A privacy invasion into your personal information can result in great financial loss or even death. The worse case scenario happened to Amy Boyer who was killed by a stalker who bought private information about her in order to track her down and shoot her in cold blood outside her workplace.
Amy Boyer was a 21 year-old college student working part-time as a dental assistant in downtown Nashua. Amy was shot nine times in the head as she left work on Oct. 15, 1999, by a stalker who bought Amy’s Social Security number and work address on the Internet from an “information broker” named Docusearch.
As indicated in the op-ed below, Choicepoint sold her private information to a broker who then sold it to the stalker.
I served as a privacy attorney with the Federal Trade Commission where we did the best we could to track down the bad guys, but we were – and the FTC still is – way underfunded to make a big bite into the problem (consumer protection as a whole is underfunded at the Fed level, but that’s another topic for another time). One of the co-authors of this article was an expert consultant on some of my cases and has testified before the House and Senate on privacy and identity theft issues on several occassions.
His article properly lambastes Choicepoint (you’ve read about their privacy problems in the news) and other information brokers who sold the information that led to this woman’s death.
The Senate is holding hearings and I believe considering legislation to tighten privacy laws. I urge you to contact your Senator and ask them to enact legislation with teeth and to make sure the FTC is properly funded to utilize the tools provided in the legislation