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Florida’s DMV is selling drivers’ personal information to bill collectors and data brokers

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles made more than $77 million for driver and ID cardholder information sales in fiscal 2017.

Florida’s DMV is selling drivers’ personal information to bill collectors and data brokers
[Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash]

An investigation by ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa Bay, Florida has found that the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is selling the personal details of Florida drivers to outside companies–and they’re making millions doing it.

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WFTS obtained records showing the Florida DMV sold information on Florida drivers and ID cardholders to over 30 private companies, including bill collectors, data brokers, marketing firms, and insurance companies. Data brokers then generally go on to resell the information they’ve bought. WFTS says the records show that the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles made more than $77 million for driver and ID cardholder information sales in fiscal 2017.

One Florida resident told WFTS that just days after her intellectually disabled sister got a Florida ID, she began getting direct mail offers for lawn service, credit cards, cell phones, and insurance, as well as constant robocalls.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has said it’s since opened an investigation into the matter. While the FHSMV can legally sell driver and ID cardholder data to third parties, those parties are not allowed to use that information for marketing. WFTS further found out that some of these third-party companies were buying data on Florida residents for as little as one penny a person. And the worst news? A state spokesperson told WFTS there’s no way for Florida residents to opt out if they don’t want their personal information sold:

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides public records as legally required, in accordance with federal and state law, and as a necessary function in order for customers to efficiently conduct everyday business. The department has successfully instituted proactive security measures to ensure customer information is protected and any misuse of customer information will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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