PennDOT Makes Millions Selling Your Data

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HANOVER TOWNSHIP -- Should PennDOT be making money by selling our personal information? That's a question some drivers are asking after we discovered that PennDOT is making tens of millions of dollars every year by selling the personal information of drivers. And there's no way for drivers to stop it.

Drivers walking into the DMV in Hanover Township near Wilkes-Barre know they have to follow the rules of the road to keep their licenses.

But what your driver's manual doesn't tell you is the state is cashing in on your driver's license data.

Since 2010, PennDOT earned $157 million selling driver information, like your name, address and up to 10 years of traffic violations.

PennDOT uses the money to fix roads and the information is sold to insurance providers and companies that provide background checks.  But there's no way for drivers to opt out of that information sharing.

Now, a new report is raising concern that your personal driver's license information could potentially end up in the wrong hands, like the hands of hackers or identity thieves.

Sterling Infosystems is one company that bought driver data from PennDOT.  An audit obtained by Newswatch 16 reveals Sterling was not following the state's required procedures when handling driver's information.

According to the audit, Sterling was, "unable to provide a complete and accurate listing of their customers, "which, "increases the risk that the responsible party would not be identified if there was a security breach."

Experts do not think someone's identity could be stolen with just the information you hand to PennDOT. But they warn hackers could use your name, address, and driving history, to find information about you that could lead to identity theft.

"Any piece about you is just a piece of the puzzle," said Jeff Chopick, Custom Computers. "They could take that and then with other information, steal your identity."

PennDOT admits it relies on drivers to come forward and report any possible abuses of their personal information. But officials also point out there are consequences for any companies that buy the data if PennDOT discovers those companies are not following procedures.

"This particular company, Sterling, was a little sloppy in their procedures, and as a result, are now cut off from the records," said PennDOT official Rich Kirkpatrick.

"PennDOT points out while Sterling ignored some procedures that could lead to data, the audit did not indicate any personal information was compromised.

Click here to read the results of the audit.

24 comments

  • magicmikexxsm

    Maybe if gov. Wolfie wouldn’t pilfer money from the PennDot budget to the tune of 500 million this year to give to the State Police budget, Pdot would have enough money for roads and bridges to do the work with out raising our taxes

    • BZ22

      All those gasoline tax increases, casino money, etc., never went where it was designated so that pilfering has been going on forever!!

  • magicmikexxsm

    Maybe PennDot should share the wealth, as liberals like to say. with the people who’s names and info they sold. with all the money they get from this and our taxes you think the roads would be in stellar condition….how come the pot holes on Rt. 924 out to Eagle rock have not been fixed?

  • BZ22

    What’s wrong with this picture? PennDOT requires us to pay for tags, titles and licenses, which just increased, and then sells that information to others. Talk about double dipping!!!

  • cup.of.coffee

    PennDOT never ahead on clear up the road especially on the highway during the winter time on heavy snow season, pot hole still everywhere so i don’t know what they are talked about on using their scam money. $157 Million on 6 years is a lot buddy… SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR WHOLE BREEDS…
    NOW we’re start worried about our personal information get sold to ISIS agent by PennnDOT!!!

  • Just play games too

    Simple solution.. Get a private mailbox at UPS store, pack and mail stores…etc. My friend has been doing this for yrs since he lives in NYC in order to avoid having emmissions done, he got a private mailbox in an upstate county. Then sent in change of address form for Drivers license and registration. Another reason he did it was because he was being stalked by an ex. Yeah, it says you have to use a phyical address,, but bull crap to that. How do homeless people get away with it.?

    • Bulldozer

      So, “Just Play Games Too,” your answer is to commit fraud? Answer a problem with a crime? No thanks.

  • andrew

    How is this surprising to you? We live in a post-Patriot Act America. The government has access to us.

    • Meh

      surprise shouldnt equal acceptance… ever hear of “just the tip”? what we are seeing is a continuance of this ad infinity. one day the flock will wake up and realize they are in chains. once that happens it will be to late.

  • disgusted.patriot

    Which is to an arm of the government. There should absolutely be no question of the integrity of our data when dealing with. How about all of our military records including health? These are fair game too then. We the people should be demanding data protection laws.. instead we have become a country of satiated sloths willing to bend over for uncle sam at the drop of a dime. Have you all forgot who the government is supposed to work for and serve? We are were this country nests its power.. not in a bunch of overinflated crooked politicians! Find your spines Americans!

    • the duke of THE LEPRECHAUN STAGE COACH

      That’s why we need to stop electing corrupt lawyers as presidents.
      Wind of change is coming this year. I can’t wait to see the stunned
      liberals faces.

  • Batman

    Is this really news? Contact the State’s Office of Open Records and they will release just about any information they have for a very nominal fee or free. I have been trying to stop my personal information from being released for the very reason you mention, i.e. malicious use, but I have been told that my concerns do not matter and they will release any information as they see fit. Of course, judges, police, prison guards, etc. are exempt. I asked them if they released where my kids attend daycare or school (etc.), and was ignored as if that shouldn’t be a concern to me. Come on there is no double standard in State government and no one is crooked. I wish I lived in the unicorn and rainbows world!!

  • William Penn

    Well then is Penndot able to be held responsible for crimes committed by hackers getting information from these snakes? I’m sure in the future we will see! However this isn’t news by no means as I personally have known about this for over 25 years. You are not protected by the constitution on this one because driving is a privilege not a right unfortunately.

      • typical gear jamming dope

        you voluntarily submitted the data – it’s not mandatory to have a drivers license

      • Diamondeyes

        It may be a privledge to drive therefore making it information provided voluntarily HOWEVER on the flip side…a person(s) is not allowed access to ibtain and/or receive most information or change necessary documents, nkt allowed entry into establishments serving alcohol, or evwn open bank accounts without said “privledged” license being obtained.

        How can a privledge BE considered a privledge only IF said privledged information is considered mandatory for many parts of our lives????

Comments are closed.