February 22, 2005


Most of you are, by now, aware of the Choicepoint fiasco:

Criminals posing as legitimate businesses have accessed critical personal data stored by ChoicePoint Inc., a firm that maintains databases of background information on virtually every U.S. citizen, MSNBC.com has learned.

The incident involves a wide swath of consumer data, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, credit reports and other information. ChoicePoint aggregates and sells such personal information to government agencies and private companies.

Ed Foster notes:
What the ChoicePoint fiasco really shows we need, however, are baseline federal privacy standards that apply to all industries. Although it's certainly ironic that the "nation's leading provider of identification and credential verification services" couldn't figure out it was selling our info to a ring of criminals, the real problem is that data brokers like ChoicePoint can legally sell our information to just about whomever they please.
Federal standards and regulations are invariably broken and generally never written with individual citizens in mind but Ed's last point hits the nail on the head.

No institution, government or private, can be allowed to collect or distribute, for free or for fee, any information about an individual without that individuals specific consent on a per incident basis and if the distribution is for a fee then that individual must be compensated at a rate agreeable to the individual.

The Privacy Digest has more information on both what the Choicepoint breach means to individuals and what information they may have about you.

Posted by Steve on February 22, 2005

Actually, I hadn't read anything about it at all. And now I'm going to be disturbed as hell all night long.

Talk about a horror story.

Posted by zombyboy at February 22, 2005 4:44 PM
follow me on Twitter