LifeLock seems to be having trouble breaking its habit of deception.
The story of the company's founding was a lie, it was slammed with a $12 million penalty by the Federal Trade Commission in March for deceptive advertising, and it claimed falsely on its Web site until May that its CEO, Todd Davis, had only dealt with a single case of identity theft. As New Times revealed last week, a Chandler police report shows that Davis has been a victim at least 13 times since 2007.
Today, Davis fudges the truth in a tepid Q&A published in Computerworld about the company's latest image problem.
Davis tells Computerworld's Jaikumar Vijayan:
We knew when we started this process that I was going to have issues that would have to be resolved and remediated. We never tried to make the claim nothing would ever happen to me.
Later in the article, Davis is quoted as saying:
Just because we say protect, we aren't saying prevent. We have always provided two layers of protection - proactive and resolution - [which is] our service guarantee to help fix problems if they were to arise. This has been our stance since the beginning...
Yet here's what Davis told TechRockies in February of 2007:
LifeLock actually stops the crime before [it] happens, by making your information useless to the criminal. In fact, I'm so sure of that, you can print my social security number in the article...
...Even though I gave you my Social Security number, which everyone is going to be able to read, the worse that is going to happen is someone is going to try to steal my identity and turn it into money--whether that is to try to get a charge card at Sears or to buy a laptop computer at Best Buy through financing. My cell phone is going to ring, and they're going to ask -- Todd, you attempting to open this new account -- if I don't say yes, or even if I don't answer the phone, it stops the transaction dead in its tracks before any damage is done to me financially. And then, of course, the thief will move on to someone else instead.
Davis told the local Business Journal in 2005 that "we prevent identity theft from ever occurring." He bragged about how great the system works to protect him in a 2008 MSNBC interview. And he told Scambusters.org that Lifelock "makes personal information useless to anyone but the rightful owner."
Most recently, Davis stated on LifeLock's own Web site until earlier this month that he publishes his SSN...:
... Because I'm absolutely confident LifeLock is protecting my good name and personal information, just like it will yours.
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LifeLock removed the page with that claim this month after New Times asked the company whether it was true.
Computerworld has Davis criticizing New Times for failing to include in the feature article any quotes from pissed-off LifeLock customers -- as if such customers don't exist. (Our article did, by the way, mention the class-action lawsuits against LifeLock that were backed by pissed-off customers).
But Vijayan apparently did not ask Davis about the ethics of keeping the identity thefts a secret from his customers, or for proof that his identity was only stolen 13 times (we suspect the real number is higher).
Since LifeLock won't talk to New Times, we're still waiting for someone to ask Davis the tough questions.