Photo: Carl Lender via flickr
The state of Florida has been selling its database of driver information to private investigators and research services for years with last year’s sale bringing in almost $63 million.Reported by News Channel 5 in Tampa, the state sells nearly all the information on every licence including birthdates and drivers licence numbers.
For 1 cent per file, Florida delivers its data to 10 companies: Acxiom Information Securities Service, Inc., Choice Point, E-Funds, Explore Information Services, LexisNexis, Line Barge, Goggan, Blair, & Simpson, Inc., SC Services, ShadowSoft, TLO LLC, and West Services Inc.
The state isn’t allowed to sell driver information to the general public — the people who buy the data do that.
On the ShadowSoft affiliated website PublicData.com a user pays a fee, clicks a box confirming the data won’t be used illegally, and gains full access to a trove of personal information.
According to PublicData’s website its express purpose is to “[Make] access to public records easy and inexpensive” and it “purchases all of its data from various governments”.
Channel 5 tracked down the ShadowSoft contract and mentions the legal battle that failed to stop the sales.
A group of Florida citizens sued to shut down the state’s deal with ShadowSoft. This spring, a judge ruled that the sale of driver’s licence information is legal and does not violate the Drivers’ Privacy Protection Act. The lawyer who filed the lawsuit tells the I-Team right now, there are no plans to appeal.
Passed in 1994 following the murder of Rebecca Schaffer by an obsessed fan, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act doesn’t prohibit the sale as long as it’s to a “legitimate” person or business.
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