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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


In a CRMToday article, the headline screams: “Dirty Data is a Business Problem, Not an IT Problem.” They’re wrong. Ultimately it is a consumer problem because of the grief poor data quality can cause the individual when accessed for legitimate means. Like the credit bureaus when you need a credit card, or apply for a home or auto loan. Like the data brokers who supply private information to your potential employer. You are personally in the hands of an array of companies, whose focus is on profits, not keeping the data clean. As an example, a study by the privacy organization, Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found that 79% of 200 credit reports studied had errors. 54% had mistaken personal information, while 25% contained serious errors that could deny credit. The three major credit bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. But the data brokers didn’t fare much better. A report by Privacy Activism found errors in 67% of Acxiom background checks, 73% for ChoicePoint. So what’s the problem? Money. Money better invested in acquiring more data, and enhancing it for a maximum return in the market of selling names and personal data. Better security doesn’t produce better profits, in the eyes of the list industry. It will either take federal legislation, or maybe even an act of God to get the leaders of this country to realize that the control over sensitive data must be given to the individual.

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