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September 02, 2009

Dr. Doom .... I mean Experian ... wins another round against LifeLock

In the battle of anti-consumer giants (I likened it to a battle between Dr. Doom and the Joker among others in a previous post, see here -, Experian has won another round against LifeLock.  Here's the press release directly from the mouth of Galactus... I mean Experian [with my pithy thoughts in brackets]:

"COSTA MESA, Calif., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Experian((R)) today announced that a federal court in California denied a motion by LifeLock Inc. to reconsider the court's prior ruling which found that LifeLock's practice of setting 90-day fraud alerts for consumers with the three main credit bureaus is unlawful. Experian filed the lawsuit in 2008 alleging that LifeLock activities were contrary to certain provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Experian has requested a permanent injunction, for which a decision is pending.

'Experian is pleased the court continues to recognize the unfair business practices of LifeLock which Experian believes has resulted in a false sense of security and unnecessary costs to consumers,' said Kerry Williams, Group President, Experian Credit Services and Decision Analytics. 'Experian will continually seek [sic.] to ensure that consumers understand their rights and opportunities regarding their credit histories and have access to a variety of services to help protect their personal information.'

The Experian group of companies has been safeguarding consumer credit data for decades [I didn't realize "safeguarding" meant the same as "ruining", guess I need a new thesaurus] and is a trusted provider of both free and fee-based services for consumers to protect and monitor their credit information and ensure their personal data is not compromised. More than 9 million consumers benefit from the companies' credit monitoring services, which is the most widely used for data breach protection. [i.e. you have to buy our monitoring services because heaven forbid we acutally comply with the FCRA and monitor it ourselves]

'Identity theft continues to be a threat to consumers,' said Williams. 'We encourage consumers to take an active approach to their personal information and, as such, Experian companies offer the ability to place free fraud alerts [you mean the free fraud alerts that the FCRA requires Experian to provide?], dispute issues [again, that's not something Experian 'offers' but is something the FCRA requires Experian to receive (and investigate) from consumers] and subscribe to services such as'

Credit reporting companies like Experian are uniquely positioned to protect the consumer's credit information. [that's true, too bad they don't take advantage of that position].  Consumers have trusted since it was introduced more than a year ago to safeguard their identities. is an identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution product used by consumers to prevent damages caused by identity theft. [Why is this a service consumers have to pay for, instead of receive automatically, when the FCRA requires that Experian to use reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the credit reports it generates?]  It monitors Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports on a daily basis to see if key information has changed, if new data has been added to a member's credit profile, or if personally identifiable information is detected that could indicate fraud or suspicious activity. [So you have to pay for Experian to do what it is already legally required to do?!]"

For the record, while I believe Experian is right in this particular instance, I also know that Experian is not pursuing this case because of any desire to help consumers.  Quite the contrary.  Experian is only out to protect itself from the hassle of LifeLock's illegal fraud alerts.  Fortunately, Experian's interests coincide for once with the good of consumers.

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