It’s ChoicePoints business to know about you. The company
maintains a database that has information on virtually every U.S.
citizen. Its trove of personal data and its estimated 17 billion
records includes phone numbers and addresses, credit reports and
property records, bank accounts, insurance policies and social security
numbers. It sells this information to major corporations, no profit
organizations and the government.
But in addition to gathering sorting and cataloging
information from public records about virtually every American, Acxiom
has another business. Its acres of computers store private information
about us. Information that is gathered by the nations banks, insurers,
credit card issuers, retailers, car makers, and telecom companies.
Almost every time you make a purchase, whether buying a book or going
to the supermarket or booking a trip, there’s a record of your
transaction. A record that’s kept by the company you did business with.
Using a combination of this personal information along with its vast
storehouse of public data, Acxiom’s computers are able to paint a
remarkably detailed portrait of many Americans.
The law that regulates electronic surveillance…the last
major restructuring of that law took place in 1986. We need a
regulatory infrastructure to protect privacy and right now we don’t
quite have one to match the new technologies that we have. The public
needs to be putting pressure on state and federal legislators to do
something about this. Its important that the public become aware of
what’s going on so its voice can be heard.
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