We've all probably received a telemarketing call from the seller of an extended auto warranty who knew exactly what make, year, and model of car we own. The one I received the other day ended after the telemarketer refused to disclose the name of the city from which she was calling. They knew exactly where I was but didn't want me to know where they were. Maybe that makes me a stalker for asking. Or maybe they were using my information illegally and didn't want to face too many questions.
They must have bought my information from the Texas DMV. CBS 11 DFW explains how easy the information is to get and even provides a link for a downloadable xlsx spreadsheet listing the names and addresses of the companies that bought the database in 2012. A list of the companies with Midland, Texas, addresses will follow in the addendum to this post.
The federal statute, Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, 18 USC CHAPTER 123, is a prohibition with many exceptions. And a loose definition of the "driver safety" exception is probably the one the warranty seller was relying on.
Notice all the car dealers on the list below. One can imagine the sales representative typing in your plate number as you pull into the lot then viewing the DMV information about you as she watches you scrutinize the window sticker of that nice new BMW. But if the dealership subscribes to all the information available about us from private companies they probably know us as well as our own mothers. Or the NSA.
Addendum: The full list of the companies on CBS 11's list is quite long. For a sampling, here are the ones showing a Midland, Texas, address.
Action Wrecker Service
B & B Wrecker & Recovery
Basic Energy Services LP
Basin Auto Sales
Bi-Rite Auto Sales Inc
BMW of the Perian [sic] Basin
City of Midland / Code Administration
Farmers Insurance Group
GDR Investment Corp dba Golden Eagle Motors
Midland College Police Department
My Community Federal Credit Union
Nissan of Midland
Rogers Ford Sales Inc
Texas Car Company
Toyota of Midland
United Auto Sales