Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. 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 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

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

StoryMay 07, 2003
Watch iconWatch Full Show

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:


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.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation