Nov 102009
 November 10, 2009  Breaches, Court

Annie Youderian reports:

The 7th Circuit dismissed an invasion-of-privacy class action filed by Illinois citizens who submitted voter registration forms at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The complaint flunks the “duck test,” Judge Terence Evans wrote, because the lead plaintiff “says, in effect, that if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it sure as heck isn’t a duck.”

Lead plaintiff Joseph Lake said his personal information was leaked after he filled out a registration form, which he submitted with his application for a driver’s license.

A man named Peter Zelchenko allegedly obtained Lake’s name, date of birth, sex, address, phone number and Social Security number by simply asking the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners for it.

Lake argued that this violated the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, which allows suits against anyone “who knowingly obtains, discloses or uses personal information, from a motor vehicle record” for illegal purposes.

But Lake’s claim hinged on whether the voter registration form constitutes a “motor vehicle record” under the Act – or, as Judge Evans put it, whether the creature that walks, swims and quacks like a duck is, in fact, a duck.

The court ruled that it wasn’t, upholding the lower court’s dismissal of the case.

Read more on Courthouse News. Court’s decision here (pdf).

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