Has ChoicePoint Turned The Corner?

from the fool-me-once... dept

When we recently had a post that talked about someone being accidentally arrested due to a mistake in ChoicePoint's database, an anonymous employee of ChoicePoint showed up in the comments to defend the company and claim that they had made big changes (s/he also noted that s/he was a recent employee of the company). That same ChoicePoint employee has submitted a story from the NY Times about how the company has changed since its name became synonymous with giving your personal data to identity thieves and having pretty bad quality control on the data they have about you anyway. The article is interesting from a few different angles. First, and perhaps most importantly, the company does seem to have realized that it had a pretty serious problem on its hands. Rather than stonewalling and pretending nothing was wrong (like many, many companies would), it did agree to confront the problems head on -- specifically trying to start a conversation with its harshest critics to ask them what they should do to fix things. This, actually, is a very smart and very commendable move that many other organizations (Diebold, anyone? the RIAA?) could learn an awful lot from. It serves multiple purposes: it takes the criticisms seriously and then (if the company follows through) gets its largest critics to admit that the company was making changes. Of course, it's that second part that is the more important part.

While ChoicePoint has convinced many of its critics that it's improved, some are still skeptical -- and, of course, the company talked about how secure its systems were a few years back before everyone found out they weren't. It's good to hear that the company has taken the criticism and problems seriously -- but that doesn't mean everyone just rolls over and assumes they've fixed all the problems. The article doesn't do much to address the issue of incorrect data (which the very same paper, the NY Times, showed was still a big problem for ChoicePoint less than a month ago). Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle blasted ChoicePoint for appointing former in-house counsel to the newly appointed position of "customer advocate," rather than actually hiring someone who, say, had some experience in consumer affairs (and also for having her role be in the marketing department, rather than reporting directly to the CEO). So, yes, it's great to see the company accept that it's made a lot of mistakes and clearly they're trying to fix them, but there are still plenty of issues to be addressed.
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  • identicon
    ~rick, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Confidential Info Concerns

    There is a real need for concern when it comes to the collection of personal information. Regardless of the claims, the bad news is only an issue when it hits the press. ..No confidence vote here..~rick

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Long, 13 Nov 2006 @ 1:48pm

    Assumption

    "specifically trying to start a conversation with its harshest critics to ask them what they should do to fix things"

    I wish them luck, but this assumes that most of its harshest critics know how to do anything more than just criticize.

    It's all to easy to cry, "I don't like it." But it's much harder to come up with workable solutions that addresses the needs of everyone involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 13 Nov 2006 @ 3:39pm

    Allocation of risk

    What ChoicePoint should do is simple: declare that they will fully and generously compensate any person harmed by inaccurate information or misuse of information flowing from ChoicePoint.

    If the business is not sufficiently profitable to pay for the collateral damage it causes then it should not be in business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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