Pennsylvania bill would rein in sale of drivers' personal information

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/27/2016

Access to drivers’ personal information is the topic of a piece of legislation at the Pennsylvania statehouse.

Rep. Robert Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said his bill covers a three-year old Pennsylvania law that permits third parties to sell personal information for profit. The data used by insurance companies and others covers drivers, registrations, titles and security interests. The information can be dealt to other individuals and businesses for an unspecified fee, without the payment of any additional fee to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

As a result, Matzie says third parties profit directly from the sale of driver and vehicle information.

To make matters worse, Matzie refers to a Pennsylvania Office of the Budget audit that revealed one of the vendors being sold personal data has not followed the security procedures set up by the state. He said overlooking security procedures is potentially putting drivers’ personal information at risk.

Matzie stated in a news release that the vendor in question was “unable to provide assurance that their customers and data centers have implemented controls adequate to ensure that personal driver record information is safeguarded.”

To help safeguard information from millions of transactions each year, his bill would limit the resale of drivers’ data. Specifically, third parties would no longer be able to sell personal driver and vehicle information for profit. PennDOT would also be forbidden to impose an additional fee to pay for state web services.

“The residents of this commonwealth are being asked to pay for transportation funding and this legislation ensures that any revenue generated from the sale of personal driver and vehicle information will be dedicated solely to transportation projects,” Matzie wrote in a memo to lawmakers.

The bill, HB2039, is in the House Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.

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