Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Choicepoint Roundup for Today

  • The Associated Press has a story “Burned by ChoicePoint breach, potential ID theft victims face a lifetime of vigilance” (actually, we all face a lifetime of vigilance, as these companies make buckets of money by gossiping about us.). The money quote:

    Many victims are dumbfounded by the dearth of federal and state laws aimed at protecting their credit histories and other information about them that data brokers gather and sell to institutions including news organizations, banks and, increasingly, companies vetting prospective employees. Victims are also frustrated by the amount of time it takes to re-establish identities.

  • How can I not link to an article titled “Lycos and meet-markets are latest thieves of personal identities, souls and dreams“?
  • Cutting Edge of Ecstasy
    draws a choice quote from this NYTimes story. On Feb 16th, Chuck Jones said:

    ‘California is the focus of the investigation and we don’t have any evidence to indicate at this point that the situation has spread beyond California.’ Is he the same guy that wrote their slogan?

  • The US Senate will be holding hearings on information brokerage. (Via this Wired roundup story. I expect bad law will be the result. It’s too bad that these companies have dug in their heels, rather than collaborating on a much needed law to regulate themselves.)
  • The New York Times has more on Senator Schumer’s position.
  • Monkey McGee gets a Choicepoint press release dumped in his comments.
  • Mercury Rising comments that the mainstream media isn’t covering the Florida debacle, in which Choicepoint played an important role.
  • Public Domain Progress has a nice roundup interspersed with lots of analysis.
  • The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Choicepoint execs have been dumping their own stock since this started.

2 comments on "Choicepoint Roundup for Today"

  • Chris Walsh says:

    That “other thing” isn’t really “other”. This is all one piece.
    As I recall Greg Palast’s discussion in his
    book, the whole purge felons from the voting rolls thing started as a reasonably-scoped consulting gig. It then was realized that by the kind of scope creep consultants everywhere wish they faced, the company was asked to do LESS for the same money (since by doing less verification and loosening the selection criteria, more undesirables would be disenfranchised).
    ChoicePoint of course took the money. In other words, they merely did what they were paid to do. Naturally, they (along with every other consulting/professionnal services firm) saw post-9/11 that there was huge money to be made in making the homeland safe from evildoers, and wanted some of that action. Selfless, patriotic Seisint is probably the purest example of this, of course. That there was little regulatory oversight, and a predisposition to use domestic firms for “national security” was the icing on the cake.
    In short, this all makes sense — ChoicePoint isn’t malicious, they just are trying to maximize profits subject to a dysfunctional set of constraints (viewed from a social welfare standpoint, I mean). Anyone surprised by what is happening here would no-doubt be shocked…nay, SHOCKED, that shenanigans take place with big defense contractors, too :^).
    The question that Congress now faces (and I share your pessimism concerning the bad law possibilities here) is how to adjust those constraints in order to make them functional, which is a very difficult thing to do, I suspect.

  • Bank of America to draw heat from ChoicePoint

    ChoicePoint (Roundups from Adam: today, 25th, 24th) is to receive help from Bank of America, which has just revealed that “a small number of computer data tapes were lost during shipment to a backup data center. The missing tapes contained…

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