Three Equifax executives sold shares worth almost $1.8 million just days after the company discovered a security breach that compromised information on about 143 million U.S. consumers.
This unprecedented data breach exposed home addresses, phone numbers, Social Security Numbers, driver's licenses, credit history, household composition, and a long list of personal information that was given to Equifax by us – you and me. More accurately, we have allowed this trusted authority to compile, manage, score and monetize our personal data. We do the same thing with Transunion, Experian and other Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA’s). For this trust, they earn a lot of of money. I know firsthand exactly how this process works and how profitable it is. I used to compile, build and monetize the Experian Consumer Database.
So, when things go bad and our very personal information gets stolen from Equifax, the firm we have entrusted to keep our personal information safe, what do those in positions of authority and responsibility do? Notify us immediately? Offer us comfort that they will take strong measures to staunch the bleeding and protect us? Give assurances they will cover any personal financial trouble that results from their failure to protect our information? No - not a chance. This trusted central authority did none of these things. Instead, they sat on their insider knowledge of this historically massive hack for weeks. Then, the Chief Financial Officer and other executives sold portions of their shares before the stock price predictably tanked.
It usually takes a big event to shine light on an area that needs attention, and this Equifax breach is it for CRA’s. This event demonstrates that these guys can no longer be trusted to protect our privacy and why we should begin looking for an alternative.
Because of this hack, this shameless audacity and greed, because of this obscene use of insider knowledge, the CRA’s are now under the microscope. And, very importantly, due to the emergence of Blockchain technology, these centralized repositories are now the equivalent of a large ship taking on water from many ruptures. We have the confluence of two big events – a breech and a competitor; the furry little animals are bringing down the dazed and stumbling brontosaurus.
Equifax and the other CRA’s should prepare for terminal disintermediation. I’ll give the CRA’s ten years and then - RIP CRA’s.