Friday, May 20, 2005

Anecdotal study of data aggregator quality - Data Aggregators: A Study of Data Quality and Responsiveness

Results of a study conducted by PrivacyActivism show that data aggregators have significant problems with accuracy and responsiveness, potentially serious issues for an industry already under fire for massive security breaches.

100% of the eleven participants in the study discovered errors in background check reports provided by ChoicePoint. The majority of participants found errors in even the most basic biographical information: name, social security number, address and phone number (in 67% of Acxiom reports, 73% of ChoicePoint reports). Moreover, over 40% of participants did not receive their reports from Acxiom -- and the ones who did had to wait an average of three months from the time they requested their information until they received it.

To go along with my other post on data aggregator service efficacy, another set of nails in the coffin. Keep in mind that this is anecdotal. However there was at least another study that I can't find a reference for that found something like 80% of entries had errors.

Anyhow, more fuel to the fire from real-life experience with ChoicePoint data was the voter roll purging debacle:

The Department of State awarded a $4-million contract to Boca Raton-based Database Technologies Inc. (now ChoicePoint Inc.) to find improperly registered voters in the state's database. Database Technologies cross-checked voter lists with federal and state databases to find illegal voters by matching names, birth dates and other characteristics.

Mistakes were rampant.

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