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Coronavirus-related debt will live in digital profiles for years – hurting Americans’ ability to get


Long after the COVID-19 health emergency ends, many Americans will still suffer from the long tail of the pandemic’s economic devastation. For people on the country’s economic fringes, the proliferation of data analytics tools to monitor consumer life – driven by companies that profit from gathering personal data – will magnify today’s financial hardship.

These companies scrape data from your public records, social media interactions, purchase history and smartphone location tracking. Using powerful technologies, they fuse your data into digital profiles that landlords, employers, lenders and other gatekeepers to life’s necessities use to sort and screen people.

As a clinical law professor who represents low-income people in consumer cases, I’m concerned that the pandemic’s economic fallout will be permanently embedded in these profiles, making it harder for people to regain their economic footing.

Eviction moratoriums

Over 41 million people have lost their jobs in the wake of the pandemic. Amid rising unemployment, many states and cities have placed temporary moratoriums on evictions.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, has halted evictionsuntil Aug. 20. After June 20, however, tenants seeking relief will have to prove that they qualify for unemployment insurance or are suffering financial hardship. And with passage of the CARES Act, Congress paused evictions in federally subsidized housinguntil Aug. 23. FULL ARTICLE

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