Florida DMV makes millions selling Floridians' data…for pennies (and you can't opt out)

Axciom buys records from Florida's DMV (which include non-driver IDs) at $0.01/each.

They're just one of many, many data-brokers who buy data from the state's DMV. So many, in fact, that the state turned over $77m in data-sales in 2017.

These get sold for bill collection and insurance purposes, and are not supposed to be used for marketing, but these are data brokers and so they sell the data on, and then the data gets sold again, and again.

We know that at least some of that data gets abused, turned into fodder for repeated robocalls and direct-mail solicitations, because of Sonia Arvin's experience with her developmentally disabled sister, who moved to Florida from Idaho to live with her. Sonia took her sister to get a non-driver ID so she could apply for Medicaid, and shortly thereafter, was inundated with direct mail, robocalls, and salespeople ringing their doorbells. Sonia's sister can't read or write and is not registered in any other databases, apart from Florida's DMV.

A lawyer who represents data-brokers told WFTS that buying public data is the cheapest way to acquire it.

Miami attorney Al Saikali, who advises his clients how to legally and ethically use public data for commercial purposes, said his clients are increasingly using public records laws to obtain information for a cheap price.

"We're only going to see this continue over time. Companies are going to continue to seek more data about you," Saikali said. "Companies are essentially paying for information, for leads, for lead generation."

Saikali said consumers can limit the number of marketers contacting them by setting up a secondary email account to give government agencies — which are only checked periodically for renewal notices and other important information — and only giving a telephone number to government agencies when it's necessary.

A state spokesperson said there's no way for drivers to opt-out if they don't want their personal information sold.

"The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides public records as legally required, in accordance with federal and state law, and as a necessary function in order for customers to efficiently conduct everyday business. The department has successfully instituted proactive security measures to ensure customer information is protected and any misuse of customer information will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law."

Florida selling drivers' personal info to private companies [WFTS]