04 Apr DVLA – A reckless release of customer data
The personal details of more than 7000 drivers have been sold by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to a convicted criminal to be used by his company.
The DVLA promised to monitor sales of such information in the wake of a similar action some seven years ago when personal data was sold to a wheel clamping firm run by two convicted criminals. In 2005 the government promised a clamp down on such sale of details to criminals and the DVLA said it would start checking for criminal records of applicants in the future.
The release of data recently included the names and addresses of drivers provided to a parking enforcement company just weeks after the company admitted several criminal offences in court. The agency knew that the company and its boss had been fined a considerable amount after they were found guilty of “recklessly unfair treatment” to motorists last year but still sold on the information.
Nearly 5 million names and addresses have been sold on by the DVLA in the past year for £2.50 each without checking out what the information would be used for. Many of the firms that had access to the information had been suspended from doing so because of their wrongdoing or bankruptcy.
Income from the sale of personal data by the DVLA has now reached over £20 million. Labour MP Anne McGuire said that due diligence should be carried out on the companies or individuals who requested this information before they were allowed to access it.
The sale of data to companies has increased 3 fold since 2006 and fees are due to be increased in an effort to plug a hole in DVLA finances of £100 million. One of the companies that bought data have broken DVLA rules and sold the information on, whilst another has gone into bankruptcy; they do not know where the data is that they bought from the DVLA.
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