I'm having a tough time keeping up with all the commentary related to privacy that has accompanied the ChoicePoint and Bank of America incidents. I may just post pointers and snippets until I clear up the backlog:
Can We Get Some Privacy, Please? :: Internet World:
"...But wait a second - just what is a 'data broker,' anyway? It's a company that makes money by compiling, storing and selling information about you and me - which carries with it some grave responsibilities. I have to admit that the whole industry makes me a little uncomfortable. Sure, companies like ChoicePoint and Westlaw may find our 'personal information' in a quasi-legitimate manner, but when that data is stolen, already pre-wrapped in nice convenient little data packets, it is potentially very dangerous. The work is already done for the identity thief, and leaks the size of the ChoicePoint breach have the potential to efficiently fuel a seedy industry of 'identity brokers.' Some Oregon politico called the incident the 'Exxon Valdez of privacy,' which I thought was apropos. The problem is, we've had other oil spills, and you can bet that we'll see more data leaks - and they're just as difficult to clean up.
One final thought: Although new laws are obviously necessary, making things TOO difficult for private data aggregators may not be the answer, because then the burden of maintaining and protecting personal information might logically be placed on THE GOVERNMENT, and that's a road I'd rather not go down...."