BUFFALO, NY - There are new concerns about an issue 2 On Your Side has covered plenty — the sale of your personal information by the DMV.
Doing it is legal, but one Western New Yorker reached out to us and he says it's becoming a real problem for him.
Mike from Lockport wrote us on Facebook saying he keeps getting vehicle ads in the mail and wants the ads to stop. He says he calls the dealerships, telling them to take him off their mailing list.
"Time and time again I am told they buy mailing addresses from the DMV. How is it legal for the DMV to sell my address information?" he said.
On its website, the DMV disputes that it's able to sell addresses, under the Drivers Privacy Protection Act. But, it does say it can sell vehicle registration information, details about traffic accidents and traffic violations and the status of a driver's license.
The DMV says it gives this information to specific agencies including bus and insurance companies, researchers, and car manufacturers to improve public safety. It says it releases the info under certain circumstances, such as when businesses are trying to verify information someone sends to them during a lawsuit or for research.
"We hope that we're going to raise awareness on this and that this practice will stop immediately," said then-Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs two years ago, raising concerns about the DMV possibly giving out addresses and birth dates.
2 On Your Side's Jeff Preval called Jacobs — who is now a state senator — to talk about any legislation he's put forward to further regulate the DMV but we were told he wasn't available.
2 On Your Side did receive this statement from Paul Pfeiffer, a spokesperson for Jacobs: "Senator Jacobs has long fought to protect citizens' rights to keep their DMV information private. This includes putting the DMV on notice that they are violating their own regulations by not providing all New York State drivers the right to "opt-out" from their data being sold to private entities. Senator Jacobs is a supporter of legislation currently in the Transportation Committee to limit access to personal information contained in motor vehicle records, and will continue to advocate for its approval when the legislative session resumes."
We were also told the senator is supportive of a bill, Senator Patrick Gallivan introduced last session that would require the DMV to notify drivers when their vehicle registration information is disclosed and how to go about getting that information deleted from the third party's file.
It didn't go to a vote, but it could next year.
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