A new report from Vice claims that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is making over $50 million a year selling drivers’ personal information to anyone from insurance companies to private investigators. And it looks like California isn’t the only state making tens of millions a year off of your sensitive data.
According to Motherboard, Vice’s tech reporting division, state DMVs across the country are selling drivers’ personal information to thousands of businesses and individuals. Following up on an initial report published in September, Vice submitted public records act requests to California’s DMV.
The documents Vice received in response showed that in FY 13/14, California made $41,562,735 from selling driver information. That number has grown over the years and in FY 18/19, revenues from selling that data reached $51,626,162.
“The DMV takes its obligation to protect personal information very seriously,” said a CA DMV representative. “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.”
But while the DMV says it has cut off companies for misusing the data, it’s not clear where the line is.
Vice reports that recipients of the data could reportedly include anyone from credit agencies, insurance companies, prospective employers, debt collectors, private investigators who are hired to find out if a spouse is cheating, and more.
According to the Vice report, it appears that “multiple states” are making tens of millions of dollars a year from the sale of drivers’ personal data.