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Monday, May 11, 2009

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Van Sales

I visited this blog first time and found it very interesting and informative.. Keep up the good work thanks..

Anonymous

"This is one reason why I prefer opt-in."

You did opt-in. Anytime you fill out a survey, post information on your facebook account, scan your grocery store rewards card etc... you are opting in.

George

Dear Anonymous:

It's far more complicated than what you claim. Read the Behavioral Advertising section of this blog. Much was done by ISPs without any consumer notification and without opt-out mechanisms. Hence the class-action lawsuits. I never opted-in with Acxiom, but it has my data, thanks to a web site's privacy and terms policies that never honestly and fully disclosed exactly what they were doing and who they were sharing my data with. So, part of the problem is lack of transparency (open, honest, direct communication by company web sites).

Going with an "opt-in approach" places the burden on the company web site to convince me, the consumer, why I should opt-in to their program.

And next time you comment, I hope that you'll share who you are.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Rich

Here is something that might put your mind at ease... I was at a tradeshow in 2003 or 2004 where Acxiom presented some information on database technology. I don't remember any of the information about databases - what I do remember is how they pulled the greatest service in US history that VERY FEW PEOPLE know about...

Two days after the 9/11 attacks in New York, the US Government was pouring over information trying to figure out who were the terrorists. As the story goes (as told by a representative of Acxiom), the US government had information on these terrorists. The problem was some of that information was in the INS database, the FBI database, the CIA database, the dept of justice database, and a variety of other government databases. The challenge was (as with the rescue effort), it was hard to coordinate inter-government groups. None of the databases were shared meaning INS could not compare their data to the FBI's and vice versa. The other challenge is the data itself - if a person uses a slightly different spelling of their name, aliases, uses an extra surname, reverses the order of their names, most databases can not reconcile for that issue.

Acxiom stepped in and offered to help (no charge if that is important to you). Using financial data that they had, they were able to construct the names and aliases of each, where they lived, their bank accounts, and most importantly--- every person they lived with at multiple residences over the period of two years. Acxiom not only identified the attackers but they also were able to hand over a list of over 250 collegues to the US Govt.

On Sep 14, 2001, the FBI listed the terrorists. Acxiom went on to teach the Govt how to integrate their databases and share information amongst each other.

Today, Acxiom (for fee) helps the US Govt with many types of inquiries. For example, when the Mississippi River floods in the midwest, Acxiom can assist FEMA with estimating just about anything - many people will be displaced at certain parts of the river, what businesses will likely suffer, estimate rebuilding loans for business or residential, how many children will need to move to different schools in every age catalogy (elementary, Jr high, and high), what the average income is per household, etc.

So while I might share some of your animosity about data sharing, I sure am glad that they are times where companies can be altrustic for the good of everyone.

Franklin Brooks

Well I have found that Acxiom is giving out very outdated information on people. I applied for a job with WAWA in PA and was not given the job due to information that Acxiom found out about me. It was a criminal record that was 11 years old and had been expunged. For this information I was not given the chance to interview for this job. To me if they collect then they damn well better be able to keep it current. They NEVER clean out their data bases unless you ask them to, but then it's too late.

George

Franklin:

Thanks for sharing your experience. Sorry to hear about the problems erroneous data has caused you. If you have the time, energy, and money you might:

1) Read Acxiom's Privacy Policy for tips about what to do to correct erroneous data. I don't know where you live so you will have to select the policy that applies from the list here: http://www.acxiom.com/about_us/privacy/Pages/Privacy.aspx

2) If you live in the USA, then this policy and the opt-out links on this page may help:
http://www.acxiom.com/about_us/privacy/consumer_information/consumer_choices/Pages/ConsumerChoices.aspx

3) If you live in the USA, this page has instructions about how to correct erroneous data: http://www.acxiom.com/ABOUT_US/US-REFERENCE-INFORMATION-REPORT/Pages/USReferenceInformation.aspx

I have not dealt with Acxiom so I cannot state how long this will take, how effective the company is at making changes, or how quick the company responds to inquiries like yours.

4) You might contact your U.S. Congressional reps and ask for help. Your rep in the House of Representatives is often a good first stop. They often have staff members assigned to various topics to help their constituents.

5) If all else fails, hire an attorney or credit resolution service to help you.

If I find other options, I will post them here and on this blog. Good luck and let us know what happens.

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

Franklin

George,

Thank you very much for the information, I have hired an attorney to see what will happen. They did correct the error but they rely on you to tell them, the worse thing is that the first report was sent to the employer and they just sent out a revised amended copy with it removed. It nice for future checks but still if you think about it would you hire me if you read the first report.

That is why I hired a lawyer and I will keep this site updated on what happens with it. We all need to get together and fight this some how or some way so it does not happen to others as I am sure it is as I write this.

The Company is a snake and the companies that use them are just as bad, they know Acxiom will find dirt on almost anyone.

Thanks again.

Drama

Acxiom obtained confidential (non-conviction) arrest records from the state of Washington and is disseminating them; If you get a background check done through them and there is a problem with the criminal history; note that the document is a consumer report, they are a credit reporting agency and thus they are bound by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I'm talking with the Washington State ACLU about this now to see what can be done. Below are a couple great resources to follow during the dispute process

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/legal/FCRA2003.shtml

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/repair/Repair.shtml

George

Drama:

Thanks for the info and links. Acxiom is a credit reporting agency? I thought that it was a data broker or data aggregator. Are you sure? What led you to this conclusion?

George
Editor
http://ivebeenmugged.typepad.com

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