Web glitch allowed access to others’ data

Adam Jones reports:

A glitch in a new online state program allowed people to retrieve personal identification data associated with vehicle registration without asking users to verify they had legal authorization to access the records.

The online search tool was removed from the Alabama Motor Vehicle Division website last week after being on the Internet for nearly three months, but there is no indication that anyone accessed the information illegally, said Carla Snellgrove, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Revenue, which houses the motor vehicle division.


Despite the glitch, people who searched for information were asked to provide their name and credit card to see information connected to a license plate, generating a report kept by the department.

Vehicle information kept by states, including names and street addresses of owners, is protected by the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, a 1994 federal law, from being released to third parties without the owner’s consent, except in special circumstances such as law enforcement and insurers’ inquiries and a handful of other legitimate business purposes.

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