MIAMI (CBSMiami) — U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is asking the federal government to investigate Florida’s practice of selling residents’ personal information to private companies.
Nelson sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday saying he is concerned that the state might be violating the law in selling the personal information of more than 15 million licensed drivers in Florida without their consent.
“In this new era, when identity thieves are causing real damage to millions of hardworking families, the fact that the state is making a profit by selling Floridians’ personal information on the open market is simply unconscionable,” Nelson wrote.
In response, the department released this statement: The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) does not sell driver or motor vehicle information. Driver or motor vehicle information is produced as required by the Federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and Florida’s public records laws.
In the letter, he asked the Department of Justice to investigate whether the state is violating the Driver’s Privacy Act of 1994 by doing this.
The Driver’s Privacy Act of 1994 was brought about to protect Americans’ personal information after a fan murdered 21-year old actress Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989. The fan had tracked down her information using her California driver registration records. The act prevents the state from selling someone’s personal information to a private company for marketing purposes without that person’s consent. It does, however, allow for the state to sell the information for statistical analysis.