Motor vehicle departments in the US earn millions of dollars in selling driver personal data to private investigators and other companies.
Motor vehicle divisions (DMVs) in different states sold data, including names, addresses, birth dates, vehicle and other personal information to companies, an investigation by motherboard reveals.
The press claimed that the data was sold to various companies with approved purposes, such as insurance or towing companies. However, the investigation showed that data were also sold to doubtful companies.
Motor vehicle departments across the country earn millions of dollars in selling personal information to drivers to private investigators and other companies
Motherboard obtained hundreds of pages with documents from DMVs through public archiving requests in different states and found several practical examples.
Citizens may not know that when they provide their name, addresses and other information, they can then be resold for other uses.
The Virginia DMV has sold data to 109 private research firms, while the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has sold data to at least 16 private research firms, according to spreadsheets viewed by Motherboard.
& # 39; Selling personally identifiable information to third parties is broadly a privacy issue for everyone and especially a security issue for survivors of abuse, including domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and human trafficking & # 39 ;, Erica Olsen, Director of Safety Just at the National Network to end domestic violence, Motherboard said in an email.
& # 39; For survivors, their security may depend on their ability to keep this type of information private. & # 39;
Records retrieved by the news channel showed that the Wisconsin DMV made more than $ 17 million in driver data sold.
In some cases, the data was sold to private investigators who specifically advertise cheating partners.
& # 39; You must learn what they do, when they do it, with whom they do it and how long it has been going on.
Departments of motor vehicles (DMV & # 39; s), in different states, data sold including names, addresses, date of birth, vehicle and other personal information to third parties
In some cases, other personal information to the DMV for obtaining a driver's license or registering a vehicle, the DMV will then offer that information for sale
& # 39; You have to see the proof with your own eyes & # 39 ;, read the website of Integrity Investigations, a private research agency that buys data from DMV & # 39; s.
& # 39; Under this MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), the requesting party will receive remote electronic information regarding driving licenses and vehicles, including personal information authorized to be released & # 39 ;, is one agreement between a DMV and its customers.
A number of DMV & # 39; s told Motherboard that they do not sell images of driver's licenses or social security numbers.
Part of the data access is in bulk, and other agreements allow a company to look for specific people, according to the documents.
Contracts can also be extended for months and records can only cost $ 0.01, the documents add.
Motherboard reported that selling data to researchers is legal because of the Driver & # 39; s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).
The process of becoming a recognized researcher varies from state to state and can be strict, according to multiple sources in the industry.
But several states allow permits to be granted at the local level or that researchers work without a permit.
Critics believe that the privacy protection legislation of the driver needs to be updated to reflect current privacy legislation.
& # 39; The DPPA is one of several federal laws that now needs to be updated & # 39 ;, wrote Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the EPIC group for privacy activism, in an email.
& # 39; I would certainly reduce the number of meshes, & # 39; he added, referring to how the law could be amended.
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