Highway robbery - DVLA sells your details
There was a time when we never had to think about where our private details would end up. It was not that long ago but I am finding it harder to remember. Now it is the norm to tick (or un-tick) boxes to avoid ending up on ever-growing and useless mailing lists. But here's the best abuse of this type I have come across in years.... £15million raked in by the DVLA over the last five years by flogging our names and addresses to...clamping firms and car park operators.
Nearly 70 private firms, including bailiffs, debt collectors, solicitors and finance companies, are allowed access to the database of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which holds personal information about Britain's 38 million drivers. The idea is they can then chase motorists whom they accuse of parking on privately owned land or staying too long in supermarket, hospital and railway car parks.
One of the DVLA 'approved' information recipients is a company called National Clamps, which admits to immobilising 10,000 vehicles a year, London parking enforcer VCS, which won the RAC's "Dick Turpin" award in 2005 for the "legalised mugging" of drivers, and Excel Parking Services, whose claim against a motorist over a £300 unpaid fine was thrown out of court in March after the judge said Excel's high charges were intended to "frighten or intimidate" so were unlawful.
Truly, the DVLA does not know a great deal about who is getting their mitts on this info or what happens to it after it has been sold. They are said to turn down just 2% of requests for personal details from the firms they sell to, despite a supposed clampdown by the government on this extremely dodgy money-making scam. Currently, private companies can pay £2.50 per address or £3,000 a year to get online database access.