JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As if you needed another reason to dread going to the DMV, it turns out the state makes a killing selling your personal information.
That’s according to a recent WFTS-TV investigation, which found that in 2017 the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles generated more than $77 million from selling people’s data to third parties such as debt collection agencies, insurance carriers and marketers.
The news station uncovered records that suggest over 30 companies purchased Floridians’ personal data. Among them was Acxiom, a marketing firm headquartered in Arkansas, which bought data from the DHSMV for prices as low as a "penny a record."
Incidentally, the price tag to find out just how much money the agency makes off marketers was much steeper. In response to a public records request, WFTS received a quote for almost $3,000.
This is nothing new. A 2016 report by Tampa’s FOX 13 determined the agency "sells driver records in bulk…without thoroughly vetting the companies" involved. At the time, the news station estimated the state collected roughly $150 million over a two-year span.
Worse yet, there’s no avenue available to drivers who would prefer to keep their information from being sold, a state spokesperson told WFTS via email:
"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."
In Florida, your driver's license and crash history are considered public. While some records including your address and phone number are protected by law, the government and private companies can seek access. To learn more, visit the DHSMV's website.
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