By Associated Press
September 21, 2006
ATLANTA -- Nearly eight months after regulators trumpeted a settlement
with ChoicePoint Inc. over a data breach, the government has not paid
any money to victims from a $5 million fund that was to be set up as
part of the agreement.
The Federal Trade Commission also has not yet implemented procedures for
how the 800 fraud victims it has identified so far can be compensated
from the fund, nor has it hired anyone to administer it , said FTC
spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell.
``That's under review," Farrell said Tuesday. Responding to an open
records request by the Associated Press, Farrell said the commission is
trying to develop a plan to distribute the money efficiently.
Jessica Rich, assistant director of the FTC's division of privacy and
identity theft, said in a statement yesterday that ``law enforcement is
still identifying victims, and we want to make sure we have the right
The disclosure about the money not yet being distributed comes as the
president's identity theft task force adopted recommendations on
addressing the problem of identity theft. The interim recommendations,
released Tuesday and highlighted in an FTC news release, included
extending restitution for victims of identity theft and helping victims
get easier access to police reports about the misuse of their personal
Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a member
of the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee who has
authored legislation to protect consumers' personal information, said
the FTC isn't moving fast enough.
Markey said the ``victims should immediately receive the compensation
they urgently need to protect themselves from exploitation by identity
thieves." He added, ``Further delay is unacceptable."
ChoicePoint spokesman Matt Furman said yesterday, ``Our goal has always
been to respond to consumers, in whatever state they may live." He
added, ``We have full faith that the FTC is working hard to come up with
a process to ensure that the money we contributed to help consumers is
wisely spent for the benefit of anyone actually affected."
ChoicePoint, which collects, sells access to and analyzes information on
consumers, agreed Jan. 26 to pay the FTC $15 million to settle claims
that its procedures for security and record handling violated consumers'
privacy rights when thieves infiltrated the company's massive database.
Farrell said she assumes the 800 victims the agency identified would be
eligible for payments .
The settlement also permitted the FTC to use money from the fund to pay
any expenses from administering the fund. Farrell said no expenses have
Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.
Visit the InfoSec News store!