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The Times and USA Today have Missed the Bigger Story -- Again
By Greg Palast
This is: the snooping into your phone bill is just the snout of the pig of a strange, lucrative link-up between the Administration's Homeland Security spy network and private companies operating beyond the reach of the laws meant to protect us from our government. You can call it the privatization of the FBI -- though it is better described as the creation of a private KGB.
The leader in the field of what is called "data mining," is a company, formed in 1997, called, "ChoicePoint, Inc," which has sucked up over a billion dollars in national security contracts.
Who ARE these guys selling George Bush a piece of you?
ChoicePoint's board has more Republicans than a Palm Beach country club. It was funded, and its board stocked, by such Republican sugar daddies as billionaires Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone -- even after Langone was charged by the Securities Exchange Commission with abuse of inside information.
And now ChoicePoint and George Bush want your blood. Forget your phone bill. ChoicePoint, a sickened executive of the company told us in confidence, "hope[s] to build a database of DNA samples from every person in the United States ...linked to all the other information held by CP [ChoicePoint]" from medical to voting records.
And ChoicePoint lied about that too. The company publicly denied they gave DNA to the Feds -- but then told our investigator, pretending to seek work, that ChoicePoint was "the number one" provider of DNA info to the FBI.
"And that scares the hell out of me," said the executive (who has since left the company), because ChoicePoint gets it WRONG so often. We are not contracting out our Homeland Security to James Bond here. It's more like Austin Powers, Inc. Besides the 97% error rate in finding Florida "felons," Illinois State Police fired the company after discovering ChoicePoint had produced test "results" on rape case evidence ... that didn't exist. And ChoicePoint just got hit with the largest fine in Federal Trade Commission history for letting identity thieves purchase 145,000 credit card records.
But it won't stop, despite Republican senators shedding big crocodile tears about "surveillance" of innocent Americans. That's because FEAR is a lucrative business -- not just for ChoicePoint, but for firms such as, Syntech,Sybase and Lockheed-Martin -- each of which has provided lucrative posts or profits to connected Republicans including former Total Information Awareness chief John Poindexter (Syntech), Marvin Bush (Sybase) and Lynn Cheney (Lockheed-Martin).
ChoicePoint: More ID theft warnings
ID company says criminals able to obtain almost 140,000 names, addresses and other information.
February 17, 2005: 1:10 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - ChoicePoint Inc., a national provider of identification and credential verification services, says it will send an additional 110,000 statements to people informing them of possible identity theft after a group of well-organized criminals was able to obtain personal information on almost 140,000 consumers through the company.
ChoicePoint CEO grilled by Congress
Data broker backs some new regulations, Smith says
Members of Congress grilled ChoicePoint CEO Derek Smith on Tuesday, demanding the company do more to protect customers in the wake of the massive information leak at the database giant.
"The incident has caused us to go through some serious soul searching," Smith said, testifying at a hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
ChoicePoint revealed last month that thieves had accessed the personal information of 145,000 U.S. consumers from the firm
ChoicePoint settles FTC charges, pays $15 million
The FTC said in a statement Thursday that ChoicePoint has agreed to pay $10 million in civil penalties and $5 million in consumer redress to settle charges that its security and record-handling procedures violated consumers' privacy rights and federal laws. The settlement requires that ChoicePoint implement new procedures to ensure it provides consumer reports only to legitimate businesses for lawful purposes, to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program; and to obtain audits by an independent third-party security professional every other year until 2026, the FTC said.
ChoicePoint Settles Data Security Breach Charges; to Pay $10 Million in Civil Penalties, $5 Million for Consumer Redress
At Least 800 Cases of Identity Theft Arose From Company’s Data Breach
“The message to ChoicePoint and others should be clear: Consumers’ private data must be protected from thieves,” said Deborah Platt Majoras, Chairman of the FTC. “Data security is critical to consumers, and protecting it is a priority for the FTC, as it should be to every business in America.”
ChoicePoint is a publicly traded company based in suburban Atlanta. It obtains and sells to more than 50,000 businesses the personal information of consumers, including their names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, employment information, and credit histories.
Choicepoint Inc. Company Profile CPS United States Market Size
Choicepoint Inc.. The Group's principal activity is to provide identification and credential verification services for making smarter decisions. It operates through four segments: Insurance services include information products and services used in the underwriting and claim processes by property and casualty insurers. Business services include employment background screenings, drug testing administration services, public filing searches, vital record services and mortgage fraud credentialing services. Government services include DNA identification services, background screenings, drug testing administration services and data visualization. Marketing Services include data, analytics, teleservices, database and campaign management services. On 04-Jan-2005, it acquired i2 Limited, Magnify Inc. in April 2005 and EzGov, Inc. in May 2005.
Form 10-Q for CHOICEPOINT INC. Quarterly Report
In the first quarter of 2006, total revenue increased 4% over the first quarter of 2005 driven by continued strong growth in the Insurance Services segment offsetting weaker performances primarily in the Government Services and Marketing Services segments. Total revenue increased 4% in the first quarter of 2005 over the first quarter of 2004. First quarter consolidated internal revenue, which represents core revenue less incremental revenue from acquisitions, increased 3.2% for 2006 over 2005 (excluding $2.3 million of incremental acquisition revenue) and increased 7.1% for the first quarter of 2005 compared to 2004 (excluding incremental acquisition revenue of $33.8 million in 2005)