California DMV Makes Over $50 Million Selling Driver Data to Private Businesses, Investigation Underway
In this day and age, it’s almost expected that companies are going to sell our data. It’s become so commonplace that it’s in almost every terms of service agreement that we sign. In many cases, to these big companies, our data is much more valuable, even, than the service they’re selling us. One organization that we probably wouldn’t expect to profit off of consumer data, though, would be the US Government.
The California DMV is the latest company that has been storied to get busted selling people’s personal information to companies. Information most would probably expect to be private has allegedly generated quite a bit of revenue for the DMV.
In a public records act request, VICE found that the California Department of Motor Vehicles was selling drivers’ personal records. These records were said to include car registration, physical addresses, and even people’s names. The DMV reportedly made a whopping $50,000,000+ off the information. What did they do with the money? That information wasn’t disclosed.
The VICE article cites companies like LexisNexis and consumer credit reporting agency Experian” as potential clients or customers if you will. They also made mention of data sales to private investigators as well. These are the sorts of individuals who might be hired to do something such as find out if a spouse is cheating.
The California DMV reported directly to vice that requesters “may include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and prospective employers.”
They join the likes of Facebook, AT&T, Sprint, and T-mobile as notable companies selling your personal information. This is, however, the first government organization that has been caught selling personal information, to our knowledge.
There’s certainly no secret as to how this might be perceived as a massive conflict of interest. The government is supposed to be there to support the people, not profit off of them.