Is Your Personal Info at Risk with the DMV?
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Is Your Personal Info at Risk with the DMV?

Tuesday, March 07, 2017By Richard Alexander

It seems that every time we go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), we are required to provide more information. It can be frustrating in the era of personal privacy to feel that we are stuck giving loads of confidential information to a state agency. What gives?

In 2005, Congress passed a law that sets strict standards that states must meet for driver's licenses to qualify as "official" for federal government purposes. The law is called the REAL ID Act, and it is a significant change for many states. For example, to travel on commercial airlines (even within the U.S.), a person must provide the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with a license that is REAL ID-compliant. Additionally, people who lack REAL IDs will be unable to go onto military bases or into federal buildings.

The law requires states to obtain certain documentation before issuing a driver's license. States must also obtain digital images of certain types of documents before issuing a license. Those images will be stored at the DMV level in each state. For example, people must provide legal evidence of their identity, birth date, legal name, immigration status, Social Security number, and residence. Many people believe that these requirements are unnecessary and obtrusive, particularly because the DMV keeps copies of documents showing this information.

Several states took steps to become REAL ID compliant immediately. As of October 2015, 23 states were in compliance with the law.

California is not in compliance; however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has given the Golden State a limited extension for enforcement. California must become compliant on or before the year 2020.

As a result of REAL ID, you can expect the DMV to ask for even more information when you go in for license renewals.

For its part, the California DMV has adopted a privacy policy vowing to protect individual privacy rights:

  • only collecting information that is needed for the purpose at hand;
  • only collecting information that is allowed (or required) by law;
  • providing people with notice when it collects private information;
  • obtaining consent before using private information in a way outside the consent previously given;
  • using private information only for the purposes it was collected and for which consent was given;
  • taking "reasonable precautions" to safeguard the privacy of information it obtains; and
  • not collecting account information, street addresses, or email addresses from people who browse the DMV website.

The DMV has appointed a chief privacy officer to deal with complaints about how your personal information is collected, used, and maintained.

If you or a loved one suffered major injuries in an accident, you can expect to share personal information with other drivers, law enforcement, and relevant insurance companies. If you need legal advice after a bad accident, contact the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP right away at 888.777.1776. We have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families. Call now: Delay could harm your case.

While the results that we have obtained in other cases and our clients' testimonials do not guarantee, promise or predict the outcome of your case, we do promise to do our very best for you in your case.

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