act that would delay the DoD regulations up to a year while needless, redundant studies are prepared. Only in Washington.

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Priority Action

We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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