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Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Why Choicepoint Resonates

Adam Shostack has written an interesting story on his Emergent Chaos website examining why the Choicepoint story refuses to die, and what the implications are for privacy and its coverage in the media. He also considers the impact of…

  • March 13, 2005

Adam Shostack has written an interesting story on his Emergent Chaos website examining why the Choicepoint story refuses to die, and what the implications are for privacy and its coverage in the media. He also considers the impact of the CEO’s aleged stock sale just prior to the news breaking.



The apparent insider trading aspect of the story isn’t the only bit of corporate arrogance here. There’s the partial disclosures, the claims that this only hurt Californians. There’s the claim that this hadn’t happened before. There’s the claim that Choicepoint is a victim, too. All of this arrogance combines to make a great many people want to throw bricks.



Then there are issues of fairness. Americans love thinking we have an unfair advantage, but we hate being on the flip side of that. And we were all treated to the experience of being on the waiting list. Why are Californians special here? Was I one of the 110,000? Our attorneys general had to rip into Choicepoint for us to find out. And those who did find out now face “a lifetime of vigilance” because of Choicepoint. “Who? Choicepoint.” There’s a deep irony in that no one had ever heard of Choicepoint before this, and that irony drives the story. Choicepoint had lots of privacy, while invading yours. This fundamental unfairness prompts lots of people to sputtering anger.

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