Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. Our show is special because we make it our priority to go where the silence is. We put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2015. Pretty exciting, right? Please do your part today. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2015.

Your Donation: $
Wednesday, May 7, 2003 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Criticizes President...
2003-05-07

U.S. Is Buying Data On Foreign Citizens–and ChoicePoint Is Selling It

DONATE →
This is viewer supported news

Governments across Latin America have launched investigations after it has been revealed that a US company is obtaining personal information on millions of citizens in the region and selling it to the Bush administration.

The London Guardian reports that documents show the company, ChoicePoint, received well over $10 million last year in return for the information. The information includes Mexico’s entire list of voters, including dates of birth and passport numbers, as well as Colombia’s citizen identification database.

ChoicePoint’s advertisements for the Justice Department promised, for example, to deliver a "national registry file of all adult Colombians, including date and place of birth, gender, parentage, physical description, marital status, passport number, and registered profession".

But it is illegal under Colombian law for government agencies to disclose this information, unless it is in response to a request for data on a named individual.

Our listeners and viewers may remember ChoicePoint from the contested 2000 election. The state of Florida hired a subsidiary of ChoicePoint, Database Technologies, to remove convicted felons from the state’s voter registration lists. BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast revealed the company disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters, most of whom were poor, and black. Thousands of people were scrubbed from the voter roles simply because their names resembled the names of felons.

  • Robert Ellis Smith, publisher of Privacy Journal. He is also a journalist and author of several books on privacy issues including War Stories: Accounts of Persons Victimized by Invasions of Privacy.

Related link:


Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.