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DVLA makes £44m flogging drivers' details

The great government data giveaway, if you've got the cash...

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The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has sold more than 18 million names and addresses of drivers since it started the trade five years ago.

Most of the names go to clamping companies and other private parking firms, although the DVLA was keen to stress to us today that it does not make a profit from the trade. It also said the information does not only go to dodgy clamping firms.

Figures from the Daily Mail reveal the government agency has made £43.9m by selling the data culled from 18 million entries.

The DVLA charges £2.50 per address, and the most common request is from private parking companies pursuing people for payments.

There was a large row last year after engine oil firm Castrol did a deal to use number plate recognition technology coupled with data mined from the DVLA database to show personalised posters to drivers.

Castrol hoped to roll out the billboards more widely, but after four days there were so many complaints that the scheme was abandoned. The DVLA said at the time it would investigate and that its data should not be used for marketing purposes.

The DVLA said it only releases information to someone like the police, who have a statutory right to it, or to someone who has reasonable cause to request it such as someone who has suffered material loss or injury. The statement added that unauthorised parking on private land was a big problem, and without DVLA data landowners would have a tough time "enforcing their rights".

The DVLA also made clear it does not profit from the sales - £2.50 simply covers the cost of processing requests. ®

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