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Privacy Businesses Your Rights Online

HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History 472

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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  • Privacy And Sin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:25AM (#42796195) Homepage Journal
    Privacy and sin,
    Like skin on the chin,
    Covered by hair,
    Nicked by tech #FTW
    Burma Shave

    This is an important story, beyond the troll.
    A political party supporting liberty, where that is defined in part as the right to own all data pertaining to yourself, would see a great deal of support.
    And we can expect any of our entrenched parties to support liberty in 3. . .2. . .
  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:35AM (#42796273) Homepage Journal
    Salary information does pertain rather directly to ability to pay off debt.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:37AM (#42796289) Homepage

    The minute you can pull data from every offshore bank account.

  • Privacy and Abuse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by under_score ( 65824 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:41AM (#42796317) Homepage

    In our culture, we are afraid of abuses.... legitimately! Having this information for sale can easily be used for such obvious purposes as rejecting a job candidate because their past salary is "too high". Stronger privacy protection is generally considered the antidote to such potential abuses. However, more and more regulation leads to greater and greater bureaucracy and therefore the cost of government increases.

    Another solution is a longer-term solution and that is to address the underlying cultural assumptions and shift the world to a more positive outlook based on the idea of the inherent nobility of humans. Our bureaucracy has grown as we have moved away from a perspective on the noble human to the animal human with greed motivating our every move. In fact, this is a cultural choice, not a foregone conclusion.

    At some point, I hope that we (culturally) will start responding to these sorts of crisis with a long-term view to improving humanity rather than reacting to the down-side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:42AM (#42796329)

    Great but shouldn't it be MY decision on who gets to see what my salary is. It used to be you didn't talk about what people made. Now they freely give that out to a thrid party?

  • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:43AM (#42796347)

    My wife is fixing her credit right now. And she has the same problem. She is even responsible for debt she did not make on the basis that she can not prove that she did not make that debt. Most of the entry are indeed wrongly labeled which is quite scary frankly. That credit report business is complete BS in here. They hold a list of things that you did secret. You can access it but with a ridiculously high fee. And you can not contest anything important.

  • I'm not being conspiracy nut in this. This is just one more tool that HR departments can use to keep pay low for people applying for work at a company. They always ask for what your current salary is. Before an applicant could lie and tell the HR department a higher number and get offered that higher number. Now they can just check this database and see what the number actually is.

    When I job switched in the past I've never been offered a number higher than what I currently made when I was truthful about my salary, and I screwed myself over. There was a time when I worked for a start-up and my salary was frozen for four years. When that job died I told my new employer what I was making and got offered a bit less since it was a rough job market. The raises I got at that job were less than inflation. The last time I switched I took my salary at the start of the previous job, ran it through the inflation calculator, added 10% and told that number to the new company. That was the number that I was offered, and they gave me some song and dance about it was a privilege about working in the industry when I tried to see if I could get it higher. So I got a 17% raise over my previous company.

    Now with this database that tactic is no longer viable. And if you don't tell them the current number you're making and then check it out, they can mark you as dishonest. Kind of hypocritical if you ask me.
  • Maybe???? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <{kurt555gs} {at} {}> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:46AM (#42796375) Homepage

    Ted Kasinsky was right.

  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:47AM (#42796387) Homepage

    If you are a bank considering loaning me money, then I can choose to share my salary information with you. There is no reason at all for this information to be made available without the individual's permission!

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:51AM (#42796443) Homepage Journal

    The rule of thumb is, how does the proposed law affect a corporate entity that has its hand in the lobbying game.

    If it has no affect, it will be ignored and never brought up. It's a waste of time.
    If it is detrimental, it will be openly struck down.
    If it means money in the pockets of corporate partners, it will sail right through.

    This works WAY more often than not. It gets more interesting when more than one special interest in involved. Then there is a fight. The big guy usually wins (look at the oil lobby).

  • by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:53AM (#42796479)

    Having worked with my company's HR dept recently to fix a glitch with printing out payroll info, they are extremely paranoid about preventing other employees from seeing anyone's salary. However, the paranoia seems to be limited to preventing employees from seeing what each other makes rather than preventing any third party from accessing it.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:56AM (#42796505) Homepage Journal

    A fine solution if you don't have to eat.

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @10:58AM (#42796529) Homepage Journal

    CEOs don't get big pay because of "market forces."

    They get big pay because their buddies sit on their board. These CEOs also sit on THEIR buddies boards. They vote each other big packages. If YOU want a big pay package are you going to vote down a big pay package for one of your buddies?

  • Re:Horribly Unfair (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:02AM (#42796559)

    It's not illegal, but some companies prohibit disclosing it in their employment contracts, sort of a form of NDA. I believe the proposed law would nullify those clauses in employment contracts.

  • Re:Privacy And Sin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:06AM (#42796613) Homepage Journal

    The current version of the nutbag arm of the libertarian party seems to be much more interested in defending corporate "liberty" rather than individual liberty. It's stories like this that show the two are totally incompatible. If you have no restraints on big institutions (including corporations) there is no such thing as individual rights.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:09AM (#42796659)

    It should be if a considerable number of jobs require it.

    Having no food or shelter is not much different than a knife to the neck.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:32AM (#42796955)

    You are extremely stupid, I think.

    The reason dental cleanings are covered is because otherwise the insured person would not get them and would cost the insurer more. This is a case where relatively cheap preventative care can completely replace very expensive treatment. Not only that but during this cheap preventative care problems can be discovered while they are still minor and much cheaper to fix.

    If you were offering insurance that covered all work on cars you would of course cover oil changes, rather than pay for blown motors from lack of them.

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:36AM (#42796993) Homepage

    The problem in the USA is the absolutely insane marketing. If public information shows that you make a good income and keep your debts under control, you will be bombarded with "pre-approved credit cards", "refinance your home with us", "buy a new car here", "lose all your money in our casino", and other lovely stuff.

    If you live in Europe, you have no idea. When I went back to visit the US for several weeks a couple of years ago, I found the incessant marketing just incredible. The bank tellers trying to sign you up for credit cards. Every phone call to a company begins with a recorded sales pitch. Television shows contain more commercials than content, especially the children's shows. It's just incredible. I suppose you must eventually get numb to it...

  • by sexybomber ( 740588 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:38AM (#42797013)

    Once you're a made member of the club, scrubbing your data and enjoying some privacy is a [perk].

    Along with being able to turn off the telescreen?

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mapsjanhere ( 1130359 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:39AM (#42797031)
    That's because rich people there have better things to do than to run for public office. And politicians are viewed with suspicion if they do not depend on their salary to live on. You need to show a reasonable income to show "I'm one of you". Unlike the US where "I made it rich" is seen as a sign of potential for POTUS, but you don't want to show that you made it rich by gaming the system.
  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:48AM (#42797117)

    I agree it is no different than a drug test, which should also not be allowed.

  • Re:Great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @11:52AM (#42797163)
    This one. This right here. All of our income is from our salary, but what they report is not their income. The ones who run the game don't play by the same rules as us.
  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squizzar ( 1031726 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:21PM (#42797557)

    Or let's see reality. You have 6 companies A-F, with corresponding CEOs A-F. Each company has a remuneration committee that votes on the compensation for the CEO.

    The remuneration committee for company/CEO A consists of people who happen to be CEOs [B-F]
    The remuneration committee for company/CEO B consists of people who happen to be CEOs [A,C-F]
    The remuneration committee for company/CEO C consists of people who happen to be CEOs [A-B,D-F]

    Market forces have nothing to do with it (otherwise why would companies that make losses still increase executive compensation? Why would executives who have failed still be getting higher and higher paid jobs?). It's all a big exercise in scratching each others' backs. Even if it's not by design, and even if your pay is decided by people a few steps removed, there's still a circular dependency where it's in no-one's interest to vote down remuneration.

    Even without the direct link above, you still see examples of 'Other companies of size XXX pay YYY for this position so we are going to pay YYY+ZZZ to get the best person'. The people who make these decisions are also in the market for these jobs: It's not in their interest to push the pay down as it would indirectly push down or limit their own pay.

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @01:38PM (#42798779) Journal

    Citizen: Help! Randian Nutbag! My house is on fire!

    RN: Contemptible Weakling, if you were strong, I would help you. Or perhaps I would murder you and take everything that makes you strong. That certainly would be an option for a Heroic Spirit. But you are weak and destined for failure.

    Citizen: My family is in the house! Oh, save them!

    RN: Pusillanimous Conformist Vermin, you have bred hapless, dependent whelps as pathetic as yourself. You are weak and destined for failure. I am indifferent to your suffering. { begins to fly away }

    Citizen: W-wh-where are you going?

    RN: To collect my welfare cheque. I am *not* indifferent to my own suffering.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend