Feeds

DVLA: A licence to bill

Selling your data to... well, anyone

Top three mobile application threats

Why worry about the government losing your data, when for a small fee they’ll cheerfully hand it over to criminals and big business anyway?

The question of when, how and to whom the DVLA ought to pass out your personal data is one that has surfaced at regular intervals, ever since the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 required the Agency to release information to anybody who demonstrates "reasonable cause".

The law does not provide further definition, but the DVLA has tended to release information in response to issues around road safety, the enforcement of road traffic legislation and the collection of taxes. In addition, they have been releasing data to a variety of agencies responsible for enforcing private parking restrictions.

The issue resurfaced last week, when a 24-year-old motorist received a demand from car park operators Parking Eye for £80 for overstaying the two-hour car parking limit at Lymm Services on the M6 in Cheshire. Her crime? Rather than drive whilst tired, she took a (too long) break in the near-empty car park just before 1am one morning.

Cue a BBC feature setting out concerns, followed by rebuttals from the DVLA and Department for Transport to the effect that they are only following the law, not making money from the scheme, and doing their best to weed out individuals who abuse their service.

The service is straightforward. For a flat fee of £2.50 (and reasonable cause) any individual can obtain details of the owner and their address for a given registration number. For £5, they receive additional details. For £3,000, large-scale users can be linked to the DVLA database and download details (still at £2.50 a throw) in the privacy of their own office.

The DVLA is adamant that this scheme does not make money - the charge is merely there to cover admin costs. However, as requests for details have almost doubled in the last five years to 1.64 million in 2007/8, this claim does not quite stack up – especially if online access is becoming more common. Either the service was under-priced when first launched, or the admin fee ought to have come down with economies of scale.

The DVLA also points out that it has banned companies that have abused the scheme: 4 have been temporarily suspended in the last 18 months.

Somewhere in the background is the slosh of firm hand-washing by the Office of the Information Commissioner. A spokesperson for their Office said: "This is primarily a matter for DVLA … If there is appropriate evidence that DVLA has provided vehicle keepers’ details without good cause, we will take the issue up with them, as we have done in the past."

In other words, "our hands are tied".

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.