Choicepoint Roundup, March 5
My big question for the day: When Choicepoint announced a re-screening of their small business customers, that segment was 5% of their $900m revenue. Today’s announcement of closing that segment is $15-20m, or about 2%. So it seems that the exceptions that they list in their 8K account for 60% of their small business sales. Once again, they demonstrate their contempt for the public.
- Choicepoint has filed an SEC form 8K.
- That 8K filing is the subject of reporting in Red Herring, as is this blog. Welcome, Red Herring readers!
- The SEC is investigating the stock sales. In this Atlanta Journal Constitution story, Professor Ken Bernhardt of Georgia State University nails why this is going to be tough for Choicepoint:
“It’s obviously a huge distraction,” he said, “but one that must be dealt with immediately. And with two separate inquiries going on, it’s more than twice the work. You have to be responsive to each and make sure you are telling the same story to each.”
Choicepoint has never been very good at that.
- The first shareholder class action suit has been filed. (As opposed to ID theft victim suits)
- Screendiscussion discusses the need for user education around automated background checking. As the privacy advocates keep pointing out, there’s subtleties in interpreting or relying on these things.
- However, whatever the interpretation difficulties, there are real criminals out there, as Open Society Paradox reminds us. Unfortunately, criminal background check services only go so far, as Choicepoint has recently discovered. Pete Lindstrom comments, any identity verification system can be gotten around.
- Finally, Robert O’Harrow’s story in today’s Washington Post, “ChoicePoint Data Cache Became a Powder Keg” is too calm and well reported to be today’s Two Minutes Hate, which instead comes to you from the thoughtcriminals at the National Business Review (NZ).
All my prior Choicepoint posts are listed here.