Featured Article: Texas DPS’s Big Oops!

On February 27th 2023, The Texas Tribune reported that the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) accidentally sent more than 3,000 drivers licenses to an organized crime group which was targeting Asian Texas. Read the full article here: https://www.texastribune.org/2023/02/27/texas-drivers-license-theft-dps/

That’s a lot to unpack! How did this happen, how did they discover it, and what could have been done to prevent it?

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Data Classification: Public Data

So far in this series of Data Classification articles, we’ve talked about each type of data at a glance and have gone in depth on Consumer Marketing Data. This time we’re going to take a deep dive into Public Data.

Though the name implies that the data is publicly available (and therefore unrestricted), when we say, “public data” we’re talking about data that belongs to the public because it’s paid for by taxes. It’s produced by government entities or government agencies. It can still contain PII (names, DOBs, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) and it can still have legal restrictions in how it can be used.

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Data Classification: Consumer Marketing Data

As we discussed previously, there are many classifications of data that are commonly used in this industry. We previously gave a broad overview of all the major types: Public, Consumer, and Regulated. In this article, we’ll be exploring the world of Consumer Data in greater depth.

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What are the different types of data?

In our line of work, there are many classifications of data available for consumption. In this article we’ll outline each of the major types at a high level. In the subsequent articles, we’ll dive deep into each of them to talk about the nuances involved with each. We should also make it clear that there are plenty of other classifications of data and many of these will overlap – nothing is black and white in this industry. So let’s get started!

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State Jurisdiction over Tribal Lands

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court made an unexpected ruling in favor of the State of Oklahoma which sets a brand new precedent. Previously, tribal lands and Indian reservations were subject to only their own legal oversight except for in cases of certain violent crimes and sexual offenses. In the 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court vastly expanded the power that states have over Native American lands.

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Human Trafficking Offenses in Background Checks

Within the last year, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) was revised to include a new section, 15 US Code § 1681c-3, titled “Adverse information in cases of trafficking”


What this section states is that when a victim of human trafficking commits a crime in connection with their trafficking, that crime may no longer be reported on a Consumer Report. What that really means is that if an applicant was at one point trafficked, any crime that they coerced into committing during that trafficking (prostitution, drug use, theft, etc.) may not be reported to a potential employer.

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CRAs vs Background Screeners?

So what’s the difference between a CRA and a Background Screener, anyway? Well, at the highest level, a CRA is a Consumer Reporting Agency (sometimes called a Credit Reporting Agency – not to be confused with a credit bureau). They follow very specific guidelines around disclosing certain information and notifying the consumer of any adverse action. The reports they produce are called Consumer Reports and they may be used for housing, employment, and credit decisions.

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Criminal Records without Identifiers

Public records are just that – they’re records which belong to the public interest. Court and incarceration records are no exception to that. It’s in the interest of the people to know who has been arrested, when, where, and why. Not just to keep the people safe from crime, but to keep the people informed of the government’s doing.

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What is a National Criminal Database?

In our last article, “What is an SSN Trace”, we talked about the importance of a SSN Trace for the background checking process. It helps identify aliases and addresses that the applicant may have used but did not report on their application. This time, we’ll talk about the next step in the background checking process: National Criminal Database Search.

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What is an SSN Trace?

When an employer conducts a background check on an applicant, there are a handful of steps that must be followed to ensure accuracy. Part of that process is what’s called an SSN Trace.

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Contact Tracing – What Martin Data is Doing to Help

Contact Trace Search Screen

In our previous articles, we spoke to a lead contact tracer named Steven who worked for the health department of a major Midwest city. Our questions mostly concerned what his job looks like on a day-to-day and what kinds of tools he uses to do his work. To continue our Contact Tracing series of articles, we’d like to explore some of the things Martin Data is doing to help the industry.

When in early March, when it became obvious that COVID-19 was going to be a world-changing crisis, the Martin Data team got together and brainstormed about how we could help.

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