Saturday, February 23, 2013


Texas DMV sells personal information to hundreds of companies; Drivers not allowed to opt-out
TechDirt – Tim Cushing – 2/13/2013

Should citizens have the option to OPT-IN to use government services if they’re going to sell our private information for profit?

The Texas DMV claims its "top priority" is protecting drivers' information, but that hardly seems to be the case when it's pulling in $2.1 million a year selling it off. There are protections in place, but they are flimsy at best.

"The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is the custodian of over 22 million currently registered vehicles in the state of Texas," Randy Elliston, Director of the Texas DMV, explained. "All of those records that are in our database, however, are protected under the Driver Privacy Protection Act."

Randy Elliston says the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) limits who can buy your information and what they can do with it.

It would be interesting to see what these "limits" are. The spreadsheet obtained by CBS 11 of Dallas, TX shows that 2,448 different entities purchased this information from the DMV last year.

The Driver Privacy Protection Act is a federal law. And the fine print actually says businesses can use your information for marketing or solicitations if the state has obtained your consent. That means some drivers can opt in or out of these databases.

Problem is – Texas didn't adopt that portion of the law. So, drivers in the Lone Star State are stuck. 

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