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Privacy Businesses Your Rights Online

HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History 472

Posted by timothy
from the please-explain-this-8-day-gap-in-2002 dept.
chiguy writes with this snippet From NBC News: "The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled...[a database]...containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults...[Equifax] says [it] is adding 12 million records annually.' This salary information is for sale: "Its database is so detailed that it contains week-by-week paystub information dating back years for many individuals, as well as ... health care provider, whether someone has dental insurance and if they've ever filed an unemployment claim.""
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HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History

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  • Re:Privacy And Sin (Score:5, Informative)

    by dmacleod808 (729707) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:33AM (#42796253)
    You are obviously not familiar with Burma Shave, its a 1950s thing. There were signs on the road, each sign had a single line, ending with "Burma Shave". It was not supposed to be fine prose. I think they covered it in the pilot episode of Quantum Leap.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:43AM (#42796345)

    CEO (along with other senior executives) compensation (much more than just pay) has been public for some time, check out your companies 10Q filing (does not apply to private companies).

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:55AM (#42796501)

    When my identity was stolen (credit card opened in my name by someone with my name/address/SSN/DOB), I froze my credit and my wife's credit. This means that nobody can read our credit files or add to it without our permission. If we want to get a car loan, refinance my mortgage, or open a new credit card, we need to thaw out our credit files. (This costs us $5 per person per agency - of which there are 3 - but this fee varies by state.) If a potential employer wants to run a credit check on me, they'll need to ask for my permission before they can see my credit file.

  • Re:Great! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:02AM (#42796561)

    $240K is nothing. Checkout University of Texas coaches salaries.

    Mack Brown's $5,266,667
    Richard D Barnes's $2,400,000
    Gail Ann Goestenkors's $1,080,000 (She is no longer with University of Texas)

    Texas government salaries are here: http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/

  • Re:hipaa violation? (Score:5, Informative)

    by punker (320575) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:06AM (#42796617)

    Not True. I worked a contract for a health department, and HIPAA violations cover employers, providers, and insurers/agents. However, the key thing is if it would be considered 'protected health information' (PHI). There is alot of data that is not PHI that can legally be shared. PHI really centers on personally identifiable health information. Insurance status generally falls outside of that.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:11AM (#42796677)

    So do lots of folks who do not get paid that much money.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:24AM (#42796849)

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/college-athletics-losing-money/ [outsidethebeltway.com]

    STOP SPREADING THESE LIES. Sports not only distract from the actual purpose of a University they also cost vasts sums of money and generate little comparable revenue.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:26AM (#42796865)

    Wanted to mention something very relevant about Equifax. I took advantage of a "get your credit score" free offer several years ago that was posted on Slick Deals. It involved giving Equifax a little data on myself, including an email address that they sent the final credit score report to. I've long used the Spamgourmet forwarding service, so I created and used a unique email address for this purpose. Never gave it to anyone else. It even includes Equifax as part of the name, as well as a "watch word" that was only active for a month when the Equifax account was created. Later I started getting LOTS of spam from Chinese sources to that email address. I don't think it was intercepted, as Equifax hadn't sent me any more mail for quite a while. No one got into my system and none of my other accounts started getting spammed, only the Equifax account.

    So, as I see it that leaves three possible causes: Equifax sold my email address to spammers, an employee at Equifax stole data and sold it, or Equifax is so insecure with this very important personal data that they were hacked by the spammers. None of these possibilities speaks well for Equifax.

    As of today, 264 pieces of mail have been sent to that account, including the one or two legitimate ones. That particular account was quickly shut down without compromising my read email address, but I've always wondered what information the hackers got on me.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by foobsr (693224) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:32AM (#42796951) Homepage Journal
    Probably a move to Scandinavia would help.

    Quote:"Every year, Sweden publishes everyone's income tax returns. So do Finland and Norway. And nobody really cares." ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-06-18-salaries_N.htm [usatoday.com] )

    Not quite the same, but still.

    CC.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:38AM (#42797021)

    the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently 23% (pre-clinton way of counting before BoL changed methodology), that's almost Great Depression levels. the knife is threat of living the life of a bum, a hobo. Quit being a shill for our very evil system

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Informative)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:48AM (#42797115)

    The 5 highest paid execs in each company are listed, not the 5 highest paid execs in any company.

  • Re:Privacy And Sin (Score:5, Informative)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:57AM (#42797227)

    Current? Here's the constitutional amendment Rand proposed: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of production and trade. . ."

    That means no safety regulations, no minimum wage, no antitrust legislation, no public roads, and no regulations on the financial markets. It means that if I sell you a product that is poisonous and it debilitates you for the rest of your life, you can sue me in civil court and that's the solution to keep things like lead paint off of products (and, of course, if you're too poor to sue me in civil court you're a worthless fuck who deserves lead poisoning; i.e., all low income housing would be painted with lead paint).

    The current version of the libertarian party is the same version of 'libertarianism' that's existed since FDR was in office. It's a negative response to New Deal policies, which largely consisted of various subsidies and restraints on big institutions. While I agree with your post, there's nothing current about this view, and it's not a 'nutbag arm' of the libertarians -- the nutbag shit is what defines one as a libertarian. Libertarians are the opposite extreme as communists but they face the same problem: If only people would stop acting like human beings, their utopian paradises would be possible.

  • by Zeromous (668365) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:58AM (#42797235) Homepage

    This is why he mentioned, (and I also use) a keyword.

    For instance, the difference between a mailspammer and a direct marketer is this.

    In emails sent to zeromous@slashdot.org (an unlikely email address but spammed all the same as you describe)

    mailspammer will say, "hello zeromous, Here is a special deal"

    direct marketer will have gotten my address from equifax, where I was sure to sign up as Dr. Unicorn McBojangles

    direct marketer will say, "hello Dr. Unicorn McBojangles, we have a special and unique opportunity for people with good credit!"

  • by smackmywhammy (862422) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:19PM (#42797529)
    I'm pretty much in the same boat, but I signed up directly with the MyFICO service, which was eventually sold to Equifax. I run a wildcard email forward on a throwaway domain for all my vendor contact stuff, and I'm not getting hits like this for other domain stuff as other comments suggest. I receive obvious finance related phishing crap, related to this financial information transaction, at this specific email address. In my case, the email address was dormant for 4+ years with zero traffic before it got hit.

    As close as I can tell, the source of the leak is: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215527/FAQ_Epsilon_email_breach [computerworld.com]

    Of course, I could be wrong, but it's unsettling to say the least. Trying to explain it to an elected official to get some sort of action (specifically, official letter requesting more information) is less entertaining than rope pushing. Direct calls to Equifax have been completely unproductive.
  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by ravenscar (1662985) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:01PM (#42798171)

    Exactly. At many schools football makes all of the other sports possible. Soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball, swimming, etc. are all financial burdens. The losses from these sports are often 'balanced' by the gains of the football program. If you think it's bad that a given major University might lose a few million a year overall on their athletic program imagine what they would lose without football.

  • Before you panic... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Peter Simpson (112887) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:06PM (#42798223)
    I followed the link in the article: http://www.theworknumber.com/Employees/DataReport/ [theworknumber.com] It lets you search for your employer. My current employer does not report. My previous employer did, but the one previous to that did not. So that's 1/3 for me. YMMV, but it's probably worth checking. Then you can go (or not) to your HR dept and ask them why or thank them for not divulging your info.
  • Re:Privacy And Sin (Score:4, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:48PM (#42798923)

    You are obviously not familiar with Burma Shave, its a 1950s thing.

    It's easy to forget that almost all cross country traffic before the construction of the Interstates moved on two lane rural roads at an average speed of 45 mph or less. The first Burma Shave signs were placed in 1925. The verses began appearing in 1929.

    Here are two examples from 1939:

    Hardly a driver / Is now alive / Who passed / On hills / At 75 / Burma-Shave

    Past / Schoolhouses / Take it slow / Let the little / Shavers grow / Burma-Shave

    Burma-Shave [wikipedia.org]

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @02:23PM (#42799463)

    Anyone can freeze their credit file. It's the law in most states and the District of Columbia. (Only Alabama and Michigan have no law and a few states limit it to ID theft victims.) The credit agencies have "voluntarily" offered to freeze credit for anyone who wants it frozen. (Translation: They were forced to by law in most states so they might as well offer it in the remaining ones.) The only difference that a police report makes is that (depending on state law), it might make your freeze free instead of charged for.

    http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html

    Here's how to place a freeze on your credit file from the 3 major credit bureaus:

    https://help.equifax.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/159/noIntercept/1
    http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/credit-disputes/credit-freezes.page
    http://www.experian.com/consumer/security_freeze.html

    Speaking from experience, it can be a pain to deal with from time to time, but it is much less of a pain then discovering that someone went on a spending spree on your credit line and you need to repair the damage.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @02:31PM (#42799569) Homepage

    What would be more interesting is you can prove the debts are not her own and pursue a successful libel case against them.

    Fair Credit Reporting Act [wikipedia.org] limits damages to $1000. But IANAL.

  • by G00F (241765) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @04:21PM (#42801015) Homepage
    <i>the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is currently 23%</i>

    Source: http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

    Williams recreates a ShadowStats Alternative unemployment rate reflecting methodology that includes the &ldquo;long-term discouraged workers&rdquo; that the Bureau of Labor Statistics removed in 1994 under the Clinton administration.

    The BLS publishes six levels of unemployment, but only the headline U3 unemployment rate gets the press. The headline number does not count &ldquo;discouraged&rdquo; unemployed workers who have not looked for work in the past four weeks because they believe no jobs are available.

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