John Ford

John A. Ford

Chief Privacy Officer at Equifax Inc.

1550 PEACHTREE ST NW, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Equifax Inc.
HQ Phone:
(404) 885-8000

Recent News

John Ford, Public Relations Director for Equifax, one of the nation's
largest maintainers of information on individuals.

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FTC says almost 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year - Overcoming Identity Theft, ID Theft, Protect your Identity

"Consumers, business, legislators, law enforcement all have vital roles and responsibilities for combating identity theft," said John Ford, chief privacy officer for Equifax, a credit reporting bureau.

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After some discussion concerning the feasibility of anonymous transactions, John Ford of Equifax, identifying himself as one of the "privacy unconcerned," wondered how accurate Alan Westin's assessment of privacy concerns really was.
But Ford said use of zip codes, while it allowed marketers to make some generalizations, did not allow for a sufficient level of differentiation to be of much use in pinpointing very specific target groups. Ford explained that mailers were looking for those individuals who would be most inclined to buy their product and that, based on research, a company would send an offer to those individuals who most likely fit the desired description. Because some of those projections might be based on zip codes, some individuals who did not meet the description would likely get the offer as well. Goldman then noted that what concerned her more was how companies went about collecting the information on which marketing projections were based. Ford said that in his experience the census data were the primary source. Following that, many companies received information through voluntary participation surveys. He noted that "you build a profile of people who have voluntarily provided information. You then overlay that on the census data, and now you have a little better picture of the kinds of characteristics a person who lives in this kind of neighborhood has. While Ford said he was unaware of much use of public records in his company, Smith pointed out that the value of drivers' license records was that people were required to provide their most current address to that system. Ford agreed that companies tried to do the ethical thing and added that "privacy gives business a competitive edge. Ford indicated that Equifax had made a decision that privacy was both an ethical and economic good for the company. He noted that competition will over time weed out those companies that are unethical because they will lose market share to those companies who have gained public trust through ethical behavior. He agreed that privacy made good business sense.

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