Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/19/dvla_sells_you_down_river/

DVLA makes £6.5m selling addresses

Keen to 'look after' ID card database...

By John Oates

Posted in Policy, 19th June 2006 13:58 GMT

The government has promised to have another look at regulations which allowed the DVLA to make almost £6.5m last year by selling drivers' addresses.

The figure emerged thanks to a Parliamentary answer which revealed the agency made £6.36m from April 2005 to March 2006 by selling drivers' addresses for £2.50 each. Which means about 2.5m people had their address sold.

A government review has received over 100 responses and transport minister Dr Ladyman said he is keen to act as soon as possible.

Some of the addresses were sold to legitimate businesses and car parks.

Just under 160 private firms are authorised to get the information. These range from hire purchase companies, car park owners, clamping companies to credit companies like MBNA Europe*.

Some were sold to convicted criminals. In late 2005 the Mail on Sunday discovered the DVLA was selling information to a firm whose two directors were serving seven years in prison for extorting money from motorists. Aquarius Security, based in Portsmouth, lost two directors when they were convicted of blackmail for the way they ran their clamping business. One director already had an ASBO for driving his van into a 60-year old man and clamping a police car.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas last month called for harsher penalties for people trading in private information. He is calling for sentences of up to two years to fight the trade.®

Bootnote: MBNA contacted us to say: "MBNA does not buy addresses from the DVLA. We registered with them some time ago due to a car being abandoned on our premises as we were trying to track down the owner. This is the only interaction we have had with the DVLA."