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 No one went to jail when our story was a bit out of date.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Trouble Maker, 30 Oct 2006 @ 7:47am

    two cents worth

    If an arrest is culminated due to the information that is provided by a database and the information is incorrect, two actions should take place; first the Law Enforcement Agency that acted on the information without verification with another source is just as guilty as a company that maintains a database that contains incorrect data. Second; the company that maintains the data has to be held responsible for the information they maintain.

    It is a matter of libel. Just as the National Tabloids are accountable for the UN-truths that they perpetuate, and this holds true for you and I, so they must be held accountable for their actions.

    Imagine a Bank not being held responsible for the account database.

    Or your phone company, not being held responsible for their data bases and just charging customers whatever they feel like it.

    Yet, when a SPAM company in Illinois gets pissed off at a Spam Shield reporting company in the UK can be sued for the data in their database, then we have to hold everyone accountable.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.