Get Rid of Equifax

Get Rid of Equifax

Because of lax security at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting companies, the private financial and personal details of as many as 143 million Americans have been exposed to hackers. We still don’t know what the full ramifications will be; the people who took this information — which includes birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses — could hold on to it for as long as they want and deploy it in years to come.

Many consumers have scrambled to try to protect themselves. To anyone who tried to get through to Equifax customer service, though, it became clear: The company does not care about us. Months before the hack itself, Equifax could easily have patched the hole in its system that hackers exploited, but it simply didn’t.

That’s because we are not the customers of credit reporting companies, but the product. These private institutions hoover up our data, often without our knowledge and consent, and then sell it off to banks, landlords and even prospective employers. The companies rake in some $10 billion in revenue every year. They wield enormous power to ruin our lives — if not through a data breach, then through errors on our credit reports. One in four consumers has an error on his credit report that could affect his scores, yet it can be very difficult to correct the record.

Although they call themselves bureaus, there is nothing governmental about what these private companies do. We let them take on a role that can have outsize consequences. And the free market doesn’t work here, because none of us can refuse to be a part of this system and opt out if we don’t like how we’re being treated. There’s no legal right to ask Equifax to remove your data from its registries or to stop it from getting more in the future.

Why should we continue to allow private companies to make money from us while ignoring our needs? Let’s nationalize Equifax and the other two major credit reporting companies, Experian and TransUnion. We could follow other countries’ example and hand the duty of tracking our financial histories over to a public registry instead of a private profiteer.

Equifax is the oldest of the Big Three credit reporting bureaus, and it got its start as a private investigator in the late 1800s. A client — a business or a bank — would ask it about a consumer, and it would go about digging up dirt on things like marital problems and convictions. That client would then pay it for its services.

This questionable business model raised eyebrows in the 1960s, when the companies were still compiling information on people’s “moral character” such as affairs or drinking problems. At the time, the reports weren’t available at all to the subjects themselves. That changed with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which was signed in 1970. But even that reform put virtually no oversight on the bureaus’ practices.

Things haven’t changed all that much. Those who want to dig up dirt via a credit report pay one of the Big Three companies and voilà, they have a dossier of financial information.

The first step toward fixing this mess would be to limit who can use these reports and reduce how influential they have become. Credit reporting companies have experienced quite the mission creep over recent years. In 2010, 60 percent of employers used credit reports to evaluate potential hires. That means that a report that workers have no control over and frequently don’t even get a chance to see, which can have at least one error, is helping determine whether or not they get a job.

There’s no good reason for employers to use this information — credit reports haven’t been shown to predict employee performance. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts agrees, and just reintroduced a bill that would bar employers from asking for credit histories.

But even such a crackdown wouldn’t fully get rid of the danger the credit reporting business model poses to people’s financial lives. Instead, given how poorly they operate and how little incentive their business model gives them to improve, their duties should be handed over to public institutions.

In at least 40 other countries — including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — credit reporting can be done by a public credit registry. It is usually operated by a central bank that already oversees the financial institutions that feed information into the reports. These reports tend to be more accurate because the operators have a legal right to demand data from banks as well as a mandate to ensure it’s correct and that errors are fixed. Data on late payments and defaults are erased once a consumer has settled up.

Many of these public registries leave out things like medical debt, tax information and personal details like marital status, focusing only on loan amounts. Only about 40 percent of registries collect consumers’ addresses, and two-thirds collect taxpayer IDs — the kind of information leaked in the Equifax breach.

The United States government is, of course, not impervious to data breaches, nor does it have a perfect track record of fending them off. In 2015, it announced that hackers had stolen “sensitive information” on 21.5 million people. But the government is at least accountable to public pressure. Equifax never will be, even under the tightest regulation. Credit bureaus have proved to be complete failures at safeguarding the public. Let’s demand we get our data back.

By Bryce Covert

팰팍에 한인 운영 ‘초대형 워터팍’들어선다

▶ 킹스파사,킹 사우나 옆에 10만 2000 Sf 규모
▶ 총 5,000만달러 투자 2019년 5월 완공 목표

king water park
뉴저지 팰팍에서 19일 워터팍 신축 공사를 위한 철거 작업이 진행중이다.

king water park

슬라이딩 풀·스낵바·야외풀·어린이 게임시설도

뉴저지 팰리세이즈 팍에 한인이 운영하는 초대형 워터팍이 들어선다.

‘킹사우나’를 운영하는 ‘킹스파’(대표 이태희)사는 현재 킹사우나가 입주해 있는 건물의 인근 부지 등을 구입한 10만2,000스퀘어피트 자리에 대규모 스파 및 워터팍 시설을 조성할 계획이라고 19일 밝혔다.

지난 주부터 기존 창고건물에 대한 철거 공사를 시작한 킹사우나 측은 2019년 5월까지 완공시킬 예정이다. 이에 따라 워터팍공사 부지에 입점해있던 CJ 택배, 주부랜드, 코디하임 등 한인 업소들이 이달 초 일제히 이전했다.

새롭게 지어지는 워터팍은 어린이 전용 풀과 슬라이딩 풀, 아쿠아 풀, 바데 풀 등과 스낵바, 마사지실, 1000개의 락커룸이 만들어진다. 또한 약 500 대의 차량을 수용가능한 주차장도 갖추어진다. 워터팍 총규모는 실내 약 8만 스퀘어피트, 실외 2만2,000스퀘어피트로 현재 운영 중인 약 4만5,000스퀘어피트의 킹사우나를 합치면 총 14만7,000스퀘어피트에 달하게 된다.

킹스파 측은 이번 워터팍 건립비용이 무려 5,000만 달러가 달할 것으로 추산하고 있다. 킹스파는 지난 2009년부터 워터팍 건립을 추진해왔으며 지난 2011년 1월 킹 사우나 옆 부지(317 commercial ave) 를 매입했다. 이후 같은 블록내 건물들을 잇따라 매입하면서, 웨스트 센트럴 블러버드와 커머셜 애비뉴, 서쪽의 기차길역이 둘러싼 초대형 워터팍 건립을 추진해왔다.

킹스파 측은 “2011년 당시 계획에서 확대 수정되면서, 면적과 투자액이 두배 가까이 증가했다”며 “워터팍이 완공되면 남녀 노소를 막론하고 가족 고객들을 위한 최고의 레저 휴양지가 될 것”이라고 말했다.

Cornell built a super-high-tech school in New York City that could revolutionize building design

Nestled between Manhattan and Queens on New York’s Roosevelt Island, a new approach to building design has come to life.

cornell tech

Cornell Tech, a two-million-square foot campus aimed at serving students studying computer science, business, and entrepreneurship, is open for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The buildings will remain in construction until approximately 2043, at which point some 2,000 students and hundreds of faculty and staff will live in energy-efficient buildings designed to heat and cool their inhabitants naturally.

Here’s what the school is like up close.

cornell tech
Cornell Tech’s main dorm, the tall building pictured in the background below, is the tallest and largest “passive” house in the world, meaning it uses little energy to heat and cool the interior.
Iwan Baan

cornell tech
Passive houses can use 70 to 90% less energy than traditionally built structures. The dorm will abide by a strict set of energy efficiency requirements established by Germany’s Passive House Institute.
Bebeto Matthews/AP Images

The building is the largest energy-efficient dorm in the world.

The interior walls are covered in tape-sealed “jackets” that prevent outside air from coming in. Each window has triple-pane glass that was assembled in Italy and shipped to New York.

Pipes run around the ceiling, continuously emitting heat or AC into the room. Unlike traditional central heating and AC systems, which shut on and off to adjust the temperature, the pipes keep the inside temperature consistent and adjust in real time to save energy.

cornell tech
The other buildings in the campus also employ a passive design, including The Bridge. It’s a co-working space for tech companies and researchers, who can collaborate to bring products to market more quickly.
Matthew Carbone

cornell tech
The campus also includes a 196-room hotel and a learning center, where students can move between individual work and team-based projects. The building was designed to produce more energy than it uses over time.
Bebeto Matthews/AP Images

cornell tech
Steelblue and Forest City Ratner Companies designed the interior and helped picked startups and more mature companies to fill the space. All will do work involving technology in some capacity.
Iwan Baan

cornell tech
Similar to the exterior, where there are no walls, gates, or barriers, inside the buildings students and faculty enjoy an open-plan design that encourages airflow throughout.
Matthew Carbone

cornell tech
The views of Manhattan are a nice perk, too.
Iwan Baan

cornell tech
All told, the campus has received $683 million in funding from New York City, Michael Bloomberg, Charles Finney, and Irwin and Joan Jacobs.
Bebeto Matthews/AP Images

cornell tech
Now that the campus is up and running, researchers will have even more data to analyze on the long-term cost-effectiveness of passive buildings.
Iwan Baan

cornell tech

cornell tech campus

It doesn’t hurt that the 12-acre campus adds a splash of green to the world’s most famous concrete jungle.

Cornell Tech: 코넬 공대 루스벨트아일랜드 캠퍼스 완공

cornell tech campus

루스벨트아일랜드에 건설된 코넬 공대(Cornell Tech) 캠퍼스가 완공됐다.

코넬 공대 루스벨트아일랜드 캠퍼스에서는 대학원 프로그램이 운영된다. 코넬 공대는 지난 2010년 마이클 블룸버그 전 시장의 대학 캠퍼스 유치 정책에 따라 공모를 거쳐 선정됐다.

코넬대 측과 뉴욕시정부는 13일 완공 기념식을 열었다. 사진 가운데 높은 건물은 ‘하우스’, 왼쪽 건물은 ‘블룸버그센터’, 오른쪽 건물은 ‘브리지’로 불린다.

Campus Master Plan by SOM – www.som.com

cornell tech campus master plan

The Master Plan for the Cornell Tech campus divides campus construction into three phases to be complete in 2043 with the total construction of 2 million square feet and 2.5 acres of public open space.

At each phase, design will follow key principles including creating a river-to-river experience from all vantage points, a variety of open spaces, and a livable, sustainable campus.

Designer: Colin Koop, Associate Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill