Longtime privacy expert, activist, and policy wonk Robert Gellman has an insightful article in DMNews about ChoicePoint. Titled “Out of the Frying Pan,” the article looks at the train-wreck-in-slow-motion that the ChoicePoint story is becoming.
Instead of getting all the bad news out immediately, ChoicePoint let the story dribble out over days. The company changed its response more than once. Newspapers and national television news returned repeatedly to the story as developments prompted by ChoicePoint fumblings justified new coverage. The company even managed to turn a national story into a local one, compounding the damage even further.
The company previously did a great job promoting itself. It is amazing that it did so poorly in handling what has become a relatively ordinary privacy crisis. Any company with potential exposure should have a privacy crisis plan just in case. Any organization with personal data could be the target of the next horror story.
Overall, the story is an interesting analysis from a point of view that one doesn’t normally see. And remember, Gellman is writing for Direct Marketing News — the herald of the industry that thrives from the trade of personal information.