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Statement on Proposed Amendments to the National Market System Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail to Enhance Data Security

Aug. 21, 2020

Today the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed amendments to the national market system plan governing the consolidated audit trail (CAT).  Because the proposed amendments are designed to enhance the security of the consolidated audit trail, I supported the proposal.  I would have preferred the bolder step of confronting the CAT’s real and serious liberty implications. 

As I have said elsewhere,[1] the CAT treats every American as a presumptive wrongdoer.  The CAT will watch everything you do in the securities marketplace, record it for employees of the SEC and self-regulators to monitor, and store it in databases that hackers undoubtedly will attack.  The discomfort we feel about similar monitoring in other marketplaces is something we should also feel when the government watches our every move in the financial markets. 

I look forward to reviewing comments we receive in response to the proposed measures to protect the CAT data and make it more difficult to reverse engineer traders’ identities.  I also welcome comments on the more fundamental questions about how the CAT, even as modified by the proposal, will affect liberty, privacy, and freedom.  I continue to call on my colleagues and the American people to rethink this endeavor.


[1] See Commissioner Hester M. Peirce, “Statement of Hester M. Peirce in Response to Release No. 34-88890; File No. S7-13-19” (May 15, 2020), available at

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