Fla. driver info given to firms for $150M sparks call for U.S. probe

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on Friday asked the federal government to investigate Florida’s handling of drivers’ personal information amid reports at least 75 companies paid $150 million to get data about more than 15 million drivers with limited vetting or oversight in the past two years.

“In this new era, when identity thieves are causing real damage to millions of hardworking families, the fact that the state is making a profit by selling Floridians’ personal information on the open market is simply unconscionable,” the Florida Democrat wrote in a letter sent Friday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

A state agency overseeing driver records took issue with the term “sell,” maintaining it was following laws that govern the release of public records. Access to such records can involve fees provided by law to process and provide the records.

“The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles does not sell driver or motor vehicle information,” said executive director Terry L. Rhodes in a statement. “Driver or motor vehicle information is produced as required by the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act and Florida’s public records laws.”

Nelson’s letter says the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 was enacted to protect Americans’ personal information after the brutal murder of Rebecca Schaeffer, a 21-year old actress killed in 1989 by a fan who tracked her down using her California driver registration records. The act prevents a state from selling someone’s personal information to a private company for marketing purposes without their express consent, Nelson wrote.

But an investigation by Tampa’s WTVT-FOX13 found drivers reported receiving unsolicited direct marketing efforts citing information they believed came from department records.

 

Reader Comments 0

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS