How much is your information worth? - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

How much is your information worth?

You won't find a disclaimer in small print on your tag receipt, or even on the Alabama Department of Revenue's website.  According to Federal law, that's perfectly legal.

Brenda Coone, Director of the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles says, "We are not just releasing their information.  There are serious penalties, prison time as well as fines for knowingly disclosing personal information.  We take that very seriously."

The Drivers Privacy Protection Act, passed by the Federal Government in 1994 protects your personal information.  The catch, DMV's across the country can legally contract with companies that purchase information en masse if the states delete social security numbers and driver's license numbers.

"The primary reason they purchase information from us is vehicle recalls." Coone

Coone says Alabama has sold info to two companies, Experian and R.L. Polk, since the 1980's.  The contracts are renewed annually, and the two companies are audited periodically by the state to make sure the information is secure.

"I think if someone's vehicle had a recall, they would want to know about it.  And the only way those companies can get the word out to the drivers is through the information contained in our databases."

The state earns about $130,000 from Experian and R.L. Polk.  Dollars that go right back into the state's General Fund.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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