ChoicePoint Curtails Sensitive Data Brokering Amid SEC Probe

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Beleaguered data provider ChoicePoint Inc. said Friday that it will curtail its sale of sensitive consumer data just one day after two federal bills were introduced that would regulate information brokers.

The company also acknowledged that it is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding recent executive stock sales.

"We've decided to discontinue the sale of any information that doesn't provide a specific consumer benefit such as getting a mortgage or a car loan or that doesn't support federal, state or local government and criminal justice purposes," ChoicePoint spokeswoman Kristen McCaughan said.

The company considers sensitive information to include Social Security and driver's license numbers. ChoicePoint also will continue to support employment and tenant screening and provide authentication and fraud prevention tools to large, accredited corporate customers. The firm's ChoicePoint Precision Marketing division will remain intact.

ChoicePoint, Alpharetta, GA, said it expected its exit from certain data sales to reduce core revenue this year by $15 million to $20 million.

In a March 4 filing with the SEC, ChoicePoint acknowledged the investigation and its intention to cooperate.

The companion bills introduced in the Senate and House on March 3 would create new fair information practices and require information brokers to provide consumers with individual access to personally identifiable information and the right to correct information.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, introduced the Information Protection and Security Act, which also would require the Federal Trade Commission to devise and enforce rules for data brokers regarding security and customer screening. Rep. Edward Markey, D-MA, introduced the legislation in the House. If the legislation is enacted, the FTC would be required to issue the new rules in six months.

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