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BRONX, NY – This morning, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation A.5294/S.2302 sponsored by Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo (D-Bronx) and Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) which prohibits consumer reporting agencies and lenders from using social networks and media pages to determine the credit worthiness of the individual.

This act is aimed at helping to protect a consumer’s right to privacy. In addition, the act prohibits any kind of Internet usage information to be stored in consumer reporting agency and lender files.

“Basing someone’s credit score on who they know is not only an invasion of privacy, it is a way for these agencies to unfairly target and penalize low-income New Yorker’s,” Governor Cuomo said. “This law will keep these unscrupulous agencies in check, end this unfair practice once and for all and help ensure New Yorker’s receive more fair and accurate credit ratings.”

“With so much of our financial stability and opportunities determined by our individual credit scores; it is crucial that fair and relevant data be used to determine such credit rating. A person’s online use and search history is irrelevant to their credit worthiness. This law will protect New Yorker’s from the growing threat of new credit formulas that consider online searches and posts in scoring credit. While so many New Yorker’s struggle to make ends meet and/or make long term financial decisions such as the cost of college, purchasing a home or starting a new business— the fact is we must continue to take steps like this bill to ensure a level playing field for all. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this critical legislation,” says Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo.

Senator Brian P. Kavanagh said, “Americans increasingly live much of their lives online. Unfortunately, online activities through social media and other applications expose us to many risks, especially given the scant concern for privacy and equity that many companies have demonstrated when handling our personal data. Using social media networks to assess credit worthiness could lead to new forms of discrimination akin to redlining and other practices that have no legitimate place in our economy. I thank Assembly Member Crespo who has been a leader on this issue and passed this bill in the Assembly, and Governor Cuomo for signing it into law today—an important, proactive step to protect New Yorker’s from unfair practices and ensure more accurate credit reporting.”

Credit scores are used in a variety of ways. However, confusing and vaguely understood algorithms used to calculate and update credit scores can produce both errors and inaccuracies. Those errors may result in imprecise credit reports and therefore negatively affect an individual’s financial goals.

This law will take effect immediately.

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