Jacobs: DMV needs to stop selling personal info

May 20, 2015

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has written to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, urging them to stop the sale of customers' personal information for profit.

Jacobs, who hosted a news conference in the Erie County Auto Bureau's office within the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo, told reporters he is disturbed by a recent New York City-based television news report that revealed the DMV is selling personal data to third parties. According to that report, the DMV netted $60 million last year.

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs speaking inside the Erie County Auto Bureau office inside the Rath Building.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The County Clerk said it is hypocrisy on the DMV's part to be selling such personal information while local auto bureaus like his train their staff members to be extremely protective of that same data.

"Actually, there's a lot of data that we, running this operation, do not have access to," Jacobs said. "So it's a real shock to us that this data, which is funneled through our auto bureaus into New York State, then in turn has been sold off for profit."

Calling it a gross violation of the public's trust, Jacobs added that it puts customers at higher risk of identity theft. He has written to the DMV, urging the department to stop the practice immediately.

"There should be transparency here," Jacobs said. "The DMV needs to tell the citizens where that information has been sold to, and specifically what type of information has been sent out over this period of time, and how long they've been doing this."