Tuesday, October 18, 2005
A growing number of data aggregators - otherwise known as data brokers - collect data on citizens' identifying information and sell it for profit. The buyers are law enforcement agencies. The practice of selling data gained interest when ChoicePoint acknowledged that crooks had duped the company out of personal information of nearly 145,000 people.
Data aggregators collect information from a multitude of public and private sources, and assemble dossiers on many, if not most Americans. Under the the federal Privacy Act citizens have the right to make sure data held by the government is correct. The information gleaned from commercial databases may not be covered by the act. Many data brokers admit that they collect everything.
David Newberger wrote in his blog that data will be the commodity of the future. Data may already be the commodity of the present.