Monday, 8 December 2003
Mexico threatens 3 with treason charges for data sale
The government of Mexico is threatening to charge three of its citizens with treason. They are executives of a company called Soluciones Mercadologicas en Bases de Datos, which sold a database private information on 65 million Mexican voters to ChoicePoint, an Atlanta-based database company. ChoicePoint bought the data at the behest of the U.S. government shortly after 11 Sept. 2001 to help bolster Uncle Sam's investigation of terrorism.
The database contained such private information as the number of cars owned in households and unlisted phone numbers. If nothing else, this episode highlights the incumbent dangers when a government — any government — collects massive amounts of data on its citizens without a compelling and clearly articulated purpose. What, for example, does voter registration have to do with the number of cars one owns?
The Macon Telegraph has the story: "Mexican company officials may face treason charges."