Arrested Due To A Database Error

from the doesn't-sound-like-fun dept

Well, here's a story that combines a few different things we've seen lately, from police (and star basketball players) raiding the home of the wrong person due to a faulty IP address to the fact that all these big data mining companies often have wrong info about you, including incorrect criminal records. In this case, a guy who got a job as a security guard as a retailer ended up spending a week in jail after the company did a background check on him and data mining firm Choicepoint (whose name became well known when they sold info to a group of identity theft scammers) incorrectly found that there were arrest warrants out for this guy for child molestation and rape. The problem was that the guy had been a victim of identity theft earlier, and while he had reported it, Choicepoint didn't take that into account. It's somewhat amusing (if disturbing) that a firm that had sold data to identity thieves later was unable to fix the false data in someone's file that was due to identity theft. Still, at what point do people realize that a single piece of data from these unreliable sources just isn't enough to arrest someone? Update: A Choicepoint employee in the comments points out that this happened a few years ago, and that Choicepoint was fine over it. He then accuses us of making the same mistake as Choicepoint in not following up to get the latest details. Of course, there's a bit of difference. No one went to jail when our story was a bit out of date.

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  1. identicon
    Tack, 30 Oct 2006 @ 5:39am

    The lion's den

    Mr. CP Employee,

    The story of Daniel and the Lions Den only worked due to two things:
    1) He wasn't given a choice before being thrown into the den. (God doesn't intervene and save your rear if you're just trying to be a hero.)
    2) He didn't get eaten. (Otherwise, the story probably wouldn't be in the bible at the least.)

    Your problem sir is that - regardless of the age of this story - you have voluntarily jumped into the lion's den. Should you now be eaten alive, where should we send your old IP address?

    To be honest, I don't believe anything I read online anyway, and typically I give more weight to stories which themselves say "this story may be false and totally incorrect, but as we understand it..." so I myself would never trust your site, even if it had not had these issues. I mean, we're talking about a person's entire life. Did it ever occour to you that maybe this security guard got the job he has because he's trying to do something for the greater good after falling victim to Identity Theft himself? Did it occour to you that maybe that entire spirit of "I can't fix my problem, but I can keep others from having it!" might be the sole reason this man got a job as a security guard? Perhaps this person might have a terrible mental relapse of some kind now. I mean, if he hasn't sued you, he certainly should. Yes, I'm biased due to my own mother being a lawyer, and that may make them hate me or my mother (sorry, I don't work for her, so I can't match your line exactly) but I can tell you that it's a good thing she does corperate law and that this stuff didn't occour in Alabama 5 years ago, or else somebody in the state senate (likely on your company's payroll) would need to introduce some new lawsuit caps.

    Insult to injury? Nah, I think more like rubbing the insult in the poor man's face before injuring him then sticking the insult in the fresh wound.

    In any case, give Techdirt a year to follow up on the story. It took them a year to publish it, so give them a year to correct it. After all, nobody would expect your company to correct something in less than a year after you got it wrong, now would they?

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