FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined ChoicePoint $10 million for a data breach that allowed identity thieves posing as legitimate businesses to steal social security numbers, credit reports, and other data from nearly 140,000 people. This is the largest fine ever levied by the FTC. ChoicePoint also has to set up a 'trust fund' for people victimized by identity thieves. From the article: 'As part of its agreement with the FTC, ChoicePoint will also have to submit to comprehensive security audits every two years for the next 20 years.'" BusinessWeek has additional info. Perhaps there might be hope for individual privacy after all. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
Big Brother Really Exists, And He's Not Who You Think He Is. While most of those in the privacy realm have been focusing on keeping the government from spying on its citizens, the government has made an end-run: Letting the private sector do it for them. ChoicePoint, an Atlanta-based spinoff from credit agency Equifax, now has more than 200 terrabytes of data on us, and as previously noted, they're not always very good at it. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
ChoicePoint buys data on 65 million Mexicans. You might remember ChoicePoint as the company that provided the data to purge black "felons" from voting in Florida 2000. Welp, good news! We get another free lap around the track and all of our Latin American friends will be there to greet us in common victory. What a coup!
The FBI uses Equifax subsidiary ChoicePoint to gather dossiers on, well, everybody. No surprise, but many people know how inaccurate these reports can be (see the link). Now they're being used by the FBI? The scene in Brazil where the guy gets SWAT-rushed in his house because of a spelling error comes to mind.