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Tuesday, February 22

Data on Americans stolen, nobody cares

It seems that the company responsible for the 2000 Florida Election purge is at the center of a brewing controversy.

Dec. 4, 2000 If Vice President Al Gore is wondering where his Florida votes went, rather than sift through a pile of chad, he might want to look at a "scrub list" of 173,000 names targeted to be knocked off the Florida voter registry by a division of the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. A close examination suggests thousands of voters may have lost their right to vote based on a flaw-ridden list that included purported "felons" provided by a private firm with tight Republican ties.

Early in the year, the company, ChoicePoint, gave Florida officials a list with the names of 8,000 ex-felons to "scrub" from their list of voters. But it turns out none on the list were guilty of felonies, only misdemeanors. The company acknowledged the error, and blamed it on the original source of the list -- the state of Texas.

Health and Energy
The mad rush to install unverifiable computer voting is driven by the Help America Vote Act, signed by Bush last year. The chief lobbying group pushing for HAVA was a consortium of arms dealers - those disinterested corporate citizens - including Northop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin. The bill also mandates that all states adopt the computerized "ineligible voter purge" system which Jeb used to eliminate 91,000 ***eligible*** black voters from the Florida rolls in 2000. The Republican-run private company that accomplished this electoral miracle, ChoicePoint, is bagging the lion's share of the new Bush-ordered purge contracts.

"Even though you might not have heard of ChoicePoint, they've heard of you. They are playing a role in your people's lives whether they know it or not," he said.
Privacy consultant Larry Ponemon, who operates the Ponemon Institute, said he was surprised criminals were able to pose as ChoicePoint clients.
"What really concerns me is when low-tech methods are used to gain access, than you really have problems," said. "Obviously this is very surprising, given that they are in the data business."


ChoicePoint, based in Alpharetta, Ga., is a spinoff of the credit-reporting giant Equifax. ChoicePoint maintains databases that hold 19 billion Social Security numbers, credit and medical histories, motor vehicle registrations, job applications, lawsuits, criminal files, professional licenses and other sensitive information.

ChoicePoint also owns a DNA analysis lab and facilitates drug testing for employers.

But ChoicePoint and other privately owned aggregators of personal information operate with virtually no federal oversight, and critics say the companies haven't done enough to safeguard their information databases.

FBI File:
Do I Have an FBI File? If you are an adult citizen of the United States, or if, after 1996, you have ever applied for credit, you have an FBI File. At that time the FBI spent millions with ChoicePoint Inc. to buy information on virtually all adults living in the United States with any credit or public record history. ChoicePoint, formerly a part of credit-reporting company Equifax, is a database compiler selling personal information for a profit. Using your Social Security number as the key identifier, ChoicePoint compiles dossiers on citizens from credit reports, and from public records such as court files, property tax documents, business incorporation filings, and professional license applications. ChoicePoint aggregates this up-to-date information and sells it to the FBI. Following below is a list of the other most common areas of collection:

All those ever arrested and booked into custody - a police record

Suspected organized crime members

Government employees

Immigrants who have become U. S. citizens

All those with Green Cards

Foreign nationals in the United States

Every person involved in counter-intelligence

Members of recognized 'hate groups'


Professionals fingerprinted for their profession, example: stock brokers; realtors

Close associates of the above listed categories of people.

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