16:54 GMT15 August 2020
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    Pennsylvania is making more than $1 million by selling its residents’ driving records to private companies throughout the country, according to an investigative report.

    Pennsylvania has been making more than $157 million by selling driver’s license records to private companies and government agencies since 2010, according to an investigative report by NBC10.

    The report indicates PennDOT sold personal information and drivers’’ records to customers in every state in the US. The more than 32,000 recipients include car dealerships, insurance companies, and credit agencies. The merchandise includes names, addresses and driver histories.

    "It doesn’t belong to whoever runs PennDOT. That information is mine,” Pennsylvania driver Albert Lopez told NBC10.

    Lopez’s address and phone number are unlisted. He also pays for software that blocks online ads and protects his browser history. However, solicitors still found him.

    PennDOT deputy secretary Kurt Myers said companies sign contracts with PennDOT agreeing to use this information for only legal activities like conducting background checks. He says he’s not aware of any case of solicitation or identity theft tied to the sale of Pennsylvania driver records.

    "There’s always risk whenever information is being exchanged,” said Tiffany George of the Federal Trade Commission. “Giving them [residents] notice and allowing them to opt out gives them a chance to take themselves out of the information loop.”

    PennDOT doesn’t allow residents to opt out.

    NBC10 reported that PennDOT would likely be unaware if these crimes take place. Since 2010, it has performed only one audit to determine whether a company was using drivers’ records legally. 

    The audit of Sterling Info. System found the firm was "was reselling PennDOT driver records." Myers said Sterling lost its access to records.

    PennDOT now plans to audit other companies buying drivers’ records. Governor Wolf’s office said auditors have been added to PennDOT’s staff. 

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    Tags:
    privacy, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Kurt Myers, Albert Lopez, Pennsylvania
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