Driver’s Privacy Protection Act

National Police Training
August 16, 2013 — 5,358 views  
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Everyone has the right to privacy, whether they are at work or at home. Privacy is a human right which allows you to seclude yourself or something about yourself and to limit access by others. This does not only mean physical seclusion but also includes information and relational seclusion. People have a tendency to violate this privacy to gain information about something or someone. There is some information that should not be shared with the entire world and people should be aware of that.

People tend to give away information without knowing who else has access to it. Registering your personal information on the internet is very risky as there are many individuals worldwide with the ability to obtain it, if your network is not secured. When you are giving your personal information to any person or agency, you will have to make sure that they are a trusted source as you don’t know who else may be interested in your information.

What is the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act?

The Driver’s Privacy Protection Act prohibits any release of personal information from the state’s motor vehicle records. This includes any officer, employee, or contractor of a State Department of Motor Vehicles. They are not allowed to disclose information about any individual, obtained by the department in connection with a motor vehicle records. This includes personal information which is defined in the United State Code under section 2725, as any information that identifies an individual, including an individual’s photograph, social security number, driver identification number, name, address, telephone number, and medical or disability information.

The act also lays down the permissible uses of your personal information to only certain individuals and agencies. This information can be disclosed for use in connection with matters of motor vehicle theft or driver safety and theft, motor vehicle emissions, and product recalls. This information can be used by a government agency, any court, or any law enforcement agency while carrying out their function. Even private individuals can access this information if they are acting on behalf of a Federal, state or local agency while carrying out their function.

The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) can access this information in the normal course of their business only if it is used to verify the personal information that is submitted by the individual to the business or any of its agents or employees. Personal information from the DMV records can be requested by the Federal, local or state court for the purpose of a civil, administrative or legal proceeding.

Liabilities for Violation of Privacy

The liability for violating this privacy is subjected to a criminal fine as well as civil action. A person who obtains, uses, or discloses any personal information from a motor vehicle record for a wrongful purpose is liable to the individual to whom the information is related to. The individual can bring about civil action in a United States district court for such wrongful conduct. The court may allow damages of $2,500 or more, punitive damages for reckless disregard for the law if proven, attorney’s fees and other legal fees that were incurred and other relief which the court determines appropriate. 

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