Skip navigation
green padlock icon.jpg Alamy

Pivotal Moments In Data Privacy History

In the last 18 years, the internet has evolved at warp speed to keep up with busier lives and a craving for mobility, while also trading access for privacy.

As more and more life changing technology advancements arise, the continued blurring of lines have made American and tech culture synonymous. The cloud, e-commerce, GPS connectivity, remote access, smartphones, and everything in between have changed how we interact with each other and our world for the better (arguably) forever. All companies in every industry collect data in 2022, but how do they “use it”? Consumers expect a product or service in exchange for their personal data, while businesses learned to build trust to exploit opportunity. Surely every business would hold privacy over profit, right? Well, jump in your DeLorean, we’re going back to the future.

Historically, finding privacy balance for companies has been key to longevity but not always a priority. Data privacy and protecting consumers is everything, along with even bothering to create (go figure) and even knowing what your policy protects is better. This isn’t the most mind-blowing concept, but you’d be surprised at how often companies and their common sense took a back seat to the Almighty Dollar.

ChoicePoint Data Breach (2004-2005)

The first stop in our remade DeLorean is the ChoicePoint Data Breach in early 2005. The data aggregator firm, known for combining information from public and private databases, takes this data and then sells it to private sector firms and government agencies. However, in February 2005, a group of L.A. County fraudsters and their 50 fake businesses were able to dupe ChoicePoint into selling personal consumer information that compromised the lives of 163,000 people. California SB-1386 is a law that requires the disclosure of any data breach to be publicly reported by the company at fault. Security Freeze law discussions and a tarnished image arose along with a $15M penalty for ChoicePoint, which would set a precedent for privacy.

FTC Mails Refund Forms to ChoicePoint Data Breach Victims

Early in 2005, ChoicePoint reported it had handed over consumers' names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and credit reports to fraudsters working out of Los Angeles County.

Continue reading this article on InformationWeek

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.