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ChoicePoint saga comes to a close

Remember ChoicePoint? Four years ago the data broker kicked off what became a years-long deluge of enterprise data breaches by allowing more than 160,000 customer records to be stolen. It seems like small potatoes today, but back in 2005 things were so bleak that ChoicePoint landed at the top of our 2005 IT winners and losers year-in-review column. Hint: it wasn’t a winner.

Today, things are looking up for ChoicePoint, at least in part. This following word that ChoicePoint has settled a class-action lawsuit over the theft, agreeing to fork over $10 million to make it go away. I’m not a math genius, but 10 million divided by 160,000 or so (minus legal costs) doesn’t seem like a very satisfying outcome for the victims.

Adding insult to injury, the SEC has decided against pursuing legal action against CEO Derek Smith and COO Doug Curling, who together pocketed more than $16 million in profit by selling ChoicePoint stock after the company found out about the data breach — but before word of the breach was disclosed to the public.

So as the story closes, victims get enough scratch for a few cups of coffee at Starbucks, and rich executives ride off into the sunset. Hmmm, Hollywood might want to rewrite the ending to this one.

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