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Reply #143: LexisNexis had breach too, like Choicept last year: commonality - Asher [View All]

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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-26-06 03:24 AM
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143. LexisNexis had breach too, like Choicept last year: commonality - Asher
Edited on Sun Feb-26-06 04:11 AM by Emit
Troubled firms linked by history

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/11/05
Breaches at rival information brokers that compromised personal records on thousands of consumers have something in common: a Florida businessman who founded two units involved in the companies' troubles.

LexisNexis announced Wednesday that personal records on 32,000 consumers may have been compromised. Alpharetta-based ChoicePoint caused an even bigger stir last month over news that identity thieves may have viewed its sensitive information on 145,000 people.

The link between the two giant data brokers is Hank Asher, an entrepreneur who founded businesses that became part of each company and that used apparently similar technology marketed to similar customers.

Asher founded DBT Online, which was sold to ChoicePoint in 2000 and is now is part of an embattled unit dealing with fallout from the breach made public in February.

More info on Asher -- shady background:

TALLAHASSEE - In an attempt to identify potential terrorists, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is using the services of a former drug smuggler turned millionaire ... Hank Asher


He also has become a close friend to former FDLE director James T. "Tim" Moore.


Asher was listed as a witness in drug trials from Gainesville to Chicago, and once was represented by famed attorney F. Lee Bailey. Documents filed by prosecutors in Chicago said Asher was a pilot and former smuggler who lived on Great Harbour near Cistern Cay, a small island airport once used by smugglers. After severing ties with DBT Online, Asher created other companies and grew even closer to law enforcement officials.

In 1999, he merged two companies into Seisint Inc. The new company supplies Accurint, a database that provides detailed information on individuals. Seisint also supplies specialized information to law enforcement agencies around the country. FDLE began doing business with Asher's first company in 1993. It is clear from 1993 records that FDLE officials knew they were dealing with a drug smuggler. Some officers questioned whether Asher's company could be trusted. No additional background check was conducted in 2001, when the relationship grew closer.

Seisint now has two contracts with the state government, both awarded without competitive bidding. ...One of them, completed Friday by FDLE, will pay Seisint $1.6-million to help create an antiterrorism network. The other is with the state Department of Management Services, the agency that supplies administrative services for state government.


Paul Cameron, president of Seisint, said he was impressed with Asher. Cameron, a former officer with Accenture, the accounting firm, joined Seisint three years ago and said he was unaware of Asher's past brush with the law.


Questions about Asher and his relationship to Moore and others at FDLE are being raised as Bush and members of the Cabinet interview applicants to replace Moore, who has had the job since 1987. ...Daryl McLaughlin, interim director at FDLE and a finalist to succeed Moore, said Asher has not charged FDLE for many of his services and has allowed them to demonstrate it to other states and even Vice President Dick Cheney.

Edited to add that Acxiom had a security breach, too (unrealted to the two noted above):

Chris Hoofnagle, associate director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, noted another consumer-data company, Acxiom suffered a security breach as well. That occurred in 2003. (Research),+suffered+a+security+breach+as+well.+That+occurred+in+2003.&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

And, and interesting study as to these data mining co.s' accuracy:

Executive Summary

This study examined the quality of data provided by ChoicePoint and Acxiom, two of the largest consumer data brokers in the United States, as well as their responsiveness to consumer requests and found significant areas of concern in both areas.

100% of the reports given out by ChoicePoint had at least one error in them. Error rates for basic biographical data (including information people had to submit in order to receive their reports) fared almost as badly: Acxiom had an error rate of 67% and ChoicePoint had an error rate of 73%. In other words, the majority of participants had at least one such significant error in their reported biographical data from each data broker.
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