Friday, August 29, 2008

"Because the computer said so."

In the last couple of posts I made reference to the Data-Based You graphic on this blog. This wasn't my invention but rather a friend and colleague, Mr. john Gardner, a trial lawyer and author from South Carolina. John has an uncanny ability to grasp the big picture often when a lot of us are struggling with the information in front of us.

In the Data-Based You John shows by way of a simple graphic that the world sees all of us as a series of reports and scores. No matter how we dress, change our hair color, try to distinguish ourselves in any number of ways, we are judged, thats' right judged by our data when we deal with the world at large.

  • Want a loan? Credit history.
  • Rent an apartment? Credit score.
  • Get on an airplane? TSA checks your drivers' license against federal watchlists and for warrants.
  • Open a new bank account or purchase a car? Credit reports, SSA, IRS. Your records are compared to those and other databases for inconsistancies.
  • Get some health insurance? MIB, doctor health records.
  • Home, income loss, medical, or auto insurance claims? C.L.U.E. MIB, etc.
  • Want a new job? How about the credit bureaus, your credit score, social networking sites, college records, criminal records, and more. You say you don't have a criminal record? Prove it.

    That's just a sketch. The reality is that no matter what we do our records are checked to verify and to validate what we say and claim to be. We all rely on the record keepers to not let the information they have fall into the wrong hands. Let someone get hold of your info and commit crimes. They give your identifying info to the police and your records are altered. If you think it is easy to correct that, I hope you're sitting down. Often it takes 5 to 10 years to correct criminal record mistakes, sometimes never. What does the victim do in the meantime? Getting or maintaining a good job is not going to be easy. There are literally thousands of cases where wrongful criminal activity is tied to completely innocent people who were victims of identity theft. When the computer says you're guilty try explaining that to authorities. You can't limit a discussion on identity theft to illegal credit card use and credit reports. When personal records are altered by identity theft it can actually require an act of Congress to correct them. Refer to the bottom of this blog page for the Data-Based You graphic.

    The Data-Based You shows us a window into how we are percieved, real or not.

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