Article 43


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Equifax Snooping

The chief issue of Internet surfing privacy is choice and awareness. In today’s competitive world, collection of consumer data helps companies survive and thrive. But the question is the MANNER in which such information is collected.
- CLEAR LEAD Search Engine

When I learned of AT&T’S LOST PERSONAL DATA ON CURRENT AND FORMER EMPLOYEES, I though there’d be some comfort in signing up with EQUIFAX’S CREDIT WATCH GOLD program.

I was wrong.

The entire sign up process may have been tracked and/or data mined by any number of undisclosed, unknown, unscrupulous places; listed privacy policies may fall short of offering assurances of protection and non-disclosure; and opting-out of third party exchanges may not be possible.


After entering oodles of personal info on the new account signup page, checking the third-party opt-out option (which wasn’t checked by default,) then hitting the submit button to process the order - intruder alerts on my workstation went wild.



Encrypted streams tried to start up with QKSRV DOT NET and BKVTRACK DOT COM - What business of theirs is it to snoop on people signing up for a credit card watch? Oh, never mind, I think I see. The right column on the web page is empty from blocked third party data. Perfect size for advertisements, or way to SNEAK A DOWNLOAD on an unsuspecting PC user.

Dozens of IPs with no RDNS begged to chat back and forth with my PC, while I shook my head in disbelief, watching the firewall report pages of blocked connection attempts.

I searched the site for OPT-OUT. The search was redirected via an embedded hidden link (eg IFRAME) to ATOMZ, whose site may also contain web bugs, hidden links, redirects, etc.

ATOMZ may contain links to other sites. Atomz is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Web sites.

This experience suggests to me Equifax policy lets them exchange personal info - with or without customer assent - with their (possibly undisclosed) “affiliates”, regardless of the customers’ third party opt-out wishes, with nothing stopping those third parties from selling or giving that info away at the nearest street corner.

To Whom We May Disclose The Information We Collect

We may disclose any information collected from you or about you through the web sites to which this Privacy Policy applies as required by law or legal process.

We take reasonable precautions to be sure that nonaffiliated third parties and affiliates, to whom we disclose personally identifiable information or business organization identifiable information, as described below, are aware of our privacy policy and fair information principles and will treat the information in a similarly responsible manner. Our contracts and written agreement with nonaffiliated third parties that receive information from us about you as an individual, who has not opted out of this disclosure, prevent further transfer of the information.

When personally identifiable information or business identifiable information is collected when you register at an Equifax web site other than those covered by this privacy policy, the information will be disclosed, if at all, pursuant to the privacy policy for that web site.

Equifax is not, however, responsible for the privacy practices or content of link sites listed on our web pages. The owners of these pages are responsible for them.

Non-Equifax Sites

EQUIFAX makes no representations, warranties or endorsements with respect to any web site, which may be accessed, from this Web Site. When you access a non-EQUIFAX web site, please understand that Equifax has no control over the content or information at that site. It is your responsibility to protect your system from such items as viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other items of a destructive nature.

WE’RE TALKING ABOUT A COMPANY that has lots of personal, private, and financial info on 300 million people, exchanging it with “affiliates” like Doubleclick and it’s ILK.

The IDEA of a credit bureau sharing personal information with third parties whose privacy policies allow them to do practically anything with it is alarming.


Posted by Elvis on 09/04/07 •
Section Privacy And Rights
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