Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Illinois makes over $40 million a year selling drivers license info
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Illinois makes over $40 million a year selling drivers license info

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2019

* Vice publication Motherboard

The California Department of Motor Vehicles is generating revenue of $50,000,000 a year through selling drivers’ personal information, according to a DMV document obtained by Motherboard.

DMVs across the country are selling data that drivers are required to provide to the organization in order to obtain a license. This information includes names, physical addresses, and car registration information. California’s sales come from a state which generally scrutinizes privacy to a higher degree than the rest of the country. […]

The document doesn’t name the commercial requesters, but some specific companies appeared frequently in Motherboard’s earlier investigation that looked at DMVs across the country. They included data broker LexisNexis and consumer credit reporting agency Experian. Motherboard also found DMVs sold information to private investigators, including those who are hired to find out if a spouse is cheating. It is unclear if the California DMV has recently sold data to these sorts of entities. […]

In an email to Motherboard, the California DMV said that requesters may also include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and prospective employers.

Asked if the sale of this data was essential to the DMV, Marty Greenstein, public information officer at the California DMV, wrote that its sale furthers objectives related to highway and public safety, “including availability of insurance, risk assessment, vehicle safety recalls, traffic studies, emissions research, background checks, and for pre- and existing employment purposes.”

* I asked Secretary of State Jesse White’s spokesperson Dave Druker if Illinois does this. His response…

We provide information to eligible groups in accordance with the national Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and state law. Such sources include law enforcement, courts, government agencies, insurance companies and employers hiring people, especially for driving positions. All agreements are signed off by our legal department and must meet the highest standards for privacy protection, and cannot be used for commercial solicitation. The money generated goes to the state’s general revenue.

I followed up with a question of how much money this brings in…

It has generated $41 million this year, and it is expected to reach $44 million for the calendar year.


*** UPDATE *** From Druker…

Hi Rich.

Just wanted to mention on the sale of driving records, social security numbers are not made available. Having driving records allows insurance companies to know the driving history of the person seeking insurance, and in the case of trucking companies, they are required to see an official driving record before they hire someone. Enjoy the weekend.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wylie Coyote - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:10 pm:

    If it’s not supposed to be used for commercial purposes why do I get bombarded with junk mail telling me my warranty is up on my car?

  2. - Annonin - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Yea we are near the top of this national scoreboard. Now all the whacks will shriek. And we will wish Capt Fax et al Happy Thanksgiving

  3. - Bruce (no not him) - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:19 pm:

    I’ll show them. My license info is all wrong anyway.

  4. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    Been doing it forever. Google thyself. You’ll be stunned at all the info known about you. Search engines may know more about you than you know about yourself. The groceries and their “preferred cards” and pharmacies, et al. have a revenue stream a continent long from selling info.

  5. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:25 pm:

    1060 West Addison. I falsified my renewal.

  6. - James the Intolerant - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    If they are selling it for 41, it is worth 410.

  7. - Cadillac - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Once the information is sold, how do we know it is not sold again?

  8. - A guy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    ==Once the information is sold, how do we know it is not sold again?==

    Or shared…at a profit. Answer: you don’t know, but it’s happening.

  9. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Illinoisans should be able to opt out.

  10. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    ==Once the information is sold, how do we know it is not sold again?==

    Yep, check out the fine print. Like Wylie, I get either a call or letter for an extended warranty on my vehicle at least weekly, and they know the year, make, and model. Same with new car dealer trade offers. What they don’t know, is I’m still under an extended manufacturer warranty, so either the SOS, municipality, or my insurance company are probable sources.

  11. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    Every time the SOS sells my license info, I should get a $1 knocked off my renewal next year for commission(not entirely snark) ;)

  12. - Marty Meh-lan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    @Wiley Data Co-ops. Most likely that information was sold by the dealer or manufacturer. To participate, orgs are required to give up transaction level data. So magazine subs, contributions to participating non-profits, auto and home warranties, etc. In exchange for participating, members of the co-op are provided with black box models to help target for their company or org. When Range Rover reports that you bought the extended warranty, and you also exist on my house file giving $25 a year, but give $2k a year to similar organizations, those co-ops can provide me back names that I already have to try and increase their giving; or provide me with other names that aren’t on my file that look similar to you. Data co-ops are both extremely cool and scary at the same time.

  13. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    Can I pay an extra $4 to $8 to not sell my information?

    I mean, really. I feel like my privacy is worth $40 over the course of 5 years, especially since I have no idea what happens with my data after they sell it and as a consumer I was not given an opportunity to opt in or opt out.

    I suppose it’s now reasonable to ask which other elected officials are selling my data and to whom?

  14. - Louis G Atsaves - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    This explains the multiple solicitations by telephone, mail and e-mail claiming that my extended warranty expired on my 20 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee with 400,000 miles on it. My e-mail is now so cluttered with junk that I find myself constantly deleting. Who can I thank for all this nonsense?

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    ===multiple solicitations by telephone, mail and e-mail claiming that my extended warranty===

    Um, how would that be connected to this? The SoS doesn’t have any info on your warranty.

  16. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    To the update. Scares me that they have to state they dont sell SSN’s.

  17. - Grand Old Tower - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Meh. If this is my biggest problem in life…then I don’t have any problems.

  18. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:11 pm:

    So if it’s my information why don’t I have to give permission? And if I do why don’t I get a piece of the action?

  19. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    This is definitely more innocuous than it appears. Without driving records, everyone (save the riskiest drivers) would be paying more for auto insurance.

  20. - Stuff Happens - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    In 2016 the state announced that it would start integrating facial recognition features into driver’s licenses to comply with the Real ID law.

    Is any of that biometric information being sold? If so, how does that jive with the Biometric Information Privacy Act?

  21. - Nadigam - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Folks you want insurance companies to know the driving records of bad drivers on the front end so they can assess risk and charge accordingly. Otherwise we pay more

  22. - Father Ted - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Agreed with Chicagonk that this is actually pretty innocuous.
    I wonder who is actually paying this $40 million? I assume there is no charge for law enforcement, courts and government agencies. So all of that sum is being paid by insurance companies and employment background checks?

  23. - DuPage - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    Any money collected from this should go to highway funding and improving S.O.S. services. Things like more employees so we can get waited on in a reasonable amount of time.

  24. - Klaus von Bülow - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 1:56 pm:

    This how SirusEX knows I bought a used car from a private individual. This has been an issue for years as others have stated.

    I don’t think the SoS even receives this money it goes into GRF.

  25. - Just Me - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    Next time the pols get all worked up over a security breach by a company, let’s remind those pols that the liberal savior Jesse White’s Office actually sells such private information.

    Related — I wonder how the lock box amendment impacts this transaction.

  26. - Dybalaton - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    Better than higher taxes to me.

  27. - BOBCL856 - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    ===Better than higher taxes to me===
    What price freedom ?

  28. - Responsa - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    =Um, how would that be connected to this? The SoS doesn’t have any info on your warranty.=

    The warranty “expiration” alert is fake but the auto make and model is not, which gives the communication seeming legitimacy. Crooks just want you to fall for giving them your credit card to renew the “warranty”. My local police dept. has warned about this scam.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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