The Journal Gazette
Saturday, November 27, 2021 1:00 am

BMV profits from info on drivers

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

An Indianapolis TV news investigation revealed this week the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been sharing drivers' personal information not only with other government agencies and law enforcement, but also private businesses. According to CBS4 in Indianapolis, the BMV has made $43 million since 2018 selling “enhanced access” to tow companies, automotive dealers, lawyers, security firms and more.

State law authorizes the BMV to “authorize the permissible use of personal information by verified entities who qualify under Indiana statutory standards,” according to a spokesperson at the agency. “Any information available is based upon the requester and the intended use of the data.”

A federal law – the Driver's Privacy Protection Law – restricts how much information state agencies can disclose, but it includes 14 exceptions.

“It's kind of a Swiss cheese law,” Scott Shackelford, a faculty member at Indiana University Kelley School of Business and chair of the Cybersecurity Risk Management Program, told CBS4.

“My guess is that most people don't realize.”

According to the BMV, revenue generated by the sale of information goes primarily to the agency's technology fund, used to support maintenance and ongoing upgrades to infrastructure, databases and, ironically, security.

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