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 No one went to jail when our story was a bit out of date.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
    CP Employee, 30 Oct 2006 @ 10:45am

    Since I'm in the update...

    Before I get mis-quoted some more let me state some points here:

    - I was not an employee of CP prior to the admission of the data breach
    - I am not an official representative for the company
    - I AM a little dismayed to see people focus on the past rather than the present, but understand that this is a sensitive area
    - I comment when I see statements or comments that imply to me that someone has not thought the issue through and is only reacting to part of the story
    - Am willing to take whatever flaming I will get as a result of my employment as long as people are willing to accept that there are always multiple sides to a story - something I see forgotten a lot when dealing with sensitive issues

    All that being said, I feel that CP has come a long way since early 2005. For those asking about the details of the FTC order, check the FTC site. I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about the details or not, so I err on the side of job preservation... :-)

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