[EAS] DIY Background Checks

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Mon Mar 8 16:20:59 EST 2004

Subject:   DIY Background Checks

(from NewsScan Daily, 8 March 2004)

      ChoicePoint is marketing a new product aimed at
security-conscious employers who want to make sure their new hires
are trouble-free. Stacked  between gallon jars of mayonnaise and
office furniture at Sam's Club, the ChoicePoint check-in-a-box
package urges shoppers to "make better hiring decisions" by
purchasing the $39.77 product, which contains a CD-ROM that allows
users to tap into ChoicePoint's online databases. The new marketing 
effort signals data vendors' shift toward small businesses, which
have lagged behind large corporations in conducting criminal
background checks when hiring. Privacy advocates warn that such
products put too much information at the fingertips of anyone with
$40 to spend, and argue that  ChoicePoint's requirement that users
have a business license provides  inadequate safeguard against the
product's abuse. "If Joe's Bait Shop... goes out and buys this thing
with a business license and then he wants to find out information
about a neighbor, then he would be able to essentially do that,"
says the head of the Georgia Association of Professional Private 
Investigators. (AP 8 Mar 2004)

EAS-INFO readers know that the trend toward ever more diverse access
to personal information has been commented on before, e.g.
<http://www.yale.edu/engineering/eng-info/msg00686.html> four years
ago. The links there still work, but the Forbes article is no longer
free.  --PJK

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