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As Equifax Amassed Ever More Data, Safety Was a Sales Pitch

Linked by Paul Ciano on September 25, 2017

The New York Times:

Equifax’s chief executive had a simple strategy when he joined more than a decade ago: Gather as much personal data as possible and find new ways to sell it.

The company was making good money compiling credit reports on Americans. But Wall Street wanted stronger growth.

The chief executive, Richard F. Smith, delivered, releasing dozens of new products each year and doubling revenue. The company built algorithms and started scrubbing social media to assess consumers. In a big data collection coup, Equifax persuaded more than 7,000 employers to hand over salary details for an income verification system that now encompasses nearly half of American workers.

As part of its pitch to clients, the company promised to safeguard information. It even sold products to help companies hit by cyberattacks protect their customers.

“Data breaches are on the rise. Be prepared,” the company said in one pitch. “You’ll feel safer with Equifax.”

How do you all feel now?

Paul Ciano

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