Data-brokers like ChoicePoint and Acxiom suck so bad that in a recent Privacy Activism study, they were found to have inaccuracies in one hundred percent of the reports in the sample, including incorrectly identifying subjects' sex and even incorrectly describing several participants as officers of companies. As Schneier points out, this kind of study is nearly impossible to undertake, "[Privacy Activism] had to find companies who were doing background checks on employees anyway, and who felt that participating in this study with PrivacyActivism was important. Then those companies asked their employees if they wanted to anonymously participate in the study."
Although outside of the specific data that was the focus of the study, several other inaccuracies reported by the participants are worth mentioning:
* 100% of participants had at least one phone number omitted in reports from ChoicePoint.
* Three different participants were incorrectly reported as "officers of corporations" in the ChoicePoint reports.
* One participant's ChoicePoint report had several of her ex-husband's addresses listed under her name
* One participant's Acxiom report had an incorrect gender