Sunday, February 27, 2005

What ChoicePoint sells about you

A story in the San Francisco Chronicle spells it out:

"What many people may not realize, though, is that ChoicePoint also profits by selling people's personal information to businesses for marketing purposes. On its Web site, the company says its direct-marketing database contains 'fresh, clean, reliable information on more than 220 million consumers.'
This includes 'data on demographics, lifestyle, credit bureau information, and proprietary insurance and financial attributes,' with files 'conveniently linked together for targeted direct mail efforts.'
More specifically, ChoicePoint boasts that it can provide corporate clients with consumers':
-- Age, income and number of children.
-- Home value, length of residence, year built, square footage and other property characteristics.
-- Telephone numbers.
-- Personal interests and activities.
-- Purchase behavior.
'In many cases, these companies know more about us than our families know, ' said Givens at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
In Stokus' case, he discovered that his heavily guarded home address was available online to anyone willing to pay $7.95 to a Washington State company called Intelius that, like ChoicePoint, trades in consumer data."

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