CHOICEPOINT UPDATE….ChoicePoint, the data broker whose databases already hold 19 billion pieces of personal data, would like to add California’s vehicle registration records to its hoard. That would be 30 million new records for its glittering collection.

Unfortunately, ChoicePoint is also the company whose sloppy procedures allowed a ring of identity thieves to steal 162,000 of its records late last year ? and that makes California authorities justifiably nervous. The answer? Invoke the magic words, “Homeland Security.” Who can say no to that?

But is ChoicePoint’s request really related to homeland security? Or is that just a convenient way to avoid annoying questions from pesky, privacy conscious bureaucrats? Michael Hiltzik investigates.