Sunday, January 10, 2010

Accurint database developer to launch expanded data aggregator

"Called a "mad scientist'' by one employee, Asher has made a fortune collecting public records — deeds, lawsuits, voter registrations — and combining them into databases that can be invaluable in locating people. Plug a name into Accurint, Asher's best-known product, and you'll see addresses, possible relatives, licenses held. It was Asher's technology that helped police find the Washington, D.C., snipers.

Now he is building a super computer and a database "a thousand times more powerful" than anything he has developed yet. It's a project that worries privacy-rights advocates and other critics. They wonder if Asher's real reason for donating some of his technology to government agencies is to get access to confidential data like firearms registries, tax information, even health records — information that could be a boon to businesses and an unprecedented intrusion into the lives of millions of Americans."
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