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Monday June 10, 2019

CPSC Letter to Senators Gives More Details on Information Releases

The 29 people or entities who received CPSC Information Clearinghouse data outside the 6(b) process included companies, journalists, researchers, lawyers and others. The agency listed recipients in an April letter ( to congressional overseers. It also gives more details on the types of personally identifiable information (PII) released.


At least three recipients were former agency staffers now offering CPSC related services. A few others do not have known affiliations. Media outlets included already known Consumer Reports as well as ABC News, Scripps and perhaps one whose affiliation was listed as "NJ Writer."


Industry recipients were Mattel, Whirlpool, and Yeti. A UL employee and someone from the Army Corps of Engineers got some of the information too. Law firms were Clausen-Miller, Deans & Lyons, and RS Injury Law. Others were CMF Engineering, St. Barnabas, Voccii, Technology Associates, University of California San Diego, Texas A&M, and "Toy Certification Emp." For the last, the recipient's name was in what appeared to be Korean letters.


As for PII, CPSC wrote, "We have so far discovered PII in the form of street addresses, ages, race and gender." At the time of the letter, CPSC explained that it was evaluating whether those releases merited informing the people.


Much of the letter addressed matters already covered in recent PSL stories on the situation. It did explain how the clearinghouse falls under a different part of the U.S. Code than the part addressing other disclosures, noting the decision to put the clearinghouse under FoIA temporarily.


The letter was first made available in a June 5 article ( by FairWarning. It included comments from recipients such as one who complained about being contacted repeatedly by the CPSC general counsel office to add conditions not initially on the data. CPSC has reported (PSL, 5/20/19) that "almost all" of the recipients had agreed to its requests to either return or certify destruction of the materials they received.