No one enjoys visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles with their endless wait and never-ending lines. Once you finally get to a live person at the front desk, you find that you don’t have the required paperwork. It’s just an all-around bad experience for most people. And it has just gotten worse.
According to Motherboard, who obtained documents from public records requests, the DMV in numerous states has been selling your private data to private investigators, research companies and credit reporting agencies to the tune of millions of dollars.
The hundred-plus page document revealed that the Virginia DMV has sold data to 109 private investigator firms, and the New Jersey DMV sold data to 16 private investigator firms, Fox News reported.
IntegrityOhio.com is one private investigator firm that purchased data from the DMV in the past.
The mission statement on their website states: “You need to learn what they’ve been doing, when they’ve been doing it, who they’ve been doing it with and how long it has been going on. You need to see proof with your own eyes,” speaking about the possibility of infidelity.
Many of these private investigator firms wanted license information to aid in their surveillance and information gathering.
The Wisconsin DMV, who perhaps may have sold the most private data, made more than $17 million selling information obtained when getting or renewing a license.
Motherboard reported that most Americans are completely unaware this is even happening. Erica Olsen, director of Safety Net at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, explained that this could end up hurting someone who is trying to flee from an abusive partner.
“The selling of personally-identifying information to third parties is broadly a privacy issue for all and specifically a safety issue for survivors of abuse, including domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking,” she told Motherboard.
Several DMVs on the now-infamous list proclaimed they do not sell photo identification or social security numbers, but there is no way of determining the validity of that.