ChoicePoint to give up some personal data sales

Finally, an encouraging development from the ChoicePoint fiasco. InfoWorld reports that ChoicePoint will stop selling sensitive consumer data to many of its customers, except when that data helps complete a consumer transaction or helps government or law enforcement. Perhaps an end is near for the market of selling personal consumer information (including social security & drivers license numbers) to virtually anyone who wants it. From the article:

The company decided to stop selling sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers after being tricked into divulging personal information on about 145,000 people to identity thieves who posed as customers, according to a statement attributed to ChoicePoint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Derek V. Smith.

“These changes are a direct result of the recent fraud activity, our review … of our experience and products, and the response of consumers who have made it clear to us that they do not approve of sensitive personal data being used without direct benefit to them,” Smith said in the statement, which was posted on ChoicePoint’s Web site.

From now on, ChoicePoint will only sell sensitive personal information to customers when the data is necessary to complete a transaction, to accredited corporate customers that will use the data for user authentication or fraud prevention, or to help federal, state and local government and criminal justice agencies, ChoicePoint said.

The move, which should be complete within 90 days, will eliminate a number of “information products” that the company now sells to its customers, especially small businesses, the company said.

[via Privacy Digest]

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