by Max Brantley
The line is open. Nothing much here, except:
* POLICE RESPONSE TIME: A neighbor (sober, responsible sort) reports that it took more than the 1 hour and 38 minutes that he was on the scene for a police patrol car to respond to a Little Rock wreck that damaged one car badly enough for a wrecker today. Perhaps police calls at midday strained the force that was on duty, though I haven't run across news on Twitter or elsewhere of major police calls today. It can't be a shortage of manpower. That's why we raised the sales tax, right?
* ACXIOM BACK IN THE NEWS: Acxiom, the information management company based in Little Rock, has clearly grabbed the attention of the New York Times. Its ability to gather and manipulate data on consumers was the subject of a huge feature a few weeks ago. The paper is back for a story for the big Sunday edition on a reporter's experience in seeking the data that company had on her. The Arkansas Times went down this same trail, with similarly thin results, some years ago.
But after I filled out an online request form and sent a personal check for $5 to cover the processing fee, the company simply sent me a list of some of my previous residential addresses. In other words, rather than learning the details about myself that marketers might use to profile and judge me, I received information I knew already.
It turns out that Acxiom, based in Little Rock, Ark., furnishes consumers only with data related to risk management, like their own prison records, tax liens, bankruptcy filings and residential histories. For a corporate client, the company is able to match customers by name with, say, the social networks or Internet providers they use, but it does not offer consumers the same information about themselves.
The company says, however, it doesn't have search-by-name capability on all the data it amasses. Point of the story:
Data brokers like Acxiom have developed advanced techniques to collect and collate information about consumers’ offline, online and mobile behavior. But they have been slow to develop innovative ways for consumers to gain access to the information that companies obtain, share and sell about them for marketing purposes.
Now federal regulators are pressuring data brokers to operate more transparently. In a report earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission recommended that the industry set up a public Web portal that would display the names and contact information of data brokers, as well as describe consumers’ data access rights and other choices.
* ROMNEY AIDES WORKS ON OBAMACARE: Do you think Arkansas Republican legislators would be more open to implementing Obamacare if top Mitt Romney aide Michael Leavitt came in to advise Arkansas on health exchange setup, as he's done in other states?
Mr. Leavitt represents one pole in a debate among Republicans. Some want nothing to do with the federal law. Others, like Mr. Leavitt, say it is better for states to take the initiative and set up exchanges rather than cede control to the federal government. Under the 2010 health care law, if a state does not set up and operate an exchange, the federal government will do so in the state.
“I understand why some of my fellow conservatives oppose the formation of insurance exchanges,” Mr. Leavitt said. But, he added, “continued inaction by states risks an Obama-style federal exchange being foisted upon a state.”
Is Mike Beebe his script writer?
* UPDATE/POLICE BUSY: Funny. There is now news on LRPD activity in the following from its communications officer:
"Although the Little Rock Police Department has not received any known threats a Directed Patrol has been put in effect for all movie theatres in the City of Little Rock. From now until Monday, July 23, 2012, officers are required to check theatres in their respective districts and document each patrol.
"Should an officer receive a call concerning suspicious activity at a specific location, the officer will complete an incident report documenting the incident. All Directed Patrol documents, along with copies of incident reports pertaining to this directive, will be forwarded to Captain Michael Davis."