From an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times:
In a four-month investigation, Tampa TV station WTVT-Fox 13 found that the DHSMV sells private driver records in bulk to more than 75 companies, despite federal and state laws deeming the information confidential. The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, passed in 1994, says state motor vehicle agencies cannot disclose personal information “without the express consent of the person to whom such information applies.” Florida passed its own law a few years later. Personal information is defined as photographs, Social Security numbers, driver identification numbers, names, addresses, phone numbers, and medical or disability information. There are exceptions for government agencies carrying out official functions, private investigators, research activities and statistical reports, and some private businesses as long as the information is only used for verification purposes. Bulk distribution of personal information for marketing or solicitation is permitted only with the individual’s express consent.
Fox 13 found that the DHSMV sells personal information about Florida’s 15.5 million licensed drivers and 18 million registered vehicles to private vendors, including two major data brokers. The state claims it vets the companies to ensure they are entitled to the information under one of the law’s exemptions — but that vetting is limited to checking that the companies have business registration in Florida, the department told Fox 13. What’s more, the state has no way to keep the information from being handed off or resold to third parties.
Read the full editorial on the Tampa Bay Times. Given that Florida is a veritable hotbed of identity theft, you’d think the state and legislature would be looking to crack down on the sale of personal information that can be used to support an identity theft scheme.