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Part 1 2 3 4 5

ChoicePoint head quarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
(AP Photo/John Amis)

We tour a data center in Boca Raton that was once part of Hank Asher's first company, DBT. ChoicePoint, a Georgia-based company, bought DBT in 2000 for $470 million in stock. ChoicePoint acquired dozens of smaller data companies as it grew into an industry giant.

In a dim room sits the command center for part of ChoicePoint's operations. Workers sitting at computer screens can look through a glass wall at a warehouse-sized room filled with computer servers.

The servers look like banks of lockers, some of them; others are the size of a large refrigerator. They're set in rows that extend to a wall on the far end of the room.

"Currently, ChoicePoint has access to more than 17 billion public records," says company official Kevin Morrison.

He and Buddy Meseroll tick off types of data gathered by the company's public records division.

"Address, telephone number, social security number, driving records, criminal records," says Morrison, "real estate records, business license records."

"Boating license," Meseroll adds. "You can just go on. Fishing, hunting license if we wanted that."

Continue to Part 4