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DMV Making Millions off Your Personal Information

10:18 PM, Jul 22, 2011   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Motor Vehicle is making millions of dollars off drivers' information.

A driver's name, address, date of birth and info about the car they drive is worth a lot of money.

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The state raked in about $63 million in 2010 by selling that information, according to a spokesperson for Florida's Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

"This is nothing new," said Ann Howard, a Florida Department of Motor Vehicle spokesperson.

The information is being sold to towing companies, insurance companies, auto manufacturers and private investigators - among others - and it is being sold for 1 cent per record.

The list of companies include:

-Acxiom Information Securities,Inc.
-Choice Point
-Explore Information Services
-Line Barge, Goggan, Blair & Simpson, Inc.
-SC Services
-West Services, Inc.

"This is public record; these companies, just like the public, is entitled to the information because it is public records in Florida," said Howard.

Can anything be done to stop the state from selling your information? 

"It needs to be investigated first; since we spoke earlier we have made some preliminary investigation," said state Rep. Charles McBurney.

McBurney, a Republican from District 16, said the state is operating under the Driver Privacy Protection Act. He wants to know if the information is being handled properly by the companies that buy it.

"Is there enough out there to be sure those safeguards are being met?" he asked.

Florida Sen. Tony Hill is leaving office in October but he's concerned about the practice of selling driver information. "We will pursue the options that Floridians can have," said Hill.

In Jacksonville today, at the driver's license office on Kernan Road on Friday drivers said they weren't happy about it.

"Anytime my personal information is being sold without my knowledge or me being told about it upfront is wrong," said Randy Russell.

But the transaction is completely legal. However, companies cannot use the information to solicit new business or advertise, but many weren't buying that.

"It absolutely has to be used for marketing. It's the only money to be made," said Shannon Ferguson. "I don't think companies would pay $63 mllion for information they couldn't make a profit off of, it doesn't make sense."

The DPPA is a federal law and the DMV is required to block personal information on your motor vehicle and driver license records, but the companies buying the information are exempt from this law.

"I didn't even know it was legal. I think we should be able to (decide) whether or not we should have our information sold to other companies for profit," said Dorcelin Bazil.

State Rep. Mia Jones, a Democrat from District 14, said the DMV is not transparent enough about selling records. Jones, who is chair of the state's black legislative delegation, said she will move to make the agency more transparent, but it may not put a stop to the selling of records.

"We need to revise (what we can) so that we're being proactive, so that the citizens know what their options are on the front end rather than on the back end," said Jones.

Howard said a person's Social Security number is never given out as part of their personal information.

Still, said Rich Johnson, "it is my info not theirs. They should not be making a profit off me. They are the last ones I would think would be selling personal information."

MORE: Fla. statute



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