California DMV Rakes In $50 Million Per Year Selling Personal Information

The California DMV has been selling the personal information of registered drivers to the tune of $50 million per year, according to a DMV document obtained by Motherboard.

In a previous investigation, Motherboard found DMVs in other states have been selling non-optional information drivers must provide in order to obtain a license, such as names, physical addresses and car registration information.

And while California didn't disclose exactly who they're selling to, other states were making a handy profit from customers which include data broker LexisNexis, Experian, private investigators and others.

In a public record acts request, Motherboard asked the California DMV for the total dollar amounts paid by commercial requesters of data for the past six years. The responsive document shows the total revenue in financial year 2013/14 as $41,562,735, before steadily climbing to $52,048,236 in the financial year 2017/18. -Motherboard

The California DMV told Motherboard that requestors may include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and prospective employers.

When asked if the DMV relied on this revenue, public information officer Marty Greenstein wrote that the revenue is applied to highway and public safety "including availability of insurance, risk assessment, vehicle safety recalls, traffic studies, emissions research, background checks, and for pre- and existing employment purposes."

"The DMV takes its obligation to protect personal information very seriously. Information is only released pursuant to legislative direction, and the DMV continues to review its release practices to ensure information is only released to authorized persons/entities and only for authorized purposes. The DMV also audits requesters to ensure proper audit logs are maintained and that employees are trained in the protection of DMV information and anyone having access to this information sign a security document," he added.

So, who exactly is California selling drivers' non-optional information to?