DVLA's 5m driver details giveaway

Sale of driver details is out of control

Deja-Datapocalypse The DVLA's sale of driver details to anyone with £2.50 to spare must stop, says the Scottish National Party, having uncovered just how many peoples' records have been sold by the department.

Christine Grahame, an SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament, accused the agency of recklessly handing out driver and vehicle requests to private companies.

Grahame used a Freedom of Information request to discover the DVLA has sold 5.3m driver records since 2002/2003 when it was first allowed to sell the data.

She accused the department of failing to check up on the companies it sells the records to and demanded a government review of the practice. Private firms with "reasonable cause" can buy individual records for £2.50 each. If you want more than who the keeper of a vehicle was at a specific time - like a copy of documents or extra information about the vehicle's keeper - the DVLA will charge you £5.

Last year the DVLA sold 1.3m records to private companies - a 54 per cent increase in five years. Grahame made the FOI request because several of her constituents were wrongly sent fines from private parking companies demanding payment. She said letters were written in a way which left people frightened and intimidated.

Grahame said: "These companies obtained personal information by making a simple application to the DVLA who, in my view, recklessly disclosed personal details that led to my constituents being falsely sent fine notices.

“Many of these private firms are extremely difficult to contact and fail to operate fair and independent appeals processes. In all the cases I have dealt with it has subsequently emerged that incorrect fine notices were issued by the company."

Grahame added: "The reckless disclosure of personal driver information by the DVLA amounts to information piracy by a major government agency holding millions of records on private individuals." She said the DVLA, already under fire for misplacing three million records, is giving away just as much information "through the front door" as it is losing accidentally via the back door.

We rang the DVLA to get their side of the story and they said they were working on a line... We'll update the story when we hear from them.

The figures in full:

2002-03 868,385

2003-04 889,663

2004-05 960,560

2005-06 1,264,284

2006-07 1,343,903

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