Texas DMV Sells Personal Information To Hundreds Of Companies; Drivers Not Allowed To Opt-Out

from the thanks-for-providing-this-valuable-info-via-our-mandatory-vehicle-registration-p dept

Fun, dubious, privacy-violating stuff happening out in Texas where the Dept. of Motor Vehicles has made a tidy sum selling the information it collects (including names, addresses and makes/models owned) to a variety of private companies.

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 purchasers listed range from towing companies to debt collectors to university parking lot patrols. Elliston states that the purchasing companies are not allowed to use the information for direct contact or advertising purposes.

A brief look at the spreadsheet seems to indicate the opposite: auto dealers make up the largest percentage of purchasers. Moreover, Elliston seems to have his facts wrong on the Driver Privacy Protection Act, at least as it pertains to Texas drivers.
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.
This has opened up driver data to nearly anyone who wants it. The spreadsheet shows insurance companies, debt collection agencies, title loan specialists, towing services and auctioneers all have access to these records. The response from Elliston? If you don't like it, complain about it.
Elliston says if you feel like your information is being abused you can report the company. "It has occurred in the past and when it has we've pulled the company's ability to use that data," Elliston noted.
Well, that is one way to deal with an influx of unsolicited mail after registering your vehicle to comply with state law. Another, better, way to deal with it would be to adopt the opt-in/out language that's currently missing. Registering a vehicle isn't optional, but having your name, address and vehicle info turned over to whoever requests it certainly should be.

Filed Under: dmv, personal info, texas


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  1. identicon
    Tail Gunner, 23 Feb 2013 @ 1:16am

    At some point...

    If the information is knowingly going to be exploited, then the information entered will start to be lies, or not registered at all.

    This is insidious corruption.
    Purposely enabled by oath breaking officials.

    You can play word games with what I accuse here, but it won't make me hate these fascist treasonous scumbag oath breakers, or whatever you want to call them, any less.

    The OATH is indeed the crux of what is causing all this.

    Why just in the past couple days I run across these, and I hear about this stuff happening ALL the time.

    Cynthia McKinney US lawmakers forced to sign support of Israel - youtube.com/watch?v=MeVBa4lSscw

    Sen Lindsey Graham Hammers Chuck Hagel over Jewish Lobby comments - youtube.com/watch?v=l1xSY-g0Ghk

    Jewish Lobby Crushes Chuck Hagel - youtube.com/watch?v=IvIE-ZE6DB0

    THE PLEDGE ( TO ISRAEL ) - youtube.com/watch?v=-syB3JQkhFQ

    Somewhere out there I found a Jewish ritual to un-bind all other oaths they take.

    Before falsely labeling me the anti-Semitic (for your grassroots propaganda purposes), know that one of my grandmother's was Jewish. IF anything this insanity is backwards, (poor ol Jews aren't being persecuted, they're doing the KILLING NOW) so before flaming me please explain in detail just exactly where did the vulgar slang word "goy" came from?

    Also explain in detail, why our officials who swear an oath to the US Constitution, are swearing oaths to Israel, and in fact BREAKING their oath to the US Constitution?

    Why should we wait.
    It has begun.

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