Earlier this year Choicepoint a major US data broker agreed to pay US$15 million to settle charges it did
not properly protect consumers’ personal financial information.
For Choicepoint it was a public relations disaster.
ChoicePoint faced its critics with the attitude: "We want to make our privacy practices exemplary."
According to Keeping Your Enemies Close (NY Times) Choicepoint started its makeover with the following:
- it offered possible victims of
identity theft membership of a credit monitoring service at no charge for one year, and
provided them with free reports from the big three credit bureaus.
actual victims of identity theft, it offered its expertise to help
correct the problem.
- The company also gave a $1 million, four-year grant to the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit group in San Diego.
- ChoicePoint then overhauled its security measures, a move that began
with the filling of the
new position of chief privacy officer.
- it stopped dealing with private investigators
- it set up a centralized credentialing department (separate from sales)
- It also performs random audits of its customers, to ensure that they
are conducting searches appropriate for their type of business, and it
uses its computer systems to monitor accounts for suspicious activity.
- ChoicePoint has endured roughly 100 outside audits, most of them conducted by long-term corporate customers
- ChoicePoint also set up a Web site for consumers who, at no cost, want
to check and challenge possible inaccuracies in their dossiers