PROTECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION….NOT….Is ChoicePoint a piece of work or what? Here’s how they’ve responded to the theft of hundreds of thousands of private consumer records from their database:

Elizabeth Rosen was plenty angry when ChoicePoint Inc. sent her a form letter acknowledging that crooks might have perused some of her most sensitive personal and financial data.

But the Hollywood nurse was flabbergasted when the company, one of the nation’s largest collectors of consumer records, also offered to sell her some of the same information so she could see what might have been compromised.

….Rosen’s experience highlights a paradox in the recent string of thefts of personal information: Many of the same companies responsible for safeguarding reams of sensitive data that have fallen into the hands of scammers are now trying to cash in by pledging to protect consumers’ privacy.

Information brokers infiltrated by con artists, banks that have lost unencrypted financial data and peddlers of online background checks are pitching fraud-detection plans that cost from $25 a year to more than $150.

Information collection agencies should be required by law to do everything in those “fraud-detection plans” ? and more ? as a normal course of business. And they would, too, if the cost of losing data were made high enough.

Someday there’s going to be an unholy consumer backlash against these guys, and they’re going to deserve every last bit of it. The gall is simply beyond belief.