Third-Party Data Sales: Pay the Source.

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.

One thought on “Third-Party Data Sales: Pay the Source.

  1. Your post made me think of a book I heard about years ago but haven’t yet read, The Right to Privacy by Caroline Kennedy and Ellen Alderman. (Although your post isn’t about privacy, but information ownership.)

    It bothered me when it was decided that corporations could own genetic information about people. Each person’s DNA is, after all, unique, and if anyone makes a profit off that uniqueness, it should be the individual who’s born with it.

    Thanks for making me think.

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