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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Walk into the DMV, and the one thing a lot of us might worry about is how our pictures might look on our licenses. But Pennsylvania state Rep. Robert Matzie, D-16, of Beaver and Allegheny Counties, is now raising other concerns after watching an Eyewitness News investigation into PennDOT’s data-selling program, which aired last month.
That’s when we revealed how PennDOT sells a driver’s name, address and driving history. Last fiscal year, PennDOT made more than $43 million. PennDOT says it uses the money to fix roads and bridges, but many drivers are not aware their information is being sold.
According to audits into the program, which were first uncovered by Eyewitness News last month, some businesses were buying drivers’ information but not properly handling it. That includes a company that was “providing PennDOT driver record information to a third party… Which could result in misuse.”
“The underlying problem is third parties,” Matzie said.
Matzie now wants to introduce a bill in the fall session to change the law. His bill would give drivers more control over their information.
“The government should not be in the business of selling this information,” he said. “With your reporting and bringing it back to my attention, I think we need to look at an opt-out provision.”
Alexis Campbell, a community relations coordinator with PennDOT, declined to comment on camera but wrote in a statement, “Customers do opt-in. Driver records are not accessed unless the customer has initiated a transaction (applied for employment, insurance, credit, etc.).”
Campbell went on to write, “There is no scenario where a person’s record is accessed when the customer doesn’t start this process in the first place. Customers, potential employees or employees should ensure they understand why the entity is asking for their driver’s license number or a copy of their driver’s license, and how that information will be used. I want to stress the customer must initiate some sort of transaction with a company (applied for employment, credit, insurance, etc.), before their record is requested.”
But Matzie said drivers, who may be applying for a job, are likely unaware they’re opting into a program where their information is being sold. He also believes PennDOT should do a better job at informing people their information may be sold.
PennDOT also told Eyewitness News third parties that receive driver-record information from PennDOT’s seven wholesalers are prohibited from selling the information.