An individual’s driver’s license may be an individual’s only real form of state identification. Most people do not carry passports or Social Security cards with them on a day-to-day basis, but carrying their driver’s license is necessary whenever they are in a vehicle, so it tends to be a readily accessible form of ID for most people.
There are certain situations in which someone will have to present their driver’s license to another person. Police officers conducting a traffic stop, for example, will ask for state identification and other paperwork. Cashiers at bars and retail establishments licensed to sell liquor in Minnesota may need to see the ID of the person buying to validate that they are old enough to legally complete their purchase.
Sharing a driver’s license with a person or business means giving them access to personal identifying information. The details on a driver’s license include someone’s birthday and home address, which are private information. As a result, only some people can lawfully access a driver’s license without the holder’s permission.
The law protects drivers’ private information
The Drivers Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is a crucial privacy and consumer protection law established in response to multiple criminal incidents in a number of different states. There is a federal statute mirrored by Minnesota state rules created to protect people from abuses of public record systems. Driver’s license records can include all of someone’s identifying information, sometimes even their Social Security number.
To protect people from stalking, harassment and even violent crime, there are specific restrictions on who can access driver’s license records. Unless an individual consents to providing that information to someone else, only certain parties have the right to access an individual’s private information, including the address and birth date information included on their driver’s license. These individuals include state and federal law enforcement professionals, licensed private investigators and possibly insurance or automotive companies seeking to research the market or conduct a recall.
Violations of the DPAA require action
If those who believe that an unauthorized party accessed their driver’s license and protected personal information inappropriately, they may have grounds to take legal action. Not only can they draw attention to the misconduct of the state, an individual or a specific business, but they can also ask the courts to impose up to $5,000 per day for serious violations.
Understanding the rules that protect consumer privacy, like the DPPA, may help those worried about unauthorized access to their private information to push back against bad business practices and privacy breaches.