Aug 082012
 August 8, 2012  Posted by  Breaches, Court, Featured News

In September 2010, I blogged about a case in Palatine, Illinois after Jason Senne sued the village for the amount of personal information it needlessly exposed in a parking ticket left on his windshield. Some of the original court filings were linked from that blog entry. In August 2011, the district court ruled that the practice did not violate the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.   Mr. Senne appealed, but a panel of the appellate court affirmed.

Not giving up, Mr. Senne requested re-hearing en banc and the full court agreed with him:

Mr. Senne’s appeal requires that we examine the scope of the DPPA’s protection of personal information contained in motor vehicle records and the reach of its statutory exceptions. We now conclude that the parking ticket at issue here did constitute a disclosure regulated by the DPPA, and we further agree with Mr. Senne that, at this stage of the litigation, the facts as alleged are sufficient to state a claim that the disclosure on his parking ticket exceeded that permitted by the statute. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


On appeal, the Village contends that the placement of the citation on Mr. Senne’s windshield was permitted under the statute either because the disclosure was “[f]or use by a[] . . . law enforcement agency[] in carrying out its functions,” id. § 2721(b)(1), or “[f]or use in connection with any civil[] . . . [or] administrative[] . . . proceeding . . ., including the service of process,” id. § 2721(b)(4).11 The Village does not describe in any length how all the information printed on the ticket served either purpose; instead, it maintains, in effect, that the statute does not require that analysis. In the Village’s view, as long as it can identify a subsection of the law under which some disclosure is permitted, any disclosure of information otherwise protected by the statute is exempt, whether it serves an identified pur- pose or not.

We cannot accept the Village’s position.

You can read the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in full here. It’s a privacy-protecting interpretation of DPPA that affirms that unnecessary disclosures of personal information are not permitted by the statute.

Great thanks to Venkat Balasubramani for alerting to me this latest development.

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