DVLA tackle 294 public organisations for database abuse

In the past three years, 294 public organisations have faced action over their use of the database containing details of car registrations and driving licenses.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Big Brother Watch, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) disclosed that the organisations were overwhelmingly local authorities, but included Sussex Police and Transport for London.

They all had access suspended, while 38 organisations saw their access permanently revoked. Of the issues identified, 156 came about because of audits of the database use by staff.

You can download the excel chart of all the organisations involved here.

Concerns about the DVLA database have been voiced for several years, but it is remarkable that in just three years nearly half the country’s councils have been suspended from looking at motorists’ information.

It is essential members of the public know why their local council, or any other body, has faced sanctions and equally the DVLA must do far more to ensure that its data is not so wide open to abuse.

The same concerns exist about a range of other databases and the public are right to be worried that their privacy is at risk across a range of Government services.

The question is whether these suspensions hinder staff trying to do their job, while the staff doing the unauthorised searches escape proper punishment. One key issue that still has not been resolved is whether someone could be sent to prison for deliberately abusing the databases they have access to and that deterrent is badly needed.

If the current system cannot even protect basic information about motorists and vehicles, how can the public have faith that a host of information about who they email and what websites they look at will be kept secure and only accessed by those who are supposed to be doing so?

The public do not have confidence that their data is being kept securely and their privacy is not being violated on a routine basis. The whole framework of how information is protected and when access is granted needs reviewing and a system that protects privacy put in place, starting with significant reform of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

19 Comments

  1. Kelly
    8th December 2012

    So where is the list of every organisation private included not just public?

    Reply
  2. CJF
    8th December 2012

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Have DVLA provided a definition of what “Closed Down” means?

    Reply
  3. Hmmm
    8th December 2012

    How does this affect Baliffs who work for the council to claim council tax?

    My mother-in-law recently had a £240 bill for false Baliff attendance charges.This is where baliffs chose random strangers cars off the street saying they came to seize them with a pick up truck. Baliffs claimed they thought they were my mother-in-laws and claimed they have to be reimbursed. My mother in law does not even own a car!!!
    ps. quite rightly she has now paid her council tax but is disputing baliff charges.

    Our only defence was the Local Government Ombudsman’s decision of 10 July 2012 complaint no 11 007 684 paragraphs 44 & 45: ‘in every case the bailiffs should establish ownership through the DVLA before removing goods to sell.’ The Baliff has not followed due process. Not sure someone else would be able to use this defence anymore?

    Reply
  4. Peek Local
    8th December 2012

    Now the question is how they are still able to find the driver info if they were banned.

    They may still be using third party private companies to the get the info. The real concern is to stop those third parties Private companies selling info to these banned councils.

    Something interesting to read.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/76249/response/192166/attach/2/FOIR2505%20Annex.pdf

    source
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/do_you_sell_registered_keepers_d

    Reply
  5. Anonymouse
    8th December 2012

    There is a factual inaccuracy in this article as the data has multiple duplicates in it. Have a look at the original Excel and sort the Authority column A to Z. The 294 figure is therefore significantly overstated.

    Reply
    • Geoff
      11th December 2012

      I think that simply means that they have abused the system more than once – probably more sinister than an accidental error. So duplicates are not good news.

      Reply
  6. Anonymous
    8th December 2012

    Good, local councils should NOT be allowed to collect monies via parking charges, full stop. local council tax is sufficient, anything else ‘local’ needs to be strictly outlawed!

    Reply
    • Guest
      11th December 2012

      I agree, parking matters should ALWAYS be a police matter, then it won’t matter as people generally trust the police more than a bunch of useless bureaucrats anyway.

      And to anyone that moans about the police being overstretched. THINK, it will create NEW jobs which can only be a good thing, the end.

      Reply
      • John Name
        19th February 2013

        I don’t trust the police. They always seem to be dying for a shag with a crusty.

        Reply
  7. Links 9/12/2012: GNOME Redo, KDE Grows | Techrights
    9th December 2012

    […] DVLA tackle 294 public organisations for database abuse In the past three years, 294 public organisations have faced action over their use of the database containing details of car registrations and driving licenses. […]

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  8. DVLA bans Brighton and Hove City Council from using its database | Brighton and Hove News
    10th December 2012

    […] watchdog Big Brother Watch said that Sussex Police had also been temporarily banned from using the national […]

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  9. Patman99
    10th December 2012

    What a shame you failed to research your article before you published it.
    A good number of the Councils listed as ‘Closed-down’ have simply joined-forces with neighbouring Councils to form new Parking Partnerships so no longer need to have contracts with DVLA as the parking partnerships have the contract in place instead.
    A good example is Colchester Borough Council. They joined forces with Braintree & Tendring Councils to for the ‘North Essex Parking Partnership’. NEPP has an access contract with DVLA, but Colchester,Braintree & Tendring Councils no longer have one in place as it just duplicates the paperwork.

    Other Councils operate as sub-contractors to their County Councils who process DVLA requests for them as it save money having just one access license.

    Reply
    • Stephen
      6th October 2014

      “Other Councils operate as sub-contractors to their County Councils who process DVLA requests for them as it save money having just one access license.”

      If you have proof of this then pass this onto the information commissioner as this is a breach of the data protection act.

      I’d also like to ask why these organisations have not been prosecuted for this crime.

      Reply
  10. DVLA bans Brighton and Hove City Council from using its database | etsiva.com
    10th December 2012

    […] watchdog Big Brother Watch said that Sussex Police had also been temporarily banned from using the national […]

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  11. Personal Motoring History Available to All | Transport law
    13th December 2012

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    25th January 2013

    […] DVLA tackle 294 public organisations for database abuse […]

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  14. peter
    25th July 2013

    simple dont put Vehicle in your name

    Reply
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