In case you haven’t heard, ChoicePoint, a personal information data aggregator, has had 145,000 records stolen from them: was your personal data among the records stolen? If so, be on the lookout for your identity to be used by criminals.
This should be proposed for federal legislation: Personal information of citizens is property owned by the source citizen. Data aggregators should be like wholesale distributors, simply tacking on a percentage profit in the event a sale is made. If they sell information about someone, that someone (the source of the data) gets paid a fee, the data aggregator is only allowed a percentage markup.
In a case such as this, where information was stolen, the people whose data was compromised should still get their fees; the data aggregator, in this case ChoicePoint, needs to experience the loss, a real accounting loss for their failure to keep sensitive records safe and secure. This is accomplished by them having to pay for data they disclosed without receiving payment themselves.
As ChoicePoint operates now, the only people inconvenienced are those who are going to experience identity theft. ChoicePoint must be laughing all the way to the bank.