California's DMV is making $50 million per year from selling private data

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

The revelation comes via a report from Motherboard, which used a public records acts request to discover how much firms are paying the California DMV for data. During the financial year 2017/2018, it was $52,048,236, up from $41,562,735 in 2013/2014. The information includes names, physical addresses, and car registrations.

While the document doesn’t specify which companies requested the information, some names appeared frequently in Motherboard’s earlier investigation into DMVs across the US. These included data broker LexisNexis and credit agency Experian. Some DMVs also sold information to private investigators, who, in some cases, were hired to discover if spouses were cheating.

California DMV said requesters might also include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and prospective employers. As for what happens to all that money, a spokesperson said it goes toward “public and highway safety, “including availability of insurance, risk assessment, vehicle safety recalls, traffic studies, emissions research, background checks, and for pre- and existing employment purposes.”

The news isn’t going to be welcomed by privacy advocates, despite some DMVs confirming they have now stopped data access for certain commercial requesters after they abused the information.

When asked about the sale of the data, Marty Greenstein, public information officer at the California DMV, wrote: "The DMV takes its obligation to protect personal information very seriously. Information is only released pursuant to legislative direction, and the DMV continues to review its release practices to ensure information is only released to authorized persons/entities and only for authorized purposes. The DMV also audits requesters to ensure proper audit logs are maintained and that employees are trained in the protection of DMV information and anyone having access to this information sign a security document."

This isn’t the first privacy scandal to hit the DMV. Back in July, it was reported that the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been using photos from the agencies for facial recognition searches, all without the license holders’ consent.

Masthead credit: behzad moloud via Shutterstock

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Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
And people say the internet is unsafe... turns out... EVERYTHING is unsafe! I suspect we are entering (or have already entered) an era where there is no longer such a thing as "private data".

Start living your life as if EVERYTHING you do is public and you'll get along just fine :)
 
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kombu

TS Addict
Didn't the government of California sue weather channel a few months ago for collecting misc data? I guess they just wanted their cut.
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
So their not only spying on us but profiting from it as well..just like the corporate world. Of course their one and the same so its to be expected.
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
Doesn't the post office do the same thing? For how many decades? To the tune of hundreds of millions of people - with who knows how much per person? I get so much bullcrap mail that it's around two weeks or more before I go get the mail any more. The biggest culprit are grocery stores. Junk mail fills an entire trash bag every few months, and I rarely give out my address.
 
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ckm88

TS Maniac
I would call them scumbags but I mean, look at Facebook and Google. This makes the DMV look like a n00b compared to them.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
All the while, the far left is clamoring for a bigger and more powerful government.

LESS GOVERNMENT = MORE FREEDOM!
By this logic anarchy is the ultimate freedom yet as it turns out it's rather hard to be free when you don't have rules and regulations to keep things flowing smoothly.

If you have a problem with the process, fix the process. Throwing out the whole thing because it malfunctioned is just bad logic.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
To be fair he said less government not no government.
He said

"LESS GOVERNMENT = MORE FREEDOM! "

Therefore, using the same equation as he did "Zero Government = Total Freedom"

"less government" and "more freedom" are variables. He's saying that as X decreases Y increases. He did not specify any quantifiers or limiters.

I should probably also point out that corporations and intellectual property are governmental constructs. Without the government protecting the now far too overzealous IP laws, modern companies would not exist. Without the government protecting the financial markets, companies and individuals would be subject to scams on the daily.

If he wants to put a quantifier on his statement he should go ahead and do so. Otherwise he is leaving the door open for multiple interpretations. To me that statement certainly reads "The less government we have, the more freedom we have". I don't see a problem calling out such a statement that is clearly vauge.
 
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MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
He said

"LESS GOVERNMENT = MORE FREEDOM! "

Therefore, using the same equation as he did "Zero Government = Total Freedom"

"less government" and "more freedom" are variables. He's saying that as X decreases Y increases. He did not specify any quantifiers or limiters.

I should probably also point out that corporations and intellectual property are governmental constructs. Without the government protecting the now far too overzealous IP laws, modern companies would not exist. Without the government protecting the financial markets, companies and individuals would be subject to scams on the daily.

If he wants to put a quantifier on his statement he should go ahead and do so. Now state governments I could do with getting rid of.
First off you're wrong. No govt does not mean total freedom because the threat of crime would keep you from doing what you want. This is a real problem is some 3rd world countries.

Which is why no one wants total freedom. You're assuming because he wants less govt that he then would want to keep that going all the way until you get to 'No Govt' But no one wants that. It's common sense that zero govt is a horrible idea. What're we going to do make all our own roads? Have no police? it's too silly to even discuss, and you know it's not what he means.

To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytime anyone says we need less regulation. Someone will say something like 'these new banking regulations are really hurting the small banks' and your typical anti-capitalist will come back with 'What you want to do then? Get rid of all the banking laws?!'

To quote a fun meme --- That escalated quickly.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
Hell even home builders are in on this garbage. We couldn't close on our newly built home beginning of 2018 without signing allowing for our information to be sold to "partners". The amount of garbage spam snail mail we get is insane.
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
First off you're wrong. No govt does not mean total freedom because the threat of crime would keep you from doing what you want. This is a real problem is some 3rd world countries.

Which is why no one wants total freedom. You're assuming because he wants less govt that he then would want to keep that going all the way until you get to 'No Govt' But no one wants that. It's common sense that zero govt is a horrible idea. What're we going to do make all our own roads? Have no police? it's too silly to even discuss, and you know it's not what he means.

To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytime anyone says we need less regulation. Someone will say something like 'these new banking regulations are really hurting the small banks' and your typical anti-capitalist will come back with 'What you want to do then? Get rid of all the banking laws?!'

To quote a fun meme --- That escalated quickly.
:joy:

I never said "No govt does not mean total freedom"

" But no one wants that."

Have you actually asked him that or are you assuming that as well? Here you are assuming that I am wrong based on your own assumption. Hmm...

Like I said earlier, he is free to quantify his statement. People who call out others for making assumption by their own assumptions, hypocrites.

"To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytime anyone says we need less regulation. Someone will say something like 'these new banking regulations are really hurting the small banks' and your typical anti-capitalist will come back with 'What you want to do then? Get rid of all the banking laws?!'"

An unsubstantiated character assassination? In your own words, "To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytiime". Your post is nothing but you accusing others of things you do in that same post. Also, cut the hyperbole. Anyone speaking in absolutes is either a troll or a fool. I invite anyone to look and my post history. They will quickly see that my posts are nuanced.

Please come back on topic instead of attacking individuals.
 
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treetops

TS Evangelist
Well, at least the money went back to the public. When I hit 18 in 2001 a wave of mail came my way. Yes Gillette I remember the disposable razor that arrived on my 18th birthday. It's been known that schools sell your info.
 

m3tavision

TS Evangelist
All of it illegal...

Trafficking in other People's information is a crime. No Corporation has the right to your personal information, just because you purchase something from them. Or use their service.

It is anti-consumer.
 

Squid Surprise

TS Evangelist
All of it illegal...

Trafficking in other People's information is a crime. No Corporation has the right to your personal information, just because you purchase something from them. Or use their service.

It is anti-consumer.
Too bad it actually ISN'T a crime... but I agree it should be..
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
:joy:

I never said "No govt does not mean total freedom"

" But no one wants that."

Have you actually asked him that or are you assuming that as well? Here you are assuming that I am wrong based on your own assumption. Hmm...

Like I said earlier, he is free to quantify his statement. People who call out others for making assumption by their own assumptions, hypocrites.

"To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytime anyone says we need less regulation. Someone will say something like 'these new banking regulations are really hurting the small banks' and your typical anti-capitalist will come back with 'What you want to do then? Get rid of all the banking laws?!'"

An unsubstantiated character assassination? In your own words, "To be fair to you though, your answer is the exact answer anytiime". Your post is nothing but you accusing others of things you do in that same post. Also, cut the hyperbole. Anyone speaking in absolutes is either a troll or a fool. I invite anyone to look and my post history. They will quickly see that my posts are nuanced.

Please come back on topic instead of attacking individuals.
I attacked your response. And I'm not getting into a discussion about who said what when you can scroll up if you care. Neither am I going to respond to 'staying on topic' or 'cutting the hyperbole' by someone who started the whole thing with this
By this logic anarchy is the ultimate freedom
 

Evernessince

地獄らしい人間動物園
I attacked your response. And I'm not getting into a discussion about who said what when you can scroll up if you care. Neither am I going to respond to 'staying on topic' or 'cutting the hyperbole' by someone who started the whole thing with this
I think you need to understand the difference between what someone said and what someone thinks another's statement implies. I reiterate: I never said "No govt does not mean total freedom". Try again.

And of course you won't reply to any of the points made. That is expected.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
I reiterate: I never said "No govt does not mean total freedom". Try again.

And of course you won't reply to any of the points made. That is expected.
I know that. I said "No govt does not mean total freedom" those are MY words.
Your line was
anarchy is the ultimate freedom
My whole point was the original person who started this was NOT implying that taking the idea of 'less govt' to the extreme would be a good idea. You responding with 'Anarchy is the total freedom' is a) cliche and b) wrong. If you don't agree with taking 'less govt' to the extreme and you were just telling him to clarify his statements so no one implies anything, then just say so.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
And people say the internet is unsafe... turns out... EVERYTHING is unsafe! I suspect we are entering (or have already entered) an era where there is no longer such a thing as "private data".
Start living your life as if EVERYTHING you do is public and you'll get along just fine :)
Of course there's no privacy anymore. I've been telling that for years, everyone spies on everyone if they have means. Your phone, your smart TV, you bank account, credit card, identity data, medical records, everything is used against you. The more data you share, the more selfies you make, the more info about yourself you volunteer to give, the more it is used against you. Not just by governments or corporations. By ordinary criminals as well.

People in Japan are very shy, they keep their privacy. But at the same time they carry a phone with them even under shower. Imagine, showering with a device that has a front and a back camera. Would you expect people to be that stupid? Well, they are. Modern generations have been indoctrinated to believe their devices won't take a snapshot unless they explicitly press the button. Idiiots? Some of them for sure, but others have just been indoctrinated by modern media. They've been told how to behave, whether in movies, video streams or music videos. People controlling the media are true criminals.
 

Andy F

TS Rookie
Doesn't the post office do the same thing? For how many decades? To the tune of hundreds of millions of people - with who knows how much per person? I get so much bullcrap mail that it's around two weeks or more before I go get the mail any more. The biggest culprit are grocery stores. Junk mail fills an entire trash bag every few months, and I rarely give out my address.
Don't fill out those change of address cards when you move. That's the data they sell and that's where the junk mail comes from. Next time you move all you need to do is to individually notify your friends/family/creditors/IRS/DMV/etc of your new address and junk mail will decrease considerably. Everybody thinks you're required to fill out the USPS change of address form. You're not!
 

ShagnWagn

TS Evangelist
Don't fill out those change of address cards when you move. That's the data they sell and that's where the junk mail comes from. Next time you move all you need to do is to individually notify your friends/family/creditors/IRS/DMV/etc of your new address and junk mail will decrease considerably. Everybody thinks you're required to fill out the USPS change of address form. You're not!
I moved 2 years ago. I did not fill that out, but I still get a crap-ton of mail. You never know when some company out there doesn't have your new address. One example is many years later (I was still at the same address), I got mail from an old employer about how I was in their pension plan when I didn't know. No idea if the PO would have forwarded. /shrug