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The value of personal information
Posted on 4-Feb-2004 17:26 | Filed under: News

The value of personal information
Slashdot have an interesting thread about privacy and the business of selling personal information. Sources of private data can be any government agency, utility company, or finance institution.

The article cites the SWIPE Toolkit, a collection of web-based tools that sheds light on personal data collection and usage practices in the United States. The tools demonstrate the value of personal information on the open market and enable people to access information encoded on a driver's license or stored in some of the many commercial data warehouses.

Data warehouses are businesses that consolidate data from various sources and resell it to third parties. Data warehouse sources often include, but are not limited to, the following: public records (such as birth, marriage, and death records; voter registration; court files; arrest records; property ownership and tax information; driver's license information; occupational licenses; Securities and Exchange Commission filings; and Census data), media information, merchant records, credit reports, change of address service information, phone records, student surveys, and private investigation records.

An interesting part of this is the Data Calculator, which allows you to determine what your data bits are worth on the open market so you can request proper compensation when it is asked from you . For instance, a typical mobile phone company will ask for your address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number and driver's license to open a new account. Consult the data calculator and that will be US$13.75!

According to their web site a Windows Mobile Pocket PC version is on the way .


More information: http://www.we-swipe.us/about.html...
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