Brickbats

Brickbat: Your Data Are Safe with Us

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles made $52 million is fiscal year 2017-2018 selling data to private firms that drivers are required to provide to get a driver's license. The California DMV didn't provide the names of the companies it sold the data to, but Vice reports that the DMV said the firms may "include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and prospective employers."

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  1. Hurrrrrrrrrrrrr if you don’t like it just don’t get a license derpa herp durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    -Reason when this happens 50,000 times a day with ””””’private””””” web monopolists.

    1. Yes, drive without a license. Great plan. To avoid government exploitation commit a crime.

    2. Except unlike government the other “monopolies” are not actually monopolies, they have competitors

    3. Needs more scarequotes

  2. Information is only released pursuant to legislative direction…

    Legislative direction to make money off our taxpayers any way possible.

    1. “We were just following orders”.

  3. They probably expect that their databases will be hacked at some point anyway, so why not make some bucks out of it.

  4. Citizens are the property if the state, so what’s the problem?

  5. Actual article: The California Department of Motor Vehicles is generating revenue of $50,000,000 a year through selling drivers’ personal information

    Reason reporting: The California Department of Motor Vehicles made $52 million is fiscal year 2017-2018 selling data to private firms that drivers are required to provide to get a driver’s license.

    For shame! Reason knows better than to conflate earnings and revenues in this way, especially when it comes to government – you know damn well the program undoubtedly cost something north of 50 mil to operate and the state not only didn’t “make” any money on the deal, they lost money on it. They’re not just crooks, they’re incompetent crooks. (And – as always – be grateful for their incompetence, you really don’t want to see competent crooks.)

    1. Reason also neglected to mention the likelihood of undeclared revenue generated by DMV employees with database access providing data or access to others informally. Guaranteed, that’s all profit.

  6. Wow – so if you wonder why you get 10+ spam calls on your phone each day, you can thank government.

  7. Government agency spending should be 100% dependent on taxpayer funding. If there is money that can be made it should be left to the private sector where competition will increase efficiencies.

    Taxpayer funding at least provides some control over the excesses of government.

    1. Government agency spending should be 100% dependent on taxpayer funding.

      Er, I think it would be better if they can figure out how to be funded through purely voluntary means, thanks.

      1. Great point.

        We should have congress propose initiatives that are placed on a kickstarter like site and if they are fully funded voluntarily, only then should we move forward.

  8. At risk of being rational here, why is it evil for the DMV to sell information to a prospective employer? If your job is, for example, to drive a school bus, I think it’s pretty reasonable for the employer to confirm that you’re actually licensed to do that job.

    Likewise, an insurer has a legitimate reason to ask how many tickets you’ve had in the past few years. That’s a really good predictor of how likely you are to get in an accident – and that’s a really good predictor of how much you should pay for your insurance premiums. And, to be blunt, asking you to self-report your ticket history is an unreasonable conflict of interest. That’s not fair to you or to the insurer.

    And if it’s reasonable to employers and insurance carriers to buy targeted reports, why is it unreasonable for the DMV to get reimbursed for those reports? Why would you expect taxpayers to give that data away for free?

    1. And if it’s reasonable to employers and insurance carriers to buy targeted reports, why is it unreasonable for the DMV to get reimbursed for those reports? Why would you expect taxpayers to give that data away for free?

      I mean, I’m in favor of radical transparency† anyway, so I think most of that stuff should be in publicly searchable databases anyway, with the mainteannce and development costs being tax-funded.

      But if we aren’t going that far (yet), then the state should probably do a better job of acknowledging how and why it’s selling your information. If it’s just a background-check thing, where the “revenue” is a nominal fee to pull and provide a record in a secure manner, then that’s fine. If they’re selling lists of of people to advertisers (“Hey Ford, guess who just got their first license this year and has a Malibu zip code. All yours for nine easy payments of $9.99!”) that’s probably not fine. But more transparency will help.
      ________
      †Simply put, I have zero faith that “privacy” is going to exist in 30 years, so we may as well get ahead of it and decide what our fully-transparent society is going to look like, rather then just suffering as it happens organically.

  9. Let me guess, the California Consumer Privacy Act doesn’t apply to the DMV because drivers aren’t classed as “consumers”.

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