Monthly Archives: April 2007

What is the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)?

If you have been looking for companies to help you with a broad range of employment screening needs, you may have noticed that there are quite a few vendors offering criminal background checks -- but that driving records are much harder to find. There are a number of legal and economic reasons for this, but the most significant is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act. Passed in 1994, the law was a response to the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer. Her attacker had obtained her home address from the California Department of Motor Vehicles indirectly, through a private investigator. During debate [...]

By |April 30th, 2007|Categories: Employment screening, Legal, MVRs|0 Comments

Second Life calls in the police: If you gamble with fake money, does it count?

If you have any exposure to the increasing media frenzy of Web Bubble 2.0, you have probably heard of Second Life. Second Life is a virtual world where you can present yourself in ways untethered by your actual looks and interact with other people doing the same thing in a virtual landscape. There is no overriding goal such as Freeing The Princess or Finding The Magic Sword. Instead, the idea is to participate in a mirror world which presumably is cooler than our own. In a world like this, a few areas have economic value: "land" which is sold by [...]

By |April 25th, 2007|Categories: Law enforcement, Legal|Comments Off on Second Life calls in the police: If you gamble with fake money, does it count?

Mental health and its use in gun background checks

The shootings at Virginia Tech by Cho Seung Hui have predictably started another debate on gun control. But the Washington Post revealed a new twist. Apparently, existing systems should have been sufficient to prevent Cho from obtaining a gun -- if the relevant records had been kept up to date. It seems that since 1968 anyone considered mentally ill by the legal system is not permitted to purchase firearms. And Cho was ordered to receive counseling in 2005. However, in a breakdown all too familiar in the public record system, the court order was never reported to the federal authorities. [...]

By |April 20th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Law enforcement|3 Comments

More background checks for college students

A week ago we posted about the increasing use of background checks for college students. Most of the usage there has been focussed on catching exaggerations that applicants use to get themselves in the door. But now the pendulum may swing back towards the more traditional background check that looks for criminal history. Yesterday, a student at Virginia Tech shot and killed 32 people on campus, in the deadliest shooting incident of recent U.S. history. Sad to say, violence on campus is not new. In 1991 a physics graduate student at the University of Iowa, Gang Lu, shot six people [...]

By |April 17th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Law enforcement|0 Comments

Our criminal DNA index

If you have any exposure to the media, you probably already know that the paternity of Anna-Nicole Smith's child has been determined, thus influencing the fate of the infant and its half-billion inheritance. The identity of the father -- not the man Smith was living with -- was determined by a DNA test. DNA paternity tests are extremely accurate, as evidenced by the fact that the various claimants to the child immediately agreed with the result (although her grandmother is still fighting for custody). DNA tests can play an important role in background checks as well. Blood, skin, and various [...]

By |April 10th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks, Law enforcement|0 Comments

Background checks for college students

Recently the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the increasing use of background checks for university applicants. It seems that resume inflation begins early these days. Applications to college are at record highs, and some candidates will do anything to stand out. According to the Josephson Institute of Ethics, 28% of high-schoolers stole from a store last year, and 60% cheated. (Even more disturbing, 92% of the respondents were satisfied with their personal ethics.) Padding your list of extracurriculars seems like small potatoes after that. As a result, the academic system has begun to fight back. They are beginning [...]

By |April 9th, 2007|Categories: Criminal checks|2 Comments
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