Parking Tickets Violated Privacy

Court says Illinois town must stop turning citations into identity-theft bait


In a surprise move, the Seventh US Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a panel of its own judges and a lower court in order to protect the privacy of motorists. Jason M. Senne filed suit against Palatine, Illinois after the village slapped a $20 parking ticket to his car on August 20, 2010. The notice listed his name, address, driver's license number, date of birth, sex, height and weight for any passersby to read. It also included full details on his automobile, including the VIN.

Senne insisted disclosing this information on his windshield constituted a violation of the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act which prohibits release of information found in motor vehicle records. In July 2011, a split three-judge panel decided that Congress allowed disclosure of such information for "service of process" and allowed Palatine to continue its practices (view decision). Senne appealed to the entire Seventh Circuit, and the full court was persuaded.