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 No one went to jail when our story was a bit out of date.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
    CP Employee, 30 Oct 2006 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Did He Sue Choicepoint

    Close down the company and put over 4000 people out of work because of an admittedly large mistake? Heck, even call it a series of mistakes. Does that still mean that a greater number of people should lose their jobs than were actually affected by the mistake?

    Should we shut down AOL because they released search information that allowed individuals to be identified and tracked down? Since how long ago something happened is irrelevant, should we shut down McNeil Pharmaceuticals because they didn't have good enough security in place to prevent someone from adding Cyanide to Tylenol resulting in consumer deaths? Since you seem determined to shut down a company when one person's life is "destroyed", how about every company who unjustly or illegally fires an employee. How about every company that fails to protect it's employees from harassment? The list of examples is near infinite.

    You say that Mr. Calderon's life was destroyed, but when did that actually occur? In searching for additional information to see something other than "spent a week in jail", I found this article at eWeek: Garbage In, Garbage Out of Control

    According to that one, the week in jail was back in January of 2002. Now we're talking about an incident over four and a half years ago. At what point do we stop just blindly accepting what is posted on the 'Net as fact and actually doing some research? In my searching, I never did see any follow-up on Mr. Calderon. What happened after the week in jail? Is he currently employed? Did he sue CP? Like I said before - how about a little follow-up?

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
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

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.