TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Los Angeles Times: Low-Tech Methods Used in Data Theft

Re: Los Angeles Times: Low-Tech Methods Used in Data Theft
16 Mar 2005 10:44:50 -0800

Marcus Didius Falco wrote:

> Low-Tech Methods Used in Data Theft
> By David Colker
> Times Staff Writer

> Executives at besieged information broker ChoicePoint Inc. have said
> they had no idea how vulnerable the company was to the identity thieves
> who recently tapped into personal data on 145,000 Americans, igniting a
> national furor over privacy.

The network news showed the congressional hearings. The CEO appeared
before Congress and came off as a total boob.

These companies were greedy, collecting extremely sensitive and
personal information for corporate use -- use that would seriously hurt
many of us every day people in our jobs and business dealings.
Corporations use the information -- true or not -- to justify price
increases or lower salaries on the grounds the person is a "bad risk".

I was shocked to learn that bad credit history can prevent someone
from getting a job and making them pay more for insurance. So someone
in bad straits is pushed down by their system even lower -- someone
unemployed can't even get a job and has to pay more for vital

There apparently is virtually no regulation of the collection or
dissemination of the information. If something is inaccurate, I can't
help but wonder that the private person has a really tough time
demonstrating otherwise, especially when they don't learn about it
until years later.

On top of it all, they are sloppy with their security and let stuff
get stolen.

If it were up to me:

1) Their own credit report would be free to consumers.
2) When any time seriously adverse information is posted
to a person's file, the credit company would be required
to notify the person and allow time for a response. The
consumer should be able to challenge such adverse information
and the burden of proof to be on the reporter, without any risk
or penalty or cost to the individual person.
3) Any time a business requests credit info the consumer is to be

("Credit info" to all personal info about a person, not just

Obviously these companies would howl in protest. The news said they
spent millions lobbying against any regulation in the past. But I
suspect these companies are quite profitable and the costs of
accomplishing the above would be modest. It would also cause credit
reporters to be more careful and have better internal procedures and
controls (which are sorely lacking today) and they'll protest that as

But it is not up to me since I'm not a yuppie nor have access to
million dollar lobbyists.

Is anyone out there on the side of these info bank companies?

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