LexisNexis (which acquired ChoicePoint) is the largest data-broker in the world. They create vast profiles on people and use that information to create various reports that they sell to companies of all kinds. These reports are used to make decisions about renting, insurance and more. In the past these reports have been purchased by law enforcement and criminal organizations; all to find out more information about you.
It might be a good idea to find out what's in your report, but it turns out neither simple web searching or LexisNexis themselves do much for listing out all the types of data they know about you. Well here's the list of information they had (or could have had) from my personal LexisNexis dossier:
LexisNexis is tied into the "Current Carrier" insurance information system used by insurance companies and agencies when deciding to issue you a policy. Think of it like a "credit report for insurance".
This includes 7 years worth of:
For auto, this also includes:
For property, this also includes:
Personal information that may be included
"C.L.U.E"® insurance loss information reports (apparently reports on whether you're a high risk person or not)
This report lists circumstances relating to theft while working at a retail company (admitted or convicted).
In my case, this was of course blank so I don't know specifically what data items would have been included. Most entertaining, there's a line in the report that reads "If you believe we should have information about you in our Esteem Database, let us know"…. Wow.
If any company ever pays LexisNexis to perform a background check on you, LexisNexis will keep the information for future sales purposes. This may include your full date driving record and your personal credit file.
This report shows results of a national criminal records search.
They claim they'll only have history of employers who previously asked LexisNexis to do a background check on you.
are just a business like any other, but as the credit report companies proved, buying and reselling data carelessly leads to disaster. Considering that these reports are FAR more detailed with a much wider variety of information, I can only imagine the consequences of allowing them to proceed as they have been.
Fortunately, you may not have to.
It turns out that they'll only let your data go if you can prove that you're an identity theft victim or in imminent danger of bodily harm (police officer, public officials, etc). But it's easy to understand why they make it hard. After all, why would you set free one of your prize milk cows for no good reason?
In the end, I hope that strong regulation is introduced before we reach a problemTags: .ChoicePoint, Data Abuse, LexisNexis
"Apps" are pieces of software that let Facebook's 500 million users play games or share common interests with one another. The Journal found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were transmitting users' IDs to outside companies.
The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user's friends to outside companies.
Once you install a 3rd party application, you no longer have control. Think twice before touching any "app" about how much you care if your information remains private or is sold on the information black market.Tags: Data Abuse, Facebook
Rule number 1: don't trust Facebook or any other marketer with your information. Anything you provide should be carefully researched to see how safe it is then provided only after deciding what risk you face.
Rule number 2: don't usewithout even MORE careful research.
Breaking both rules is a new app from Facebook which will allow you (or one of your friends) to violate the privacy of many people at once by uploading your phonebook.
The greatest part is that you don't have to give up your phone number since one of your friends can instead! This is just like how Facebook let friends tell stalkers where to find you or add you to groups so someone who's mad at you can make you look like a pedophile.
Don't you love Facebook?Tags: Data Abuse, Facebook
Surprise, surprise. A company has giant data breach due to negligent security, but not to worry! They'll protect you by offering you credit monitoring for one year free!
It would be nice if people could spot this B.S. easily by now, but I'm guessing there are a lot that won't so let me spell it out. Credit monitoring is a waste of your time and is likely only offered to make it seem like they're doing something for you when they probably don't. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the credit monitoring companies have a "data breach plan" where companies can get a bulk discount by offering monitoring to all their victims.
It's a classic win-win-lose. The breach company wins PR points, the monitoring companies continue to make money for not providing any real service, and we all lose.
If you're worried about id theft, justTags: !Data Abuse, Identity Theft, WellPoint
Australia has so much Big Brother nastiness going on, sometimes they make even the UK look tame!
The newest development comes where the government is demanding service providers to store all e-mail and possibly web browsing history for all its
According to the directive, where internet access is concerned, this means the ISPs must retain the user ID of users, email addresses of senders and recipients of email, the date and time that users logged on and off from a service, and their IP address — whether dynamic or static applied to their user ID.
Like most ideas of this nature, it's sold with a plausible premise of catching criminals, but if innocent people are to accept such an invasion, it must first be shown that:
In the US, we fail most consistently on the second. I don't know, but I'm going to guess that Australia's track record isn't a lot better.Tags: Australia, Big Brother, Data Abuse
The world needs a simple word or term that means "the act of creating deliberately confusing jargon and user-interfaces which trick your users into sharing more info about themselves than they really want to." Suggestions?
Although we didn't specifically mention Facebook in our question, … suggestions included "Zuckermining", "Infozuckering", "Zuckerpunch" and plenty of other variations on the name of Facebook's Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Others suggested words like "Facebooking", "Facebaiting", and "Facebunk".
In the end, they went with a suggestion of "Evil Interfaces" which refers to any user interface that is designed to trick people out of their data or make them do something they don't want to do. Check out the source article for examples of the kind of "Evil Interfaces" they're talking about.
And one more thing before we go:
OK, perhaps the word "evil" is a little strong. There's no doubt that bad user-interfaces can come from good intentions. Design is difficult, and accidents do happen. But when an accident coincidentally bolsters a company's business model at the expense of its users' rights, it begins to look suspicious. And when similar accidents happen over and over again in the same company, around the same issues, it's more than just coincidence. It's a sign something's seriously wrong.
Beautifully worded.Tags: Data Abuse, Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter
Today, Facebook removed its users' ability to control who can see their own interests and personal information. Certain parts of users' profiles, "including your current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests" will now be transformed into "connections," meaning that they will be shared publicly. If you don't want these parts of your profile to be made public, your only option is to delete them.
Of course, this doesn't affect me since my REAL friends already know all that stuff so I saw no reason to enter it into Facebook in the first place, but if you or someone you know has it, tell them to pull it down or put in fake data instead. Why broadcast information to strangers hoping that none of them will use it against you?
It looks like Lifehacker posted an article on how to restore your privacy after the change. Check it outTags: Data Abuse, Facebook
Privacy groups like The Electronic Privacy Information Center - EPIC have been warning us about these things for a long time and it seems like as much as the TSA would want us to believe otherwise, we were justified in raising the alarm.
In this case a male worker at Heathrow flipped the machine on as an attractive female co-worker walked near the machine. He apparently made some lewd comments and though I haven't been able to find any sources saying what those comments were, I think I can make some general guesses.
The British House of Commons said this of the machines when they were deployed:
"Having witnessed these full-body scanners working at first-hand, we are confident that the privacy concerns that have been expressed in relation to these devices are overstated and that full-body scanners are no more an invasion of privacy than manual "pat-downs" or searches of bags," the committee said.
Oh really? A pat down and a nudie scanner are the same thing? What do you think?Tags: Data Abuse, TSA, Whole Body Imaging
LexisNexis and ChoicePoint are two of the largest data-brokers in the world. They’re only product is information about you which they buy and sell with little to no regulation of any kind. I have always wondered what kind of information they keep about us, and now I know. In the profile I ordered from them, I found not only several pieces of my personal information, but descriptions of other kinds of information that they collect. Here is a summary:
And the most exciting part of all of this is that you never asked to be part of their profiles, they just take it. Neat huh?Tags: ChoicePoint, Data Abuse, LexisNexis
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