Local News

Can the DMV Be Trusted With Your Name?

Posted Updated
Before new legislation became effective, the DMV was selling names and addresses to anyone who had $250.
RALEIGH — When someone gets a driver's license or renews a vehicle registration, he expects the information he gives to be keptconfidential, but that's not the case. The North Carolina Department ofMotor Vehicles sells names, making millions of dollars in the process.

The state made about $48 million last year selling personalinformation. For $250, a company or individual can go to the DMV andpurchase a list of about 3,000 names and addresses. An additional 1,000names costs $20 more.

A new law that would attempt to curb that release of information wentinto effect in September, but it has many loopholes. DMV spokespersonMitzi Powell says anyone who wanted the information, and who had themoney, could get it before last September 13.

Now, those who want such information must fill out and sign formssaying they will not try to contact anyone they get information on. Powellsays all that means is that, if a person is willing to sign the formsayinghe won't try to contact the people on it, he can still getthe information he wants.

Powell says, once the paying customer has the list, the DMV has nocontrol over what is done with it.

Another problem is that some companies may not even know they arebreaking the law, especially if they obtained their lists before the newlegislation went into effect.

In addition, no one seems to know what type of determination theattorney general would make if they were to find someone breaking the newlaw.

Photographer:Joe Frieda

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.