Get paid for the mistakes you make….



It seems that some companies are fortunate enough to be able to make money even from their faults. The Monterey Herald details an account of a woman who was informed by Choicepoint that crooks had accessed some of her personal information. This was apparently due to a lapse in security at Choicepoint. They then offered to sell her access to her own information to see what might have been compromised.



At first I’m thinking this has got to be an oversight, but it goes on…

The companies offering these services say they provide real value, but victims of identity theft and consumer advocates complain that ChoicePoint, the major credit bureaus and others are reaping the benefits of their own lapses and, in some cases, recklessness. They say there’s little incentive for sellers of personal data to tighten security when they profit from people worrying they’ll be among the 10 million annual victims of identity theft.

Critics such as Gail Hillebrand of Consumers Union contend that the data brokers and banks fuel identity theft by marketing all manner of information and by offering easy credit without screening applicants to make sure they are who they say they are.

”It’s certainly wrong to be only selling protection for a problem you helped create without also working actively to solve that problem,” Hillebrand said.

I don’t see this as being much different ethically from companies that give a free trial to “show what nasty adware you have installed” and then say, we can remove it for $40… (Even if it’s just a cookie.) I wonder if the next step in advertising their new found services is to say, “Your personal data MAY have been compromised, identity theft is a growing problem, to find out what was compromised, please sign up for our yearly information review for a mere $150 a month, after all how much is your identity worth?” “(By the way, we just had a major security compromise which revealed much of this to con artists, sorry…)”

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